When Bucky, a bottlenose dolphin, was 6 months old, he needed help. He reportedly was found by rescuers in poor health, fighting dehydration and suffering from sunburn in an Australian river. He was taken to a marine park called Dolphin Marine Magic, but instead of being released back to his ocean home once his condition had improved, he was locked in a tank.
That was 47 years ago, and Bucky still needs help.
Get your hands on a copy of weekend @australian mag – brilliant article on #dolphin captivity in NSW #EmptyTheTanks pic.twitter.com/eSMbbe191y
— AustraliaforDolphins (@Aus4Dolphins) May 7, 2016
Since the day he was found, Bucky has spent his entire life in tiny concrete tanks. Bottlenose dolphins typically live 40 to 50 years, which means Bucky will likely die soon, without ever seeing his ocean home or his pod again.
But it’s not just Bucky’s longtime captivity that’s troubling. In 2013, an episode of the Australian TV show Bondi Vet revealed something very upsetting about the elderly dolphin’s health: Bucky had cancer.
Despite his diagnosis and his advanced age, Bucky wasn’t whisked away for retirement. This long-suffering dolphin still lives in a cramped tank, where he’s forced to perform unnatural tricks and made to swim with tourists—an activity that can be extremely traumatic for dolphins. Dolphin Marine Magic even advertises “dolphin kisses” for tourists, a gimmick that the dolphins had to learn so that tourists could get their photo taken with them.
Although some reports say Bucky’s cancer is in remission, this cancer survivor shouldn’t be forced to line the pockets of those who keep him captive.
*In this clip, you can see Bucky and another dolphin at Dolphin Marine Magic forced to spin hula hoops around their necks in exchange for food.
Bucky and His Family Have Suffered Enough
Recently, at the same park where he is held captive, one of Bucky’s sons, a 1-year-old dolphin named Ji-Ling, died of a reported heart attack during a procedure intended to remove sticks, leaves, and a piece of metal from his stomach—all of which he had consumed while in one of Dolphin Marine Magic’s tanks. At other marine parks around the world, there are many similar stories of animals who have died tragically as a result of being kept in such disturbingly unnatural conditions.
Dolphins Deserve Better
Bucky should never have been used to make money for Dolphin Marine Magic. This elderly dolphin—and all animals—deserve better than a life in a prison tank.
What You Can Do
Never support marine parks or “swim with dolphins” programs that profit from the use of live animals. In the U.S., SeaWorld’s orcas, dolphins, and other animals are languishing in tiny concrete tanks. Tell the embattled marine park to do right by its animals by retiring them to seaside sanctuaries.