Marine Connection was recently alerted to a new dolphin facility at the Best Western Hotel in Dilijan, Armenia. After further investigations, we discovered that two dolphins had been exported from Russia and being kept in the hotel swimming pool.
The permit provided by CITES states the female dolphins are from Morskaya Zvezda Dolphinarium in Sochi and shows the purpose of the import to be Q – “Specimens that form part of a circus or other travelling exhibition”, which would usually be returned to the country of origin (in this case Russia) without changing ownership; meaning the dolphins would appear to be on a lease agreement from Russia. The Best Western Paradise Hotel is publicising the dolphins as being used in swim with dolphin activities and for ‘dolphin-assisted therapy’ purposes.
Margaux Dodds, director of Marine Connection comments; “The pool these dolphins are in is no more than an indoor pool which looks to have been built for human use. It is approximately 2ft at the shallowest and 8ft at the deepest – with no slide out area to allow for examination and no medical pool to isolate one of the animals should it become ill. It is very likely that there is sand filtration system, which whilst adequate for human use, would not be suitable for dolphins and will not cope with the amount of waste generated. It is therefore probable that within a short time these dolphins will be forced to swim in murky water or be subjected to dangerous levels of chemicals to keep water clear for human participants. With countries around the world looking towards ending keeping these wide-ranging marine mammals in captivity, it is concerning to see an international hotel brand such as Best Western supporting their continued confinement for human use.”
Marine Connection has contacted CITES regarding the issuing of this permit and also Best Western Paradise Hotel management, plus the CEO at Best Western’s head office in Phoenix, Arizona
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR CAMPAIGN FOR ‘THE PARADISE 2’
Send comments to:
The Hotel Manager
Best Western Paradise Hotel
David Kong CEO
Best Western HQ, Arizona
Read the coverage of our campaign in The Daily Mail *
*Note: correction, the UK does not currently have a ban but strict legislation