Ten Worst Tanks for Dolphins and Whales
A recent study named Gulfport’s Institute for Marine Mammal Studies one of the worst facilities in the country for dolphins and whales.
News 25’s Kenda Turley caught up with the director of IMMS to hear his reaction.
The dolphins at Gulfport’s Institute for Marine Mammal Studies draw in thousands of locals and tourists each year. The organization In Defense of Animals disapprove of the dolphins captivity, landing IMMS at number seven on the organization’s list of the “Ten Worst Tanks for Dolphins and Whales in North America.” IMMS Director Moby Solangi said, “I think the problems with the facts are that they are very misleading. I think that the assumptions that they’ve made are incorrect.”
In Defense of Animals claims although the attraction is labeled as an institute, it operates as more of a circus-like dolphin prison than a research facility. Director of Education Outreach at IMMS Mystera Samuelson said, “Our publication record shows that we’ve looked at wild bottle-nosed dolphin populations for an extended period of time. The fact that we don’t do research is just inaccurate.”
According to In Defense of Animals, dolphins and whales held in captivity are more inclined to die sooner than those in the wild. According to Solangi, they’re actually inclined to live longer because of the healthcare provided. “These programs are governed by the government. So far they’ve never found any problems. It’s no different than playing with your pet. You play with your dog or you play with your cat and they have fun with you.”
Facilities on the list were evaluated in-person, through review of government and through various reports. “We are here to rescue, rehab, restore our resources and educate the public and conduct research. Whereas this particular organization has never really invested anything into our community,” said Solangi.