MUMBAI: An order against keeping dolphins in captivity has now been passed by the Union ministry of environment and forests. A circular issued last week has termed dolphins as "non-human persons" because of their unusually high intelligence when compared to other animals.
The MoEF circular has also categorically stated that dophinariums or captive dophin parks will not be permitted in the country. This could affect the upcoming SeaWorld marine project in Sindhudurg and a dolphin park planned in Kerala.
Welcoming this order, a spokesperson of Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organisations ( FIAPO) said: "It is a huge victory for dolphins. We thank minister Jayanthi Natarajan for setting the benchmark in animal protection for the world, by recognizing that dolphins, and indeed all cetaceans, be seen as 'non-human persons'. It is morally unacceptable to keep them or any other animal captive for the purpose of entertainment.''
The circular, signed by member secretary of MoEF, B S Bonal, states: "Confinement of dolphins in captivity can seriously compromise the welfare and survival of all types of cetaceans by altering their behaviour and causing extreme distress.''
Reacting to the latest MoEF order, the general manager of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Limited, Kishori Gadre, told TOI: "We will follow all the rules of MoEF for the SeaWorld project. Currently, a lot of dolphins can be seen along the Konkan coast in their natural habitat, not in captivity.''
Source:The Times of India, 23 May 2013