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Plan to Transport Dolphins to the Desert For People's Amusement Sparks Outrage

Apr 28, 2016 12:23 PM EDT
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A plan to open a $20 million dolphin park in the Arizona desert this July has sparked an ire among environmentalists.

According to Huffingtonpost, the property is owned by Mexico-based wildlife park chain Dolphinaris, which already have six facilities where visitors participate in the park's the "swim-with-the-dolphins" programs. 

"Its parent company, Ventura Entertainment, is looking to expand to the US with the Arizona attraction, which will be near OdySea in the Desert - a 35-acre complex featuring sharks, turtles and penguins," the report said.

The Arizona branch, which will be situated on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community tribal land near Scottsdale, 215 miles from the closest sea, will be its first captive facility in the United States.

Amid the grievances and objections being thrown at the project, the manager of the Dolphinaris spoke with Fox 10 to reveal the plan of the company.

According to Grey Stafford, a manager attached to the project, the animals would not be mistreated, rather, the dolphins will have excellent care.

"Only the President of the United States has better health care than these animals are going to receive," said Grey Stafford," he told Fox 10.

He also added that the Dolphinaris will pave a way to educate people, especially children about animals.

"Because they do so well in human care, Phoenix is a perfect destination We have some 5 million residents and tourists each year, so it's a great audience to reach out and educate and inspire young people of all ages about the need to protect and preserve our ocean," he added.

Groups that came forward against the company are Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Humane Society of the United States.

For years, Humane Society of United States have been fighting for freedom of marine animals like dolphins, sea lions, saying that their highly social nature and familial bonds couldn't be replicated in captivity.

In an interview with ABC 15, Courtney Vail of Whale and Dolphin COnsevration was quoted saying, '"Hopefully we still have a chance to open dialogue with stakeholders because I think the public is speaking loud and clear about how they feel about this project."

The controversy comes not long after Sea World put a halt to their killer whale shows and ended its captive breeding program. 

As of this writing, an online petition in opposition to the dolphin park has already gained more than 100,000 signatures and a protest is planned for May 7.

The petition reads, "Dolphins - as ocean going mammals - are NOT meant to spend their precious lives in the desert."

Furthermore, it bears reasons why the project should be halted.

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