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March 16, 2001

- Soure: WDCS
March 15, 2001

The travelling dolphin show company Waterland Mundo Marino is currently operating in Peru, displaying three bottlenose dolphins and two South American sea lions. WDCS and ACOREMA (WDCS-Peru) are calling for the show to end!

Traveling dolphin shows or dolphin circuses currently operate in Central and South America and in the Middle East. The mortality rate in these travelling dolphin shows is extremely high. During 1999, at least three bottlenose dolphins met their deaths while on display in a travelling fair in Mexico. These portable circus-style exhibitions continue to risk the lives of the animals involved due to dangerous transportation, inadequate holding facilities, lack of veterinary assistance and the difficulties of readapting to each new captive situation.

- The tragedy of Sherryl -

WDCS' report, The Dolphin Traders has documented the trade in bottlenose dolphins from the Black Sea over the last ten years. In the early 1990s, Sherryl, a female Black Sea bottlenose dolphin, was one of a total of 14 dolphins imported to Argentina. In June 1994, Sherryl was reportedly transferred to Waterland Mundo Marino in Colombia. Her transfer followed the death by Pasteruellosis of two other dolphins in a Buenos Aires swimming pool in which they were held.

Throughout 1996 and 1997, reports suggest that she travelled with Mundo Marino through Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. In September 1997, the United States National Marine Fisheries Service denied the show a permit to enter Puerto Rico, expressing its concerns over the stressful nature of travelling shows and risk of harm to the animals involved in multiple transportation.

Tragically, and in spite of the increased awareness of the problems associated with travelling dolphin shows, Sherryl died of heart failure in October 1997.

The current show ACOREMA reports that the current show operating in Peru arrived in early February 2001, displaying three bottlenose dolphins and two South American sea lions. ACOREMA has been informed that on the 21st February, the Peruvian Fisheries Ministry stated that the show's operation was illegal because the captive conditions the dolphins were being held under did not comply with Peruvian regulations.

The dolphins are being held in a 15 metre by 4 metre pool dug into the ground, covered with plastic and filled with tap water mixed with salt and chlorine. Peruvian dolphin conservation groups including ACOREMA, Prodelphinus and CEPEC are calling for this show to leave Peru and this time forever.

Please support these groups and WDCS' work to end travelling shows around the world by writing to the Minister of Fisheries, Dr Ludwig Meier Cornejo. Politely state your concerns about travelling shows displaying dolphins and ask for the closure of the Mundo Marino show.

Please send your letters to:

  • WDCS at Alexander House
    James Street West, Bath
    BA1 2BT, United Kingdom
    Fax number: + 44 1225 334 511
    E-mail: so we can forward them on.

    Many thanks for your help and our very best wishes!

    All of us here at WDCS

    - February 27, 2001

    Please pass this on as widely as possible.

    The battle to close the infamous portable dolphin display, Water Land, or Mundo Marino, now in Lima. Peru, has been frustrating to some of us.  If you dedicated your valuable time to writing a fax or email to all the recipients mentioned in the first alert, you had enough to do without facing any problems. But many of us have had problems, with fax reception or returned emails. This almost always happens with big, international alerts.

    DON'T QUIT! The first response in Peru to our effort has been excellent. The media loves the story.  The government doesn't like the embarrassment. The dolphin owners don't like the publicity.

    Emails can bounce back; who know why. Send them again. The following fax numbers have been confirmed as DIFFERENT from the original alert. These four media resources must hear from us. It is worth the effort to resend your faxes to the corrected numbers. The dolphins need it. I had problems with two government faxes, but all the numbers are confirmed as correct. Perhaps it's their fax machines. Try again. I did.

    Panamericana Televisión (advertiser of Waterland)
    Productor: Renato Canales
    Journalist: Pamela Vertiz
    Fax: 51-1-411.33.09

    Newspaper 'Ojo'
    Director: Francisco Tamayo Angeles
    Head of informacion: Luis Revoredo
    Fax: 51-1-476.16.05

    Newspaper 'El Peruano'
    Director: Manuel Jesús Orbegoso

    Head of cultural section: Carlos Batalla
    Fax: 51-1-425.00.51

    Radio Programas del Perú
    Director of informacion: José María Salcedo
    Fax: 51-1-215.02.10

    Also try email. It is not as effective as faxes, but it does work. Please remember to put your name and address at the TOP of your email message so they immediately know what country you are from. This is a worldwide alert. Make them accept that it is a worldwide concern.

    Many, many thanks,

    - February 26, 2001

    In this email is the information we need to help close the infamous travelling dolphin circus, Water Land, Mundo Marino, now in Lima, Peru. Please join Marie-Françoise Van Bressem, Julio Reyes, and other Peruvian activists fighting this most terrible portable dolphin display.

    Please spread this alert and write letters yourself. This alert has four sections, below: First is a brief history of Mundo Marino, in case you are not convinced this alert is worth every bit of time you can find.

    Second is a list of officials and media in Peru that need to know you are concerned. Third is a letter text in Spanish. Fourth is the same letter text in English. If you can write in Spanish please make your own letter. If you cannot, please cut and paste this text into a letter format, put in your personal or organization contact information, and address it to the people below. Yes, such a form letter has less impact, but it is necessary to get the facts to these people by as many of us as possible, in Spanish.

    For more information contact:

  • Marie-Françoise Van Bressem, DVM, PhD,
    Asociación PRODELPHINUS, E-mail:
    Fax: 51-1-221.90.08.

    If you want a recent local newspaper article condemning Mundo Marino (in Spanish), please contact Rossiter, address below.

    Thank you,
    William W. Rossiter
    President, Cetacean Society International,
    P.O.Box 953,
    Georgetown, CT 06829 USA,
    ph/fx 203-431-1606
    E-mail: for complete Latin American captivity report or help, and for Mexican captivity report.

    FIRST: A brief history of Mundo Marino, from Lic. Hugo Castello's 1997 report "Captive Cetaceans in South America" (full report available from CSI):

    "CHERYL and Mundo Marino, Colombia traveling display" "Cheryl was a Russian bottlenose dolphin abandoned at a Buenos Aires swimming pool in August 1993. By decision of Argentine Federal Judge, Omar Fasciuto, she was transferred 1 July 1994 to the custody of "Mundo Marino " in Columbia.

    Cheryl's two companion dolphins had died of Pasteurellosis during July 1993. Another nine Russian bottlenose dolphins died in Argentina and Chile between 1991 and 1993 due to terrible housing conditions, bad management, lack of experience, fresh water, veterinarians without training in marine mammals, etc.

    There is a lack of information of what happened with Cheryl between 1994 and 1996; she may have lived in the swimming pool of a Colombian narcotics dealer. More recently Cheryl surfaced after traveling with Mundo Marino through Panama (Feb/March 96); Costa Rica (March/May 96); Nicaragua (May/June 96); El Salvador( June/August 96); Guatemala (August/September 96); Honduras (Sept./ Nov.96); Dominican Republic (Nov./96-May 97); and Jamaica (May/August 97). Her companion was Bilin, a Cuban bottlenose dolphin, that Mr. Nelson Castro, his owner, alleges was donated by the Cuban government.

    It is well known that Cuba sponsors traveling dolphin public displays throughout Pacific coast countries such as Peru and Chile, with the sponsorship of the Acuario Nacional de la Habana. It has had seemed that Cuba had the policy of selling their trained dolphins, or perhaps abandoning them when a show failed, but never donated dolphins to others. Great controversy was stirred up recently when Mr.Castro applied for a permit to enter Puerto Rico with Cheryl, Bilin and 3 South American sea-lions.

    It is probable that Mr.Castro prefers to present Bilin as a donation from the Cuban government in order to circumvent the trade embargo that prevents any Cuban product from getting into United States territory. After being refused entry into Puerto Rico the Mundo Marino show became Divers Land, part of an amusement park on the island of Margarita,  Venezuela. Sheryll died Oct. 29, reportedly from heart failure caused by extreme stress. The names of the remaining dolphins were changed to Flipper and Sissy."


  • Ministry of Fisheries:
    Minister: Dr Ludwig Meier Cornejo,
    Calle 1, Oeste s/n, Urb. Corpac, Lima 27
    Fax : 51-1-224.32.37

  • Assessors of the Minister (same address and fax number) Dr Roberto Vidaurre Vergonzini

  • Sr J. Cayo Mata:

    Ing. Jorge Vertiz Calderon:

  • Briseida Bocanegra:

    Jockey Plaza Shopping Center (place where WaterLand is based in Lima)
    Sr. Gonzalo Ansola
    Fax: 51-1-437.30.49

  • Empresa Show S.A. (company which organized the coming and stay of WaterLand in Lima)
    Sr Jorge Fernandez (manager)
    Fax: 51-1-442.02.24

  • Supermaket Wong (advertiser of WaterLand)
    Sr Regis Garcia
    Fax : 51-1-242.89.86

  • Corporación Radial del Perú (advertiser of Waterland)
    Justo Pastor Davila
    197 Chorillos
    Sr Kenzo Shinsato, Dept. Marketing
    Fax: 51-1-251.33.24

    Newspaper 'El Comercio' (advertiser of Waterland)
    Director: Alejandro Miro Quesada Cisneros
    Subdirector: Eduardo Carbajal
    Arenas Head of cultural section:
    Elvira de Gálvez
    Fax: 51-1-426.08.10 and 51-1-427.29.91

    Panamericana Televisión (advertiser of Waterland)
    Productor: Renato Canales
    Journalist: Pamela Vertiz
    Fax: 51-1-433.47.87

    Newspaper 'La República'
    Director: Gustavo Mohme Seminario
    Editor General: Carlos Castro
    Fax: 51-1-426.56.78

    Newspaper 'Ojo'
    Director: Francisco Tamayo Angeles
    Head of informacion: Luis Revoredo
    Fax: 51-1-224.77.17

    Newspaper 'El Peruano'
    Director: Manuel Jesús Orbegoso
    Head of cultural section: Carlos Batalla Fax: 51-1-330.36.49 and 51-1-424.95.07

    Weekly journal 'Caretas'
    Head of Edition: Marco Zileri
    Fax: 51-1-426.25.24

    Radio Programas del Perú
    Director of informacion: José María Salcedo
    Fax: 51-1-433.87.70

    Television Canal N
    Director: Gilberto Hume
    Fax: 51-1-241.21.27

    TV Frecuencia Latina
    Director: Baruch Ivcher
    Fax: 51-1-265.66.60

    TV Red Global
    Journalist: César Hildebrandt
    Fax: 51-1-423.82.02 and 51-1-423.24.40

    THIRD: Basic response letter, in Spanish
    De nuestra mayor consideración: Tenemos conocimiento que el circo acuático Water Land-Mundo Marino se encuentra en Lima desde comienzos de Febrero del presente. Teniendo en cuenta nuestro interés en la conservación y protección de los delfines y otros mamíferos marinos, deseamos expresar nuestra profunda preocupación por la presencia de este tipo de espectáculos en el Perú.

    Water Land-Mundo Marino tiene una muy mala reputación, especialmente debido a su tratamiento cruel a los delfines y lobos amrinos que exhibe. Por ejemplo, "Cheryl", uno de los delfines de este circo murió de estrés en Octubre de  1997 después de haber viajado por siete países entre Febrero de 1996 y Agosto de 1997.. Los delfines son criaturas silvestres, sociales, inteligentes y altamente complejas, que se desarrollan en un mundo de sonidos. El cautiverio los separa permanentemente los tres factores más importantes de sus vidas: sus grupos familiares, su mundo de sonidos y su habilidad de nadar libremente. Las condiciones en las que se mantienen a los delfines en estos circos itinerantes son terribles: la poza es basicamente un hoyo excavado en el suelo, cubierto con plásticos y lleno de agua potable mezclada con sal y cloro. El cloro es un desinfectante que a la larga resulta tóxico para los animales, les causa ceguera y eventualmente la muerte. Además, debido a la naturaleza itinerante del espectáculo los delfines y lobos marinos viajan contantemente, por lo que se les administra sedantes para poder transportarlos. Algunos animales han muerto debido a este tipo de tratamiento con sedantes. El transporte también produce fracturas, lesiones de la piel e hipertermia. Por estas razones, los espectáculos itinerantes con mamíferos marinos son calificados internacionalmente como un ipo de maltrato animal. Países como Brasil, Puerto Rico, Argentina y recientemente Chile han prohibido la entrada de estos espectáculos en sus territorios.

    Los circos marinos aducen que juegan un rol en la educación del público al fomentar su aprecio por el ambiente marino. Esto no es cierto. Básicamente, el único mensaje que estos espectáculos transmiten a los niños y adultos es que "abusar de la naturaleza es correcto". Los saltos y las burdas imitaciones de comportamientos humanos son el eje central de las exhibiciones, y con ellos distorsionan la comprensión del medio marino por parte del público. La naturaleza compleja de las vidas de ballenas y delfines no puede ser mostrada en una poza.

    Al lado de los aspectos culturales y éticos, la presencia de Waterland - Mundo Marino requiere de una exhaustiva revisión por parte de las autoridades peruanas de la documentación CITES, especialmente si los permisos de exportación/importación de cada animal transportado por Water Land-Mundo Marino corresponde con el código respectivo. El objetivo del transporte a Perú debe ser el mismo en los permisos de exportación e importación. Si se indica que los animales  han nacido en cautiverio, esta información debe estar documentada. Si esta información no es proporcionada, es muy probable que los delfines ahayn sido capturados, vendidos o transportados ilegalmente.

    Esperamos que usted considere nuestros argumentos y que el Perú será el siguiente en la lista de países que han tomado la ética decisión de prohibir definitivamente este tipo de espectáculos en su territorio.

    FOURTH: Basic response letter in English:
    Dear Sir, Madam,

    We have been informed that the marine circus 'Water Land' has been in Lima since the beginning of February. Considering our interest in the conservation and protection of cetaceans and other marine mammals, we would like to manifest our concern about the presence of this marine show in your country.

    Water Land has a very bad reputation, especially because of its cruel treatment of dolphins and sea lions. For example 'Cheryl', one the dolphins of this circus, died of stress in October 1997 after having been transported inhumanely to seven countries between February 1996 and August 1997.

    Dolphins are free ranging, social, intelligent, acoustical, and highly complex wild creatures. Captivity permanently separates them from the three most important aspects of their lives: their family pods, their world of sound, and their ability to swim freely. The conditions under which dolphins are kept in itinerant circus are terrible: the pool is simply a hole dug in the ground, filled with tap water, and mixed with salt and chlorine. Chlorine is a venom that slowly poisons the animals, causes blindness and, eventually, death. In addition, because of the nomadic nature of the marine-show the dolphins and sea lions are transported frequently, and must be sedated. Some animals have died from sedation. Transport may also cause fractures, skin lesions and hyperthermia. For these reasons, itinerant marine mammal shows are qualified internationally as a form of animal ill treatment. Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chile and Argentina prohibit such shows into their territories.

    Marine shows may claim that they are playing a role in educating people to appreciate the marine environment. This is not true. The only, and completely wrong message that these shows give to children and adults is "abusing nature is correct". "Jumping" and "splashing" are the main features of these exhibitions, distorting the public's understanding of the marine environment. The complex nature of the lives of whales and dolphins cannot possibly be demonstrated in a tank.

    Besides the ethical and cultural aspects, the presence of Water Land in Peru also potentially represents a violation of international treaties on the protection of environment. The dolphins of Water Land were most likely purchased in Cuba, a non-CITES nation which escapes international laws on the protection of the environment and is, at the present time, the principal source of dolphins for an illegal life-capture industry wishing to avoid to have to deal with CITES permits. As Peru is a member of CITES, we recommend that the relevant authorities check if the CITES export and import permits of each animal of WaterLand have been provided and correspond to the codes of the animals. The objective of the transport to Peru should be the same on the export and import permits. There must also be documentation that the dolphins were born in captivity. Unless such information is provided, chances that the dolphins have been caught, sold or transported illegally are very high.

    We hope that you will consider our arguments and that Peru will soon follow other countries and prohibit the entry of such marine shows in its territory.

    Sincerely yours,