From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

The Utrish dolphinarium of the Russian
Academy of Sciences in Krasnodar, North Caucasus, on
September 5 released two dolphins into the Black Sea in an
experiment to see how well one of them, a 14-year-old male
named Dicky, would readapt to the wild after six years in
captivity. Dicky, captive for six years, was prepared for
release by capturing the other dolphin, Bella; introducing
them to each other; allowing them to bond; and then freeing
them together, in hopes they will remain together for as long
as Dicky needs help.
Ukrainian officials have refused to allow the
capture of 20 dolphins from the Black Sea this fall, for
exhibition in Turkey, which now has no captive dolphins.
Hopes of saving highly endangered Chinese river
d o l p h i n s by captive breeding were dashed on June 23, the
state-run Xinua news agency announced a month later, when
the first dolphin captured after a three-year search, a 10-yearold
female, drowned after becoming tangled in the protective
netting around her lagoon at the Tian’erzhou Natural Reserve.

The Shimoda Aquarium in Japan on September
17 celebrated a new record for keeping a pseudorca, as a
female named Jumbo completed her 9,409th day since her
capture on December 15, 1970. The previous record
belonged to Makapu, who died in 1991 at the Sea Life Park
in Oahu, Hawaii, after 9,408 days in captivity.
An investigation of beluga whale hearing acuity
undertaken by Shedd Aquarium staffer Greg Dye unexpectedly
solved a string of mysteries involving loon calls, noisy
clothes dryers, and false fire alarms: belugas, Dye learned,
are not only chirpy “sea canaries,” but also master mimics,
who are “able to reproduce the sound of just about anything
they hear,” and can throw their voices like ventriloquists. “I
think there’s a congitive process going on,” Dye told
William Mullen of the Chicago Tribune. “You can see the
whales play with the sounds until they are good at mimicking
Asked by the Vancouver Parks Board to present
a proposal for phasing out live whale exhibits, the Vancouver
Aquarium countered on September 13 with a plan to keep
only captive-born whales. The first facility ever to exhibit
orcas, the Vancouver Aquarium has kept both orcas and belugas
for 30 years. The belugas have reproduced successfully;
the orcas have not, and occupy a tank substantially smaller
than the standard set by the four Sea World orca facilities and
the Oregon Coast Aquarium––but the Parks Board has
blocked expansion. Public opinion polls have found community
opinion about equally divided as to whether the
Vancouver Aquarium should continue to keep whales.
One argument the Vancouver Aquarium uses
for whale-keeping is that offshore whale-watching in the
Puget Sound region has risen from an average of 4.4 boats at
a time watching each orca pod in 1990, to 26.2 boats watching
each pod this year, with a recorded high of 107 boats following
one pod at one time. Ripon College psychologist Bob
Otis says he’s seen no evidence in seven years of observation
that the orcas are disturbed by the attention, but the gray
whales who migrate through southern Clayoquot Sound, just
to the north, have gradually changed their route. Whalewatching
vessels sailing from Tofino, British Columbia, had
to travel only six miles to see them in 1991, reports
University of Victoria geographer Dave Duffus, but by 1994
had to travel up to 18 miles.
A September 1 protest at Marineland in
Niagara, Ontario, brought the arrests of Ben White,
Pacific director of Friends of Animals, and Steve Hindi,
president of the Chicago Animal Rights Coalition, along with
four local activists. Zoocheck Canada board member Holly
Penfound was reportedly struck but not seriously hurt by the
mirror of a truck driven by Marineland owner John Holer.
The New England Aquarium, of Nahant,
Massachusetts, on September 11 released a hooded seal,
rarely seen that far from Arctic waters, cured of a debilitating
virus and 400 pounds heavier than when she was found
stranded in February. The successful rehabilitation was rare,
too, said National Marine Life Center president Joe Geraci,
who on August 15 announced plans to build a privately funded
$12 million marine mammal stranding rescue center at
Buzzard’s Bay. “All this time we’ve been on Cape Cod, in
the heartland of animal strandings,” Geraci said, “and all
we’ve been able to do when an animal washes up is either tag
it and send it back, or kill the poor thing. Now we can bring
stranded animals in, bring them back to health, and learn
from them.” New England Aquarium help with stranding
rehab has been limited by tight space. The aquarium was to
break ground in September for a $25 million new wing, the
first phase of an expansion that is to triple the size of the
1969-vintage facility. Designed to handle 600,000 visitors a
year, it currently receives 1.3 million.
Following the lead of several Florida aquariums,
divers from the National Aquarium in Baltimore used the
intake canal of a Florida Power & Light nuclear plant as a
capture pen in mid-August, rounding up 12-foot roughtail
stingrays and specimens of more than 140 other fish species
who have become trapped in the 300-foot-wide canal since
the last time anyone cleared the animals out..
Losing $4 million in 1995, its first year, the
Florida Aquarium in Tampa lost $2.3 million during the first
quarter of its 1996 fiscal year, as attendance fell 40% and
donations to the nonprofit facility slipped by two-thirds.

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