Saturday 07 May 2016 | 4

Sharky & Lotty, the elder captives

Sharky & Lotty, the elder captives

Mis à jour le 19 February 2020

A dolphins memory is equal to that of an elephant. If we could speak with Sharky and Lotty, they could tell us all the difficulties they had survived in the tiny enclosures, journeys by plane, the farewells and the grieving. They would also speak of their childhood. But the dophinariums don't want their dolphins to talk. So we are telling their story for them.

Hr blog

Lotty is the eldest of the Marineland dolphins. Captured in Florida in June 1983, she lived ten years in Great Britain, before being sent to Sweden, then finishing her journey in Antibes, in 2005. Sharky had the same fate. Captured in October 1983, also in Florida, she survived the English doplhinariums as well, and, it would seem, the flooding that submerged Marineland on the 5th of October 2015.

Childhood in Charlotte Harbour

The Charlotte Harbour estuary, to the South West of Florida, is a dolphin's paradise, they have been living there for centuries. The fresh water of two rivers mixes with the salty water of the Golf of Mexico generating big marine plains thriving with shellfish and fish. The dolphin clans group themselves into small marine 'villages', scattered around the network of islets and lagoons. The water is calm, warm and shallow, journeys are just visits between neighbours, life is calm, and time stands still. Lotty and Sharky lived there when they were small. They played chase between the mangroves scaring the waders perched on the shores by squirting water at them, and should have grown up in their sub tropical mangroves and become mothers and grandmothers. But the doplhinariums took this destiny away from them, and have devastated their population. Since the beginning of the 1960's and for more than thirty years, persistent raids have taken children away from their families, broken up tribes and weakened the populations exposing them to epidemics. Today the free dolphins of Charlotte Harbour are protected. They are slowly bouncing back from this wave of captures, but Sharky and Lotty did not escape.

Fair at Flamingo land

The senseless explosion of dozens of small dolphinariums started in Great Britain with Flamingo Land. Opened in 1961, this establishment was the first to exhibit living dolphins in a happy fair atmosphere. They didn't survive a long time and were consecutively imported from Florida. In 1984, Flamingo Land received its three last dolphins. They would stay there until the closure of the park in 1993. Meanwhile, a civil battle triumphed.. Following relentless campaigning, the English dolphinariums had to conform to rules so strict that they all closed, without exception. 

Rocky, Missie and Silver were rehabilitated in the Caribbean, welcomed by Jojo, the lone dolphin. After having been held respectively 20, 22 and 15 years, the three dolphins successfully rediscovered their freedom. But the public's generosity did not reach far enough to finance re-homing all the captive dolphins in the sea. For the last three prisoners of Flamingo Land, the nightmare continued. They were sent to the North of Europe.

From Sweden to Antibes

Open in 1969, the Kolmarden dolphinarium was the first to be built in a Scandinavian country. Right from the beginning, a mass of Florida dolphins were stranded here, torn away from their luminous mangroves for a death in a dark pool. Lotty and Sharky managed to survive in the Swedish park, with Lotty even giving birth to Fenix there. In 2005, Lotty and Sharky were transported to Marineland with Fenix. Far from enjoying the scorching sun, the youngster couldn't cope with the park's environment and died four years later, at only eight years of age.

In 2011 Sharky gave birth to Jo, her one and only child. Today, the two friends always swim side by side, having spent 33 years of their life in captivity. Could they still go back to the small islands of their childhood, in the Charlotte Bay estuary? Without doubt, following a well managed rehabilitation programme. It all depends on the dolphin and its desire to live. And our two friends have this desire. Lotty and Sharky have been hunting fish together since they were three. They haven't been seperated since their capture, and it is their strong friendship that has allowed them to survive.

If they can't be released, these dolphins deserve at least to be placed in a marine bay with their family. It is urgent, Lotty and Sharky will soon be 37 years old. In Marineland, Antibes, no dolphin has lived beyond 38 years of age…

Hr blog

In the subject

The court prohibit Marineland from relocating the orcas before the end of the independent assessment Marineland: One Voice has obtained a temporary ban on moving the orcas - hearing on 16/01/2024

Comments 4

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

Nathalie | Wednesday 21 September 2016

???? ça ne peux pas durer. Il faut que cela cesse.

wettléc | Sunday 15 May 2016

Bien sûr que les enfants aiment les delphinariums, les cirques car ils ne voient et ne savent pas la face cachée de tels endroits se disant que les animaux y sont heureux et bien soignés, ce que les parents eux-mêmes très souvent malheureusement doivent se dire. C'est donc aux associations de défense et protection des animaux, à nous défenseurs des animaux de sensibiliser d'informer la population, d'expliquer aux enfants, aux parents car ce n'est qu'en voyant et sachant que les mentalités peuvent changer et évoluer. Il est donc primordial et important d'expliquer clairement ce qui se passe dans tous ces marineland, dans ces delphinariums, dénoncer la façon dont tous ces malheureux animaux sont arrachés à leurs océans, espaces naturels pour eux, pour y être emprisonnés et dressés à obéir dans des bassins immondes "juste pour le divertissement, pour la distraction, l'attraction" d'humains sans scrupule. Aucun animal n'est "un clown" et aucun animal n'a à être ridiculisé, humilié et rabaissé "juste pour le plaisir" d'ordures humaines. Les animaux sont tous des êtres vivants sensibles, intelligents, ils ont des émotions et les mêmes besoins que nous et nous leur devons le respect total, ils ne sont heureux que dans leur environnement naturel ce qui est plus que logique et évident et n'ont pas à être "utilisés" comme simples "objets ou marchandises ou matériel".
Il est temps que les consciences s'éveillent, que les yeux s'ouvrent et les coeurs afin de faire cesser définitivement "ces spectacles" de la honte et de l'horreur qui ne sont que souffrance, déprime et douleur pour ces pauvres animaux.

chris | Saturday 07 May 2016

Il est temps d'arrêter tous ces centres d'attraction où l'on exhibe des animaux privés de liberté, privés de la nature dans laquelle ils doivent vive. L'humain se doit de prendre de la hauteur en libérant tous ces animaux de leurs chaînes.
L'humain doit se créer du plaisir par lui-même et non au détriment d'autres espèces animales.

Zab175 | Saturday 07 May 2016

Lorsque l'on est enfant, on s'émerveille devant ces spectacles de dauphins, d'otaries, etc. sans se douter bien sûr de tout ce que cela implique.
Je n'ai jamais aimé les cirques et je les déteste encore plus maintenant que je suis adulte et que je sais... De même, les delphinariums ne me font plus rêver et me donnent même envie de pleurer aujourd'hui que je sais, que j'ai appris, que je prend conscience en tant qu'adulte responsable et tellement attachée à la cause animale.
Je pense que nous devons expliquer, montrer, démontrer encore plus fort, plus souvent, plus longtemps....afin que tous sachent à leur tour et prennent conscience. Bien sûr, nous ne vivons pas dans un monde parfait et il y aura toujours des personnes qui ne comprennent pas, qui ne veulent pas comprendre que les animaux sont importants pour cette planète et que si nous avons besoin d'eux pour vivre, eux n'ont pas besoin de nous, ils étaient là avant, ils seront là après si on arrête nos idioties ( je suis volontairement "légère" dans mes propos ).
Informer les enfants, expliquer aux plus grands, comprendre, apprendre, aimer et respecter. Merci pour ce que vous faites....
Isabelle, grande amoureuse des animaux