Last week,One Voice, a French animal welfare organization, drew attention to the shocking story of Femke, a female dolphin kept in captivity at the marine park 'Parc Astérix' just north of Paris, France.
Source: Parc Astérix
The animal protection association confirmed their suspicions, with a video for proof, that Femke's health had begun to deteriorate at a worrying rate since her son, Ekinox, was taken from her. He was torn away from his mother in 2016 at only five years old, to be transferred to a different marine park in Greece.In the wild, young dolphins stay with their mothers until they are at least 12 years old, and even then don't leave for prolonged periods of time.[caption id="attachment_34852" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
Femke and her son, Ekinox, in 2015. Source: Audrey Ricq[/caption]The association condemns this common practice in dolphinariums:
Ekinox, left to live with other males separated prematurely from their mothers, will probably begin to get weaker there. However, transfers are encouraged for genetic reasons. So, families are torn apart and individuals are destroyed.
Femke was captured in Florida, near to the American coast in the 1980s. 40 years of captivity later, her son was taken away from her and she plunged into a deep depression. One Voice explains:
Femke floats, like a shadow, in the chlorine pool. [...] She has completely lost her away and seems to be dying of grief. [...] She seems to have given up already.
[caption id="attachment_34855" align="alignnone" width="730"]
Femke, circled, floating unresponsively during training, in April 2016. Source: One Voice[/caption]The images captured by the association on April 12 show the lifeless female floating without moving, with a bent dorsal fin."As was already filmed last October, Femke stays away from the other dolphins and is no longer performing in shows," explains One Voice.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NZlbLSjvvg[/embed]Pierre Gallego, a veterinarian appointed by the association who visited Femke to observe her condition confirmed:
The mental and physical state of Femke is extremely alarming and calls for urgent expert veterinary action.
[caption id="attachment_34845" align="alignnone" width="2494"]
Femke's bent dorsal fin, a symptom of her physical and psychological distress, according to One Voice. Source: One Voice[/caption]One Voice has taken the responsibility of bringing Femke the urgent help that she needs. Moreover, they are continuing their efforts to alert the public about Femke, and all other animals that suffer as she has in captivity. The association has created a petition for the closure of 'dolphinariums' in the hopes of ending this cruel practice.One Voice concludes:
Several countries have already banned these structures on their turf in an attemp to protect these marina animals. Chille, Hungary, Costa Rica in 2005, Switzerland in 2012 and finally India in 2013. It's unthinkable that France refuses to take the scientific evidence into consideration and continues to ignore the suffering of these mammals.
To add your voice to the cause and sign the petition, click here(in French).
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