Last week the Mediterraneo Marine Park in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq was subjected to a protest by animal rights activists to educate the public on mammals in captivity.
The protestors claimed that all the behaviour one witnesses at a marine park is forced and induced through starvation and training.
The Management at the Mediterraneo Marine Park has reached out to Lovin Malta with a statement to fight off Animal Liberation Malta‘s claims.
The spokesperson for Mediterraneo said that the marine park is fully licensed and operates legally. They also said that the park educates visitors on conservation and education of marine life.
“Besides, students from all over Europe choose our facility to carry out their internships in all our different departments, especially at the Animal Care and the Veterinary department,” they said.
The park’s management said that they are actually raising environmental awareness, especially through their Our World Oceans Campaign they hosted throughout June.
“Proof of this is the engagement for the whole month of June on the Our World Oceans Campaign in which facilities from all over the world have shared messages on social media to raise awareness and giving additional attention on the problem of plastics in the oceans,” the management said.
The marine park claimed that the mammal’s welfare and wellbeing is their number one priority.
“In fact, our marine mammals are fed with top quality fish that can come from as far as Norway and it is fully analysed by external laboratories to make sure the quality and nutritional parameters are optimal.” they told Lovin Malta.
“The Sea Lion species we host at Mediterraneo Marine Park are only found in South America. This species of seal is catalogued as endangered by the IUCN due to the exposure to substantial threats, including habitat loss and deterioration, displacement and persecution,” the management said.
They said that the video which accompanies the Animal Liberation Malta event gives fake information. They claim that the group purposely avoided mentioning that the oldest dolphin kept under human care allegedly passed away at the age of 61.
Mediterraneo also claimed that dolphins can live for over 60 years in captivity.
“Our group of bottlenose dolphins consists of two individuals that are over 20 years of age, three over eight years of age and a young dolphin turning four in just two months. ALM purposely avoids mentioning that the eldest dolphin ever kept under human care reached 61 years of age back in 2014. In May 2018, the oldest known male dolphin passed away at 54 years of age,” they said.
“ALM concluded that ‘captivity kills’ but does not give any facts about it” the park said.
The company said that it disagrees completely with the removal of animals from the wild and that bottlenose dolphins are completely self-sustainable in Europe.
“Our marine park is part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP) for bottlenose dolphins. Besides, Europe counts with special legislation that does not allow the importation of any wild caught cetacean since the beginning of the 2000s,” the management said.
The spokesperson ended the statement by saying that the park is subjected to yearly audits by local authorities to assure the compliance of licensing and laws.