Thursday 09 June 2016 | 116

It's urgent for Galeo

A damning report by Dr Ingrid Visser, instigated by One Voice, has revealed the shocking situation of the dolphins at Planet Sauvage (Wild Planet), France, and the worrying case of Galeo. One Voice has lodged a complaint on his behalf. We must save him!

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What has happened to Galeo?

When young Galeo left Asterix Park in January 2015, leaving his mother and his early childhood friends behind, his skin was still untouched. Today it is riddled with rake marks caused by other dolphins scraping the skin with their teeth, cuts, open wounds and vicious bite-marks from his tailfin to his nose. The mix of old and new scars show that he has been suffering for some time. Of course in the wild there are fights over females, but you don't see scars on this scale, as we do on the young Galeo. Constantly harassed, his poor body is getting more damaged every day.

Galeo has also lost a lot of weight. There is a depression at the back of his head (the 'peanut head' characteristic) which often indicates a nutritional problem in cetaceans. His body is also covered by little black marks and dolphin pox lesions, an infection mostly brought on by stress.

Born in the show pool

Galeo's mother Bailly went into labour at the end of a show in August 2009, which was stopped so that she could give birth. As there were no appropriately isolated pools, shows were suspended over several weeks to allow Bailly to look after her child without being bothered by her companions' acrobatics. There was much excitement surrounding this newborn, and until the age of two, his premature training was recorded with photos and constant updates on the Park Asterix website.

Torn away from his family at the age of 4

When he arrived at Port-Saint-Père with Aicko, Galeo suddenly lost the support of his mother. He found himself alone, a young immature male, and confronted by 'scarface' Peos, the tough guy of the park, ten years older than Galeo. Also born at Park Asterix, Peos had dislocated his jaw in a fight there over some females. Below Peos in the hierarchy were also the young Ocean, just arrived from Bruges, and three females from Holland; Parel, Amtan and poor Lucille, freshly deported. From the moment he arrived, Galeo was the group's whipping boy.

According to Dr Visser's report, the other dolphins' situation is not much better

The dolphins display stereotypical displacement behaviour, patterns of comportment repeated incessantly by captive animals. Through the viewing windows we can hear the hullabaloo of noise and snapping jaws, indicating continual conflict and tension in the group. Seven of them share the big show pool with no toys or objects, the pool floor littered by deposits demonstrating defective filtration systems. Three small lateral pools allow the dolphins to be isolated but there is no shelter from the sun or from people. They are constantly observed through the viewing windows.

The report by Dr Ingrid Visser is damning

But it confirms concerns which could have been raised in 2008 and were subject to a 'study' when authorisation for the park was requested: What happens when we re-group several young dolphins that are born in different parks and removed early from their original families?

The reply is clear; we end up with an unusually brutal captive society, a bit like in the ' Lord of the Flies,' institutional violence which is also present amongst the Loro Park Orcas in Tenerife (read the article about Morgan). It is not surprising that in this stressful environment, Lucille cracked in front of Parel, killing her youngster. If all captive societies are essentially human creations, Planet Savauge is a prime example of 'failed social organisation,' with all of the dramatic consequences that we could expect.

Confronted with Galeo's urgent situation, One Voice filed a complaint on the 4 th of June and is currently preparing a new case for the prosecutor. We need to get him removed before it is too late. Each day could be his last! There is still time… Sign and share the petition!

The dolphins:
  • Lucille, born at SeaWorld on the 16th of April 1989 (to Ralph and Louise), transferred to Harderwijk on the 9th of June 1997 then to Planet Sauvage on the 7th of April 2015 leaving her two children behind.
  • Peos, born on the 23rd of June 1999 at Park Asterix (to Amaya and Pichi). Transferred on the 1st of October 2007 to the Harderwijk dolphinarium. Returned to Park Asterix the 17th of April 2008. Transferred to Planet Sauvage in December 2008.
  • Amtan, born on the 13th of May 2001 at Harderwijk dolphinarium (to Molly and Moby Dick). Transferred in October 2008 to Planet Sauvage.
  • Ocean, born on the 13th of August 2003 at Boudewijn Sea Park (to Roxanne and Tex). Brought to Planet Sauvage in April 2014.
  • Parel, born on the 8th of June 2008 at the Harderwijk dolphinarium (to Roxy and Prince). Transferred on the 29th of March 2012 to Planet Sauvage.
  • Galeo, born on the 10th of August 2009 at Park Asterix (to Baily and Guama). Brought to Planet Sauvage in January 2015.
  • Aicko, born on the 14th of August 2010 at Park Asterix (to Aya and Guama). Brought to Planet Sauvage in January 2015.
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In the subject

Whale Prison: Three New Orcas have been Released
All in Antibes for Inouk !

Comments 116

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

carol hamilton | Thursday 23 June 2016

This is so cruel and horrific, are you going to allow this poor dolphin to endure this bullying until he dies??? I hope you are going to show your humanity and compassion and help him now.

beryl bales | Wednesday 22 June 2016

Please help these dolphins they do not belong in a concrete pond thank you x

Venika | Wednesday 15 June 2016

Encore des actes gratuits contre les faibles

Zoubira | Saturday 11 June 2016

L'interdiction de ce genre de bassins devrait être pour tous les pays. De même que certains zoos minables.