British comedian Ricky Gervais has thrown his support behind a local campaign to end dolphin captivity in Australia.
The multi Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe award winning comedian behind series such as The Office and Extras — and vocal animal rights activist — has backed the Stop Dolphin Captivity in Australia petition which was launched on line on Saturday and now has over 15,000 signatures.
“Dolphins are amazing animals deserving of our respect,” Gervais said in statement.
“The UK has phased out dolphin captivity — Australia, please do the same.”
The petition, created by Australia for Dolphins, calls on premier Mike Baird and Department of Primary Industries minister Niall Blair to end dolphin captivity in NSW.
The state contains one of only two entertainment parks in Australia which still keeps dolphins in captivity — Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour on the north coast.
The other is Sea World on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
In October a two-year-old dolphin — Ji-Ling — died at DMM, which plays heavily on its green credentials.
While the park’s management has refused to comment about what the dolphin died of, when quizzed by NSW Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi in the NSW Parliament last month, Mr Blair said the dolphin’s death was likely a result of ingesting leaf litter.
Ji-Ling was the youngest of six dolphins, including four males, kept in a pool that, by the DPI’s own standards, had been too small — until an inquiry it conducted in June deemed it big enough, without any evidence to support that claim.
The Australian revealed the pool, which was built in the early 2000s, was designed to be compliant for four dolphins at 1400m3.
Last week the RSPCA Australia also released a statement saying: “the dolphin marine magic
needs of cetaceans held in captivity cannot be met” and keeping them in captivity “could not be justified”.
“Dolphins are not endangered animals. Breeding them in captivity for entertainment purposes does not contribute to conservation,” AFD CEO Sarah Lucas said.
“The Australian Senate and the RSPCA agree: dolphins suffer in captivity. Despite this, Dolphin Marine Magic is allowed to breed dolphins like Ji-Ling into tiny, chlorinated tanks.
“This is why we, and all those signing the petition, are calling on Mr Baird and Mr Blair to put an end to it.”