Kolmården Zoo, the largest in Scandinavia, has announced it will stop exhibiting its dolphins to the public. The zoo, located on the southern Swedish east coast about 25 kilometres northeast of Norrköping, currently keeps 12 captive dolphins on display, two of them captured from the wild in Cuba and the United States in the 1980s and the rest born in captivity at the zoo or elsewhere. Three of the dolphins are 37, 39, and 40 years old, and the remaining between three and 25 years old. At least 60 dolphins have died at the zoo since it opened in 1969.
Daniel Rolke, the founder of The Animal Rights Alliance in Sweden, said “For Kolmården Zoo to make the decision to close down the dolphinarium is a huge victory for me personally. I started this campaign when I was a teenager, and now I’m turning 45. So, one might say it’s about time. Now I hope we can find a solution for the remaining twelve dolphins so that they may spend the remainder of their lives with some quality and dignity.”
It is not clear when exactly the shows will end — or whether the zoo will follow through this announcement, as zoos, in general, are notorious for their PR deception — but Kolmården has stated the decision was made as it wants to invest more in the conservation of endangered animal species. This is not good news for whoever wild animals will end up spending their lives in captivity where the dolphins are kept today. A zoo deciding to stop keeping an animal because it becomes unpopular and replacing it for another that has fewer people complaining about is not good news for the new victims. But the fact that constant protest from animal rights activists is having an effect that can lead to the closure of a dolphinarium is. Hopefully, the same protesters will continue demonstrating against whoever will be placed in captivity to replace the dolphins.