Hawaii Resort Nixes Captive Dolphin Plan

In a sure sign of changing times, a resort development on Oahu has abandoned plans to include a captive dolphin attraction at its facility. Atlantis Ko Olina (a new addition to Kerzner International’s Atlantis Resorts chain) had pursued a dolphin display permit in the early days of planning. But developer Jeff Stone confirmed in a letter to Animal Rights Hawaii that captive dolphins are no longer in the mix. In the letter, Stone even referred to swim-with-the-dolphins exhibits and dolphinariums as “dated concepts.” AWI supported outreach to local authorities and community opposition when news of the original captivity plan emerged.

AWI continues to encourage grassroots efforts opposing a captive dolphin facility that opened in mid-October near Scottsdale, Arizona (see AWI Quarterly, winter 2016), and is monitoring other proposals—including one in Mississippi, where a new aquarium has announced plans to hold captive dolphins. Even as SeaWorld shuts down its performing orca shows and the National Aquarium in Baltimore commits to moving its dolphins to a sanctuary, it is troubling to see these new facilities swim against the tide of public opinion and heightened awareness that dolphins don’t belong in captivity.