Through the creation of North America’s first dolphin sanctuary, the National Aquarium is introducing a new option for human care of dolphins. The sanctuary’s mission is to advance understanding and protection of cetaceans by offering a natural environment in which the colony of dolphins in our care will thrive.
The health and welfare of the dolphins is our enduring priority. Expert staff will provide a lifetime of customized individual care, ensuring that the needs of each dolphin are understood and met in a sanctuary setting.
In addition to representing a place, the sanctuary is also defined by a set of principles and corresponding practices, ensuring that a “dolphin-first” approach is the guiding philosophy of the new facility.
Researchers will advance studies not feasible in either open-ocean or aquarium settings, expanding our understanding of wild dolphins and those in human care.
The dolphins will live in natural seawater in a tropical or sub-tropical location, mirroring the habitat in which wild dolphins thrive.
The design will be flexible to allow for different spatial configurations to keep the dolphins engaged and able to form social groupings that suit them.
The setting will provide the dolphins with opportunities to express natural behaviors while exposing them to stimuli, such as fish and marine plants.
Marine mammal experts will provide full-time, individual care to the dolphins, supported by a full-time veterinarian and on-site clinical care facilities.
The dolphins will continue to be a part of the National Aquarium community; plans call for a digital connection between the new site and Baltimore.
Get the most up-to-date information and learn more about the sanctuary by visiting our frequently asked questions page.
This pioneering effort will create both excitement and questions. We look forward to advancing the dialogue around this important topic.
The National Aquarium is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.