Blog | Stopping Captive Dolphin Facilities in Puerto Rico

Stopping Captive Dolphin Facilities in Puerto Rico

November 17, 2011 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Laura Bridgeman
Program Associate
International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute

Ric O’Barry and the team here at Dolphin Project have been quite busy as of late, what with new dolphinariums and captive facilities popping out of the woodwork with surprising and disturbing frequency – in places such as Thailand, the Maldives, and now: Puerto Rico.

The proposed Puerto Rican facility, slated for construction within the capital city of San Juan, will not only hold captive dolphins in woefully inadequate artificial environments, but will lure customers in on the false and psychologically manipulative assumption that dolphins can somehow cure ailing children suffering from autism and similar incurable diseases.

Dolphin Assisted Therapy, or DAT, has long been proven as being ineffectual ( and damaging not only for the dolphins, but often for children and their families as well. Those with ailing loved ones who are willing to try anything will seek out DAT, often as an alternative therapy or in an act of last resort. The desire to try anything to assist a loved one is certainly understandable and something with which we can all sympathize. Yet, once again, the captivity industry is taking advantage of people’s love and trust by proclaiming that dolphins possess some kind of magical healing properties that any child may benefit from – providing that a substantial fee is paid in advance, of course. 

DAT is, in this sense, particularly insidious. It demonstrates that industry proponents, from the traffickers of live dolphins to the owners of the facilities, are benefiting unjustly at the expense of sick children and innocent dolphins alike. These people take pleasure in lining their pockets with money wrenched from the futile hopes of suffering families. The captivity industry cares exclusively for their bottom lines; these people should be stopped. 

Puerto Rico, which translates into ‘rich port’, does not need this blemish upon their beautiful shores. Earth Island has teamed up with Delfines Libres to prevent this abomination from ever coming into being. You can help by speaking your mind to Mayor Jorge Santini by signing PETA’s petition ( and visiting the following websites, designed and maintained by passionate locals:

Delfines Libres:

On Facebook:

Contact the following officials and express your concern about the proposed facility and DAT:


Hon. Jorge Santini-Padilla
PO Box 9024100
San Juan, PR 00902-4100

Phone 787-724-7171, extension 3001

Fax: 787-725-5674


President of the San Juan Municipal Legislature:

Elba Vallés Pérez

Phone: 787-480-2558


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