Jan 31, 2019
China is experiencing tremendous growth in the popularity, number and size of family attractions under development, especially aquariums featuring marine mammals. In recent years, Russia has been a primary source of the larger marine mammal species sent to these major aquarium projects. Against the backdrop of this demand which is projected to grow, scant reports, including one by CBS News late last year, have raised concerns over the status of approximately 100 orcas and beluga whales collected from Russian waters and currently temporarily housed in "cramped and potentially illegal" near shore sea pens on Russia's Pacific east coast near the city of Nakhodka. This situation and the broader implications of these collections raise at least 3 potential concerns for zoological professionals from accredited public display facilities: 1) whether the animals from Russia are being collected humanely and sustainably based upon previously conducted and up to date scientific environmental impact assessments? 2) how well the veterinary care and welfare of the animals while housed in temporary sea pen facilities are being maintained? and 3) whether the long term housing, husbandry, and reproductive plans for larger cetaceans like orcas once they are transferred to China will meet their social, behavioral, and health needs?
To shed light on the situation and help separate fact from fiction, long time amusement park and family entertainment attractions insider, journalist, and blogger, Joe Kleiman, joins us.
Plus, an all new That Sounds Wild and a personal aloha to an animal friend and teacher.