The Time Is Right

I was 17 when I met a dolphin named Spock, the first of many that I’ve known in my lifetime. 

by John Racanelli, Chief Executive Officer

Published June 14, 2016

As a SCUBA diver at a marine park on San Francisco Bay, I had the job of scrubbing algae off the concrete walls of the dolphin tank—Spock’s home—for hours at a time. I loved it, of course, but even then, I wondered what Spock’s previous life in the blue vastness of the open sea must have been like.

john

I left that marine park in the early 1980s, and it wasn’t until I came to the National Aquarium 30 years later that I found myself once again responsible for the care of dolphins. By then, I had a very different outlook. Times had changed, as had our understanding of the unique welfare needs of these intelligent animals. 

With that knowledge, the National Aquarium is today announcing our decision to create the nation’s first seaside dolphin sanctuary and to move our colony of dolphins there before the end of 2020. 

Our quest to find a new way to care for the dolphins began five years ago. Working closely with the aquarium’s board of directors, an internal team weighed many options, ranging from rebuilding our existing pools in a more naturalistic style to moving the dolphins to other accredited facilities. In the end, we decided that the best way forward was to create a protected, year-round, seaside refuge for the dolphins. We didn’t make this decision because it was the cheapest or easiest option—it was neither—and it wasn’t a decision we could have made quickly or without thoughtful consideration. For us, the belief that this is the right decision came down to three things: the dolphins, our community and our own mission. 


Continue reading on The Baltimore Sun

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Animal Update: Cockatiels Chicks

We have cockatiel chicks in Australia: Wild Extremes!

Read the full story

Read to Reef Book Club Returns!

In partnership with Enoch Pratt Free Library, we’re pleased to announce that another season of the Read to Reef book club starts today!

Read the full story

Related Stories

From Charm City to Light City

Published March 21, 2017

Read to Reef Book Club Returns!

Published March 01, 2017