Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Captive Whales and Dolphins

Thousands of whales and dolphins (known collectively as cetacea) are held in hundreds of zoos and dolphinaria across the world. An unsustainable industry, animals are still taken from the wild to stock a growing number of captive facilities. Deprived of their freedom and choice in an alien environment, captive whales and dolphins are usually trained to perform unnatural behaviour or interact with people in swim-with or petting activities.

In the wild, whales and dolphins can swim as much as 160km a day, have home ranges as large as 300km and dive to depths as deep as 60 meters. Living in groups (called pods), these animals are highly sociable and intelligent, displaying self-awareness and differing cultures. Captive facilities cannot compare to the vast, complex natural environment of the wild cetacea and even the largest facilities offer just a fraction of their wild range. Research indicates that the stress of confinement often results in behavioural abnormalities, illness, decreased resistance to disease and reduced life expectancy.

The number of dolphins bred in captivity does not replace the number that die. They suffer from high mortality rates, low breeding success and often endure physical and psychological disorders. Cetacea are frequently captured from the wild and sold into captivity. The methods of capture, and subsequent transport, can be extremely cruel and some animals die of shock or injury in the process.

Born Free works actively at both a European and global level, raising awareness about the plight of dolphins and whales in captivity, campaigning against their continued capture from the wild to maintain the captive industry, challenges their use in swim-with activities and campaigns for higher standards of care and their inclusion in national and international animal protection legislation.


  1. Join the Born Free Foundation, and help us campaign against the captive dolphin industry and better protect whales and dolphins in the wild
  2. Tell your friends and family about the plight of cetaceans in captivity and about the ground breaking film Blackfish, encourage them to watch it and buy the DVD, available from Born Free here.
  3. Do not visit marine parks or zoos that keep and display whales and dolphins.
  4. Report your concerns about captive whales and dolphins via our global initiative, Travellers’ Animal Alert
  5. Sign our petition to end the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity
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Born Free Foundation
3 Grove House, Foundry Lane
, Horsham, RH13 5PL, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906 ... twitterfacebookyoutuberssenews