A dolphin in captivity - Wildlife. Not entertainers - World Animal Protection

The seven biggest lies the captive dolphin industry tells



The cruel, multi-billion dollar captive dolphin industry relies on lies to keep visitors in the dark. Don't be fooled – dolphins belong in the wild


Lie 1: Dolphinariums are educational for your family

Truth: Watching dolphins in captivity is not a real educational experience.

What you’re seeing are trained animals, trapped against their will and behaving unnaturally.

This isn’t only harmful to dolphins – it’s teaching children that wild animals don’t deserve freedom.


Lie 2: Captive dolphins are no longer wild

Truth: Caged dolphins aren’t domesticated, they’re trapped.

Domestication takes thousands of years and special circumstances. Dolphins in captivity are still wild and can never have their needs met in these venues.

Even if a dolphin is born in captivity, it isn’t domesticated. We need to protect them in the wild, not confine them to tiny, barren tanks.


Lie 3: Dolphinariums are vital for research and conservation

Truth: Most dolphins are not endangered, and they don’t need conservation.

In the last 50 years, less than 40 dolphins have been released back into the wild, and captive-born dolphins will likely never be released.

Don’t be fooled – this is entertainment, not science.


Lie 4: Captive dolphins want to interact with us

Truth: Dolphins are curious and intelligent and will often investigate humans in the wild of their own free will. This isn’t what happens in captivity.

These animals have been deprived of food and trained to perform tricks. They don’t want to interact with you, they’re doing a job.

Dolphins do bond with their trainers – but it’s not out of choice.

Dolphin performing infront of trainer

Lie 5: Dolphins love to perform

Truth: Captive dolphins aren’t following their dreams. They’re doing a job.

They perform these ‘tricks’ because that’s how to get fed. This couldn’t be further from natural behaviour.

They might look like they’re smiling, but don’t be fooled. It’s just the shape of their face.


Lie 6: Captive dolphins are happy and healthy

Truth: Some dolphins might live a little longer in captivity, but at what cost?

Captive dolphins become bored and listless, swimming endlessly in circles. Some become aggressive and attack their fellow prisoners. They often grind their teeth down and chew the walls and bars of their tank.

Some have even been observed choosing to stop breathing.

Not to mention the effects of chlorine and overexposure to sunlight in their shallow, barren tanks. Is that the kind of life you want to lead for longer?


Lie 7: Dolphinariums provide a natural environment

Truth: A swimming pool and the sea are the not the same.

In the wild, dolphins swim dozens of miles a day in an ocean full of other animals, plants and endless variety. In captivity, they’re confined to tanks 200,000 times smaller than their natural range.

In the wild they live in large, natural groups with their families. In captivity, they’re taken away from their mothers too young, leading to aggressive behaviour and fighting.

Where would you rather live?

Expose this cruelty

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