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No more dolphins at Sea World?

Sea World rescue team release Sandy the Dolphin4:08

After seven weeks of rehab, the Sea World team release a young offshore bottlenose dolphin at Cape Moreton.

Dolphins at the Gold Coast theme park Sea World perform tricks.

Lexie CartwrightGold Coast Bulletin

THE Queensland Government is backing Sea World in its battle with activists who are trying to stop the tourist attraction keeping ­dolphins.

Sea World is one of only two sites in the country that has the marine mammals.

The other is Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour and former NSW premier Bob Carr has now joined the push to outlaw dolphin captivity in that state.

The dolphin enclosure at Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour. Pic: Lindsay Moller

The dolphin enclosure at Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour. Pic: Lindsay MollerSource:News Corp Australia

If the cross-party bid is successful in forcing the Coffs attraction to give up its dolphins, Sea World would be one of only a few places in the world where the creatures can be seen in captivity.

Australia for Dolphins CEO Sarah Lucas said it was inevitable Sea World would lose the right to keep dolphins.

“It’s a declining industry,” Ms Lucas said.

“A recent Galaxy poll indicates four-fifths of Australians don’t agree with dolphins being kept captive.

“Queensland is looking like it will be one of the last states in the world that will address this law. I have a lot of respect for the staff at Sea World but at the end of the day dolphins do not belong in captivity and we are setting our sights on Queensland next.”

Ms Lucas said activists had been in talks with the Queensland Government about ending dolphin captivity in the state.

Dolphins perform in the marine stadium at Sea World on the Gold Coast.

Dolphins perform in the marine stadium at Sea World on the Gold Coast.Source:Supplied

But last night a Government spokesman came out strongly in support of one of the Coast’s top tourists attractions, saying there was no move to stop Sea World keeping and breeding dolphins.

“Queensland’s private animal exhibition industry contributes to our economy, provides educational experiences to local communities and tourists and contributes to the conservation of species worldwide,” said the spokesman for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

An Australia for Dolphins ad for buses targets the dolphin marine park at Coffs Harbour.

An Australia for Dolphins ad for buses targets the dolphin marine park at Coffs Harbour.Source:Supplied

“Queensland’s licensing arrangements ensure that an organisation has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and adequate facilities to provide for the welfare of any dolphins bred in captivity.”

Sea World was pleased to hear the State Government was backing them.

“The information some people put out about dolphins is incorrect,” Sea World director of Marine Sciences Trevor Long said.

“If this (proposed NSW) law was to be implemented (in Queensland) there would be no Sea World rescue ­program.

“Anecdotally dolphins are disappearing in Gold Coast waters every day. Our rescue operations have increased drastically in the past 12 months. It is the bulk of what we do and I’d be devastated if this law was passed one day. It would mean we wouldn’t be able to rescue and rehabilitate dolphins.”

Australian swim team members Mel Gorman, Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell and Christian Sprenger with Stella the dolphin at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Picture: Adam Head.

Australian swim team members Mel Gorman, Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell and Christian Sprenger with Stella the dolphin at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Picture: Adam Head.Source:News Corp Australia

Mr Long said Sea World was a dolphin “oasis” compared to other sealife parks around the world.

“Sea World is more of a sanctuary than anything else. We have natural sand bottom pods that are the largest in the world.

“We are working toward doing more research with universities to validate that our dolphins aren’t stressed.

A Sea World dolphin trainer at the Gold Coast theme park with Tuffy the dolphin. Picture: Paul Riley.

A Sea World dolphin trainer at the Gold Coast theme park with Tuffy the dolphin. Picture: Paul Riley.Source:News Limited

“I know the performing side of things is an issue ... and it’s something we would be open to looking at, but it actually makes them happier.

“By no means are dolphins forced to perform.

“If they don’t want to they don’t have to.”

The RSPCA also criticised the keeping of dolphins.

“The pools that are used for display are usually designed to maximise visibility to humans and to facilitate cleaning rather than to provide a complex environment for exploration or deep dives,” a spokesman said.

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