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Dolphins in Captivity

Dolphins in captivity spend their lives in an artificial environment, deprived of their natural social groups and habitat, they often suffer from stress related disorders. Known as “zoochosis”, these include behavioural abnormalities such as self-mutilation; self-inflicted trauma; repetitive purposeless behaviour; and excessive aggressiveness towards other dolphins and human.

Worldwide approximately 2,900 dolphins are housed for public display. As public opinion starts to turn against this practice, more and more operators are shutting their doors. But the story does not end here. After years of living in artificial environments, these dolphins commonly lose the ability to survive on their own in the wild.

With our sustainable, cost-effective and replicable model sanctuary, AMLS aims to provide these animals with a permanent home in a natural environment.

Lack of Awareness

For decades the media portrayed the commercial exploitation of dolphins including dolphin shows as an activity enjoyed by both the animals and humans. As a result, the public was almost entirely unaware of animal welfare concerns associated with holding dolphins in captivity.

As the public becomes more aware of the extent to which dolphins in captivity suffer, a growing number of people see the commercial exploitation of dolphins as unacceptable. Citizens, governments, and the tourism industry are now placing more emphasis on animal welfare, including the rise of sustainable tourism practices. 

Public pressure and policy changes have caused a number of European dolphinaria (aquariums for dolphins) to close, increasing the demand for sanctuary solutions for dolphins formerly held in captivity.

Use the vertical bar and slide to the left to compare the number of countries with anti-cetacean legislation in place between 1980 and 2018. This research, conducted by the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, shows a growing international trend against the cetacean captivity industry.

Stranding & Entanglement

Greece is home to multiple vulnerable and endangered marine species. Increasingly, human activity poses a threat to their continued existence and marine animal strandings and entanglements are common. For the past two decades Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has come to the aid of these animals, a difficult task due to the lack of marine medical facilities in the region.

Veterinary Care for Native Marine Marine Animals

The AMLS veterinary clinic will provide high quality medical care to these animals, with the objective of returning them to their natural habitat. If long-term care is needed, they may remain in the Sanctuary until they are fully recovered.

Most commonly found marine animals requiring care by AMLS:

Sea Turtles
Monk Seals

Local and international laws designed to protect vulnerable marine species are often not enforced in the Aegean Sea. This lack of action negatively impacts native endangered and vulnerable species. 

The infographic below shows how human impact on the marine environment can lead to life threatening events for marine animals.

First Aid Response Network

Local community members are most likely to be the first responders when a marine animal is injured or stranded. AMLS will establish a First Aid Response Network among East Aegean island communities. Members will be trained, equipped, and provided with continuing support to provide first aid to marine animals in distress.

In its first year, the First-Aid Response Network will cover six islands: Leros, Patmos, Ikaria, Fourni, Samos and Kalymnos. Multiple public engagement activities will be held on animal welfare and conservation, targeting important groups such as students, teachers, local authorities, fishermen, and tourism professionals.

Stranding Response Team

When the First Aid Response Network identifies a stranded or injured animal, or AMLS is alerted to an animal in distress by other means, our Stranding Response Team will provide the injured animal with on-site medical care before transporting it to the Sanctuary’s veterinary clinic.

Once at the Sanctuary, the animal will undergo a complete medical evaluation to determine whether it is in need of long-term care or can be released back into the wild. The Stranding Response Team will be highly equipped and have a rescue boat at its sole disposal.