TripAdvisor commits to ending whale and dolphin captivity

Overcrowding at a captive dolphin facility (Photo: Dolphin Project)

No more ticket sales for dolphin and whale attractions.

This is what the US-based global travel platform TripAdvisor announced on Tuesday, October 1.

The popular website and its subsidiary Viator will ban the sale of tickets for all facilities that breed or import captive cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoises) by the end of 2019. TripAdvisor serves 490 million travelers each month.

Photo: Wikipedia

TripAdvisor said their decision came after extensive talks with a range of experts, considering many scientific facts and viewpoints.

The company says this move is in keeping with its animal welfare policy established in 2016. President of TripAdvisor’s Experience and Rentals division Dermot Halpin called the evidence against captive dolphin facilities “compelling.”

“We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry,” added Halpin.

Virgin Holidays has already taken that step, ending ticket sales for captive dolphin entertainment on July 31, 2019.

Photo: Facebook @VirginHolidays

In June this year, Canada’s Parliament passed a bill banning whale and dolphin attractions. Several other countries, including Bolivia, Costa Rica, Greece and India, have already implemented bans.

The UK-based charity Marine Connection says there are some 30 facilities in the Caribbean, holding around 2,000 captive dolphins. The charity calls the Caribbean “a captive dolphin hotspot.”

Scientists and animal welfare groups welcome TripAdvisor’s move.

“Science has revealed the immense suffering and early mortality imposed upon cetaceans exploited for captive public display…TripAdvisor has set a precedent upon which every other responsible travel/tour company should follow,” said biologist Dr. Toni Frohoff.

The new policy will not apply to seaside sanctuaries that already provide care to captive animals. These are defined as a natural body of water where the creatures are kept with oversight from qualified veterinary staff, and where they are neither bred nor trained to perform for, or interact with humans.