Non-profit organization The Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) recently announced plans to build the first seaside sanctuary for retired captive cetaceans—which includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. WSP received $1.2 million in initial funding from toymaker company Munchkin, Inc., and will use those funds to develop a coastal ocean sanctuary that will closely mimic the mammals’ natural habitat. The operation is headed by a team of experts including neuroscientist and animal behavior expert Dr. Lori Marino, who said, ”There are sanctuaries for other large, highly social, and wide-ranging mammals, including elephants and great apes, but there are none anywhere in the world yet for dolphins and whales.” The sanctuary will support retired captive cetaceans for the duration of their lives, rescue and rehabilitate injured ocean mammals, and open to the public as an education facility in a manner that will not disturb the mammals. “We are dedicated not only to these majestic mammals, but also to helping parents and children understand what they can do to help orcas and others live the rest of their lives happily and safely,” Munchkin CEO Steven Dunn said. WSP is positioned to be a model sanctuary for animals rescued from troubled entertainment parks such as SeaWorld—which currently houses its remaining animals in concrete tanks and has reported several recent deaths of dolphins and whales due to disease and stress.
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