Imagine being taken prisoner at 6 months old and spending the next 47 years of your life locked up and forced to perform tricks. That is the reality for Bucky, a bottlenose dolphin who has been held captive at the Dolphin Marine Magic park in Coffs Harbour, NSW, for almost his entire life.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2013, he is still forced to work at the park.
— AustraliaforDolphins (@Aus4Dolphins) May 7, 2016
Bucky is currently being forced to drag tourists around on his back, jump through hoops and offer “dolphin kisses” to customers who may not realise the cruelty involved in subjecting Bucky to this life of imprisonment.
Forty-seven years is the equivalent of approximately 80 human years. Being forced to perform demeaning circus shows day in and day out for decades is bad enough – but having to do it when old and sick is simply heartbreaking.
Cruelty Is Rife in Marine Parks
This is one more instance of a marine park showing just how little it cares for animals’ well-being. Recently, at the same park, one of Bucky’s sons, a 1-year-old dolphin named Ji-Ling, died after consuming sticks, leaves and a piece of metal in one of the tanks. At other marine parks around the world, such as SeaWorld in the US, there are many similar stories of animals who have died tragically young as a result of being kept in deeply unnatural conditions.
Dolphin Marine Magic is one of two Australian marine abusement parks that keep dolphins captive – the other is Sea World on the Gold Coast in QLD.
— AustraliaforDolphins (@Aus4Dolphins) May 5, 2016
Dolphins are highly intelligent social animals who lead rich and complex lives in the wild and swim up to 50 miles a day. When they’re imprisoned in small chlorinated tanks, they suffer just as any human would if locked in a small enclosure for years on end.
How to Help Dolphins Like Bucky
Local groups such as Australia for Dolphins are working on the ground to help end Bucky’s drudgery and retire him to a sanctuary. Sarah Lucas, the CEO, recently stated:
Bucky is considered the star performer. As with all aspects of dolphin captivity, the animals are used because they draw in crowds, and thus draw in money for the park.
She also added:
If you add into the equation the fact that Bucky is recovering from cancer, it is beyond belief that he still participates in outdated, circus-style shows.
You can help animals like Bucky by avoiding marine parks and “swim-with-dolphins” attractions – both in Australia and overseas. If you see any travel companies advertising these types of trips, send them an e-mail asking them to stop promoting cruelty to animals.