17 June 2016 Current Affairs: Baltimore’s National Aquarium on 15 June 2016 announced its plan to create an Oceanside dolphin sanctuary. This will be first of its kind sanctuary for the marine mammals in North America.
The aquarium will move its colony of eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to an outdoor facility with natural seawater by 2020. Of the eight bottlenose dolphins (six female and two male), only one has ever lived in the open ocean.
For this purpose of creating a sanctuary, a team is scouting locations in Florida and the Caribbean for the habitat.
About the Venue : Decided venue for the dolphins will be a protected coastal habitat, where the animals will continue to live under human care.The venue will lie in a tropical or subtropical location will also contain natural stimuli for the dolphins, such as fish and sea plants.Years of research on dolphin behavior and pressure from animal rights groups made the national aquarium to make a decision of moving the marine mammals to a sanctuary. Animal rights groups were protesting over the captivity of dolphins for years.
Bottlenose dolphins : Bottlenose dolphins are the one of the most common species of marine mammals, with colors ranging from light gray to black.They range in size from 6 feet (1.8 meters) to more than 12 feet (3.6 meters) in length, and adults can weigh up to 1,400 pounds (635 kg).
Challenges that lies ahead : Of the eight bottlenose dolphins, only one dolphin, female named Nani, has ever lived in the open ocean as she was born in wild in 1972.They have never felt the rain on their dorsal fins, neither they ever chased a mullet along a mangrove shore or teased a startled crab.
These dolphins will have to learn the acts of being ocean-dwelling dolphins with its sets of skills to fight against problems like pollution, noise, jellyfish and red tides.
They will have to learn to survive in the new habitat that will be much larger than their current habitat.The new habitat will also have more fish and marine plants as compared to the present habitat.
The idea of protecting the dolphins by providing sanctuary after providing the same to big cats, elephants, chimpanzees and many more is a sign of a maturing ethic of caring all living species.