Cetaceans near Scottsdale? It’s happening.
The second-largest theme park operator in Mexico, Ventura Entertainment, will open its first “dolphinarium” in the United States in July. The attraction, operated by Ventura’s subsidiary Dolphinaris, is located in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, and will provide similar swim-with-dolphins activities the company offers at its five locations in Mexico.
The facilities have drawn criticism from animal-welfare activists, who say the desert of a landlocked state is no place for dolphins, social and intelligent marine creatures that can swim up to 100 miles a day. Local protesters have organized a demonstration, “Empty the Tanks,” which will take place in Scottsdale next month. More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition against the “dolphinarium.” The petition says that Arizona summers, characterized by abundant sunshine and dry conditions, could negatively affect the dolphins’ health.
Dolphinaris explains on its website that “the well-being and the appropriate attention of the dolphins under our care is our absolute priority. We satisfy every physical and behavior need, including supervision of natural behavior of the species and reproduction programs.”