Dying to entertain? Do dolphins die young in captivity as claimed by many of those opposed to aquariums and zoos?
This is one of the most pernicious myths that continue to be repeated by various anti-captive groups and NGO's is that dolphins are dying young in captive care and their survivorship is less than that their wild counterparts. As far back as 1986 when the UK government commissioned the independent review into the captive welfare of cetaceans by Drs. Klinowska and Brown this issue was held in doubt when reviewing the available evidence at that time. See the section on Morality from the Review of Dolphinaria linked HERE.
Since then a number of scientific papers have been published on this matter and Jaap van der Toorn below linked paper (which was original published in 1997 and reviewed in 2000) gives an overview of these findings which concludes that commonly kept dolphin species in aquaria are not 'dying to entertain you'; which was the headline of a poster campaign by various groups in the mid-1980's which resulted in the UK Advertising Standard Authority to order the removal of such posters as they could not be supported by the scientific facts.
A poster on the issue of the survival of captive marine mammals in American aquaria by the National Marine Fisheries Service can be found HERE.
As noted above biologist Jaap van der Toorn has written an excellent overview of this subject in a paper entitled: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SURVIVAL RATES