A shocking proposal has come to light that would see endangered dolphins, orcas and other marine mammals trafficked out of the coastal waters of Namibia and taken to China for lifetimes in captive misery.
The Namibian Fisheries Ministry is currently entertaining the proposal, which would see a Chinese-owned company, Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research, capture and export live animals to China for “breeding purposes”. According to The Namibian, the list of the company’s demands includes 10 orca (killer whales); 500-1 000 Cape fur seals; 300-500 African penguins; 50-100 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins; 50-100 common bottlenose dolphins; and various sharks.
This request points to the deeply troubling increase in the demand for captive animal entertainment in China, despite a growing understanding of the physical and psychological harm that captivity causes for all species. With 39 marine parks and counting, the country represents the fastest-growing market for live cetaceans on the planet.
In a letter to the Namibian Fisheries Ministry, the International Marine Mammal Project points out that many of these species, such as orcas, are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), making it illegal for any entity to capture and export them. The letter further states that orca population levels are unknown for that region of the world, making it highly irresponsible to remove any individuals given the lack of scientific clarity on what the effects of this might be.
Should it be approved, the proposal would have a devastating effect – not only for the captured individuals, but potentially for the Namibian marine ecosystem on the whole. Please tell the Namibian Fisheries Ministry not to grant permits for this massive trafficking scheme.