An Appeal Against Dolphins in Captivity at the Scientific Center of Kuwait

Post by Mark

The article below was written by a friend of mine and I believe is worth sharing on the blog. It’s a bit long but worth reading till the end.


An Appeal Against Dolphins in Captivity at the Scientific Center of Kuwait

I would like to begin by saying this letter is an appeal to all those with a conscience and a heart. An appeal to those who do not know, and to those who do. I extend these words in hope that they may inspire action, unity, and a change of fate for those without voices to speak for themselves.

One of my favorite places and institutions in Kuwait will be under construction for the next three years. The Scientific Center of Kuwait. They plan to expand The Scientific Center, and install a dolphinarium.

An aquarium in which dolphins are kept and trained for public entertainment.

This news has been circulating for a few years now and I asked confirmation from the institution itself. It has been confirmed. They are going to build a dolphin prison.

Let’s take a look at the direction the world is moving in – they are enforcing laws that prohibit the exploitation of these wild animals. The United Kingdom has banned dolphinariums since the early 90’s (way ahead of their time). Most (not all) dolphinariums that exist today in the world have existed since the 70’s and 80’s if they haven’t been forced to shut down YET.

The Scientific Center’s Argument
– To increase audience to the center and encourage repeat visits ($$$$profit$$$$)
– The dolphins will have excellent medical care and specialized trainers
– Dolphins live longer in captivity
– The dolphins will not be harmed
– The dolphins are safer in captivity, away from predators, pollution, have constant supply of food
– Children’s attention spans are a problem and they would rather see a dolphin doing tricks than a documentary about them in the wild.
– Education
– Dolphins that are bred in captivity (the ones they say they are going to bring) are non-releasable and lack the necessary skills to survive in the wild

I have no references for the above as this information was obtained by speaking to employees of the Scientific Center, and they were very very proud of their new upcoming dolphinarium.

Science and Research’s Argument (The Truth)
– Captivity kills dolphins
– 53% of dolphins that survive violent capture die within 90 days in captivity.
– Average life span of dolphins in the wild is 20-45 years, while in captivity it is only 5.
– Half of all dolphins die from capture shock, pneumonia, intestinal disease, ulcers, chlorine poisoning, in the marine entertainment industry these are accepted as routine operating expenses.
– The chlorine water turns the dolphin’s eyes blind.
– Wild dolphins swim 40-100 miles a day. In a tank, it is like being locked up in a bathroom.
– Confined animals abuse themselves like banging their heads against walls, to create stimuli which their artificial environment lacks. Swimming in circles with their eyes closed in silence, because of confinement and boredom.
– Dolphins spend up to half of their time in the wild hunting for food. In captivity, they are fed dead fish, which results in no exercise, lack of mental stimulation, resulting in severe boredom.
– There is a lengthy and tailored approach to rehabilitating dolphins and releasing them back into open water and is practiced globally.
– Dolphins (and whales) live in complex social groups. They have separate dialects and cultures. Bringing in these creatures and forcing them to live together in a confined space and forcing them to live and perform tricks for our amusement is abusive, unnatural, and psychologically traumatizing.
– The dolphins are trained to do these tricks through hunger deprivation.

The sources for all the above points are located at the end of the post.

It would be a disgrace to our society, and reputation, to take such a disgusting step backwards while the world is moving forwards. It is barbaric to enslave any creature for our amusement (and profit). We cannot allow this to happen with all that we have discovered about the emotional, intellectual capacity of these beings.

I love the Scientific Center. I love the films, the walkways, and the fish flowing and glowing in their black glass tanks. I go there with the people I love. I was told by an employee, that they are looking to make people to come back for more – that the aquarium is not enough, people visit once, that’s it, they’ve seen it all. I personally do not feel this is the case.

Over the course of a year, I visit the Scientific Center at least 10 times, and a maximum of 25. That’s in one year. Maybe I’m an anomaly. But I see familiar faces when I go. I see the world with new eyes, every day. I am a child of the internet. I read and I watch documentaries, and I am constantly learning along with the rest of the world. With you, too. We have no excuse. We can do better than this. The bottom line is – captivity kills. Keeping dolphins in captivity is HARM to the dolphins.

Please, Scientific Center, and people of the public, do not allow this to go through.
[Here is a link to a petition you can sign]

If you read this all and are still not convinced, I beg you to watch the following films which you can find online:

1. The Cove
2. Blackfish
3. Racing Extinction

Yours truly,


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34 comments, add your own...

  1. khaled says:

    i sent this to a firned of mine who works there, he said the project has been on hold for a while with a view to scrap it.

    • Mark says:

      I hope they do, we don’t need a dolphinarium

      • Faisal says:

        Keep animals in captivity for entertainment is inhuman.
        They need to STOP this

      • Lola El says:

        Dear Mark,

        I would like to get in touch with you,if at all possible?Sorry I’m talking to you in this way and is not related to this topic,but I don’t know how else though I registered member of your site I can’t “log in”!?

        Thank you!

  2. SV says:

    Thanks for this bringing to our attention the plight of the dolphins. Signed the petition. Good post!

  3. Serar says:

    That’s a great initiative! We should also aim to shut the zoo down especially that summer is approaching.

  4. Omar says:

    Amazing campaign! Would love to help if there is any opportunity!

  5. Aziz says:

    I have mixed emotions about this topic, i mean its like owning a pet right? I may be wrong and i really think i am but why is it labeled a prison? they do take care of them dont they?

    personally i dont think there is something wrong about it.

    however, its nice to see and hear other people opinion.

    even though im not signing this petition, i wish you all the luck <3

    • DJ Bonita says:

      A pet is not a wild animal.. dogs and cats are domesticated. Dolphins and other wild animals need to be in their natural habitat to thrive. Also, most animals held in capitivity for entertainment purposes aren’t treated so well. I recommend the documentary “Blackfish” – it’s a real eye opener.

      • Aziz says:

        Dear DJ Bonita,
        Thank you for being respectful.
        I will educate my self more about the subject. thank you for your recommendations on what to watch.

    • Little Whale says:

      Dear Aziz, did you not read the post at all? Did you not read the statistics given on mortality and low quality of life? Please watch the documentaries listed at the end of the article. They are eye openers. A wild animal is not a pet. A dolphin can kill you if it wants to. Do not be fooled by its forever smile. Please watch the Cove if you are too lazy to read. Best wishes.

      • Aziz says:

        Dear Little Whale,
        Thank you for being respectful.
        I will educate my self more about the subject. thank you for your recommendations on what to watch.

      • Anonymous5 says:

        The figures presented as “statistics” in this article are incorrect as a speedy Google search will show. I do not oppose the views of the article, but some statements are highly exaggerated.

        Like Aziz, i believe it is like owning a pet. Bigger dogs kept indoors (captivity), what about birds (even those not in cages or big cages – they are still under a roof). The examples can go on.

        A statement in the article said, dolphines are meant to hunt their food in the wild but are fed in the dolphinariums. When you think about it – aren’t humans meant to hunt their food and now are fed by groceries and restaurants?

        Again, not arguing for dolphines in captvity, but i agree with the statememt that it is like having pets.

  6. Anonymous says:


    All of you are thinking about the dolphins being captured??

    If you all were really that concerned about living things, have a thought about the animals in the zoo as well, their condition, the way the zoo is being managed & the way public behave & fling things on the animals.

    People even run over cats & dogs on the streets. And you think the people will be really concerned.

    I do hope your message make a great impact for the betterment of such living creatures.


    • You could take it a step further and say that vegans are the only people who truly care about animals’ well being.

      I’m not even a vegan and I think that’s true.

      I don’t understand selective compassion for animals.

      Yes for dolphins, no to cats and chickens.

      I don’t get it.

      • Little Whale says:

        I don’t understand how this post preaches selective compassion for any animal. If all you want to do is play holier than thou and complain you’re really not doing any good for anyone not even yourself. Bless.

        • This is a post about one animal, the dolphin, therefore it is selective.

          How am I playing holier than thou? I’m not a vegan…..

          • Little Whale says:

            So you would prefer one big petition to save the planet and everything in it at once? One big collective PLEASE LETS UNDO INDUSTRIALISM AND SAVE THE PLANET. Wow thats realistic. Do you think a person is capable of doing that? I don’t think so. Get out of your bubble and wake up.
            The subject is to prevent an otherwise unethical form of entertainment at the scientific center. There is no comment on the current state of the animals there as everything needs to be taken one step at a time, and TOGETHER. No use villainizing or making assumptions about other people or their intentions. If you read the petition (which you probably didn’t) it states the following:

            We kindly ask The Scientific Center to stop its plans to build a dolphinarium and perhaps instead build a botanical garden of native plants from Kuwait and the middle east, with gardening and workshop opportunities to better educate the youth on the importance of sustainability and acting locally and thinking globally. Preparing an eco conscious generation that will be battling the effects of soil erosion, pollution, climate change, and mass extinction.

            We believe keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment and profit is against our ethics and values and our responsibility as citizens of this time and age is to protect and conserve species and allow them to live freely without interference from man in their natural habitats.
            We hope the Scientific Center will listen to its audience and this petition and provide an alternative solution to this expansion, that does not involve animal trafficking and exploitation.

            Take your arguments elsewhere, what good do you contribute to conservation or animal rights on a daily basis, sitting on your couch and trolling? There is nothing selective about that statement. It addresses general animal trafficking and exploitation. Nobody is trying to shut down the Scientific Center. But to make it better, ONE STEP AT A TIME.


          • Little Whale says:

            Also stated:
            “It is barbaric to enslave any creature for our amusement (and profit).”

  7. forzaq8 says:

    is it a Dolphinarium or a dolphin prison ?
    if its a prison for dolphin then yes for it , you don’t know what they did and we need to imprison them

    no for any animal rights , today dolphins , tomorrow people picketing butchers or just like some villages in idea , beef in fridge = death

  8. DeViL says:

    This somehow reminded me of the article you did on security dogs.

  9. Angel says:

    Dear Mark
    Thanks for this article.. I hope this blog can help as well raise awareness regarding the current and horrifying abuse of animals like cat and dogs here as shown in PAWS KUWAIT IG

  10. adly says:

    I love dolphins and sorta feel the same way about keeping them in captivity. That said, I wish people were as passionate about all the hundreds of thousands of poorly paid and poorly treated domestic workers as they are about cats, dogs, dolphins and other assorted animals….

  11. hansel says:

    Animals are animals,fish are fish,birds are birds and so on ..
    You cant be ok with a zoo and captivity of any kind of animals and then be against the captivity of dolphins.
    Any form of living creature to be kept in captivity against their will should be opposed or everything should be accepted.

    A weird example but it should make sense .. we eat the eat of some animals and it is ok for them to be slaughtered and held in captivity but it is not ok for some simply because we don’t eat them?

    it is the saddest thing about todays world, and as the lines get blurrier it becomes even more difficult to make sense of the simplest things in life!

    • Abel says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with this, its all selective for them.

    • Mark says:

      Can you be a bit clear. are you saying you’re:

      – Pro killing animals and holding them in captivity because we eat fish and cows
      – You’re a vegan and are against harming any animals and holding them in captivity

      You don’t have to be either extreme you know, there is an area in between where you can eat meat and yet care about dolphins.

    • Non Vegan says:

      Why do you assume that the writer is ok with any form of captivity or eating any animals ? I don’t think it is stated anywhere. Before you criticize or assume take a look in the mirror, what do you do on a daily basis to make the world a better place?
      Go protest the zoo and Friday market you can’t leave the world saving shit to other people while you stand by idley and watch and criticize. Everybody needs to take responsibility.

  12. jennifer says:

    I loved the scientific Centre and Aquarium 2 years ago. But a recent visit had me terribly dismayed.

    A dead desert rat where another rat was imitating the death pose and then jumping up as if trying to revive its partner. The dead one had been there for some time which must have been psychologically disturbing for the others, particularly the one that stayed with the body.

    Next to that exhibit was one where the lizard in the corner looked sick or gangrenous and its cage partner had already died and was completely dried out and white in the middle of the tank, again how awful for the partner lizard. The bowls were empty of water and food too.

    Moving to the jelly-fish there was an obviously dead one floating around and also the exhibit looked depleted. Where are they going? Are the fauna just dying off?

    The sea horses which used to hide amongst the flora in the tanks cling on desperately to a fake stick of coral. There is litter of a glass beaker in the sand.

    The sand of the cuttlefish tank seems littered with excreted matter and no longer clean. All the tanks seem empty of flora compared to two years ago.

    In the main aquarium all the stingrays are gone. Did they die too?

    We could only find a security guard to alert to all of this. She called a member of staff who then only switched on the lamp in the desert rat exhibit. Warming up the dead body? And they said nothing to us. To her credit the guard then spoke to the member of staff about the lizards but he ignored her.

    This is absolutely a disgusting state of affairs. And the two falcons should probably come out of the 1mx 1m unit too.

    This situation is desperate. Some of the animals are exhibiting psychosis with pacing. And children are coming to this exhibition to learn. What is it we’re teaching them, is the worrying question.

    Add dolphins to this scenario? Absolutely unacceptable.

  13. Non Vegan says:

    So would you only sign the petition if the writer was a vegan? Would you actually focus on the message then? Or are you going to make the petition about all of the worlds animal and human suffering? Doesn’t make sense this seems to be a circle jerk in means to pacify your own short comings and insecurities in taking steps forward to rectify the worlds injustices. Instead of not picking go start a petition about any of the issues you raised yourselves, human trafficking, veganizsim, the zoo, animal trafficking, go ahead I encourage you to take action instead of sitting and criticizing someone who is trying to do some good and prevent something bad from happening. The state of the animals at the sci center is already bad as is, just pay 6.500 kd to take the behind the scenes tour and you’ll see worse than what you see as a visitor, backstage.

  14. Ambareen says:

    Thank you for bringing light to this.

  15. S says:

    The scientific center all together is a disgrace. They have animals locked up in tiny glass cages with barely an room to move, so they resort to sleeping all day. On top of thay, you have kids who poke and bang on their cages all day taking pictures with blinding flashes, and their parents think its “cute.” You have the shark tank, with the animals swimming in the same small circles all day, and now they want to make another disgrace in the name of science by building an aquarium? The facts they presented are false, and if they were really “scientific” they would know that. However, i really think a petition will not do anything, because unlike the rest of the world, no matter how “democratic” Kuwait claims it is, people only think about money. In addition, the majority of kuwait is uneducated and unsympathetic towards animals, and dont mind them being abused. But we also have to blame foreign lobbyists who make money by providing the dolphins to them. As always, while the rest of the world continues to develop, Kuwait will still be stuck behind and us Kuwaities will always be blind to the mistakes that we are making, lets not forget the friday market and how animals are treated and abused in the streets as well

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