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- May 25, 2001

gary

- Gary

EDMONTON -- One of the West Edmonton Mall's performing dolphins died on the weekend -- the second dolphin to die there in less than a year. And the giant mall has no plans to replace him.

"Today, in this day and age, are we going to go out and capture more dolphins and bring them into captivity? No," mall spokesman Travis Reynolds said.

Animal rights advocates have said it's time for the mall to let its remaining two performers retire from the tank that opened in 1985.

"But there are no release programs in the world for dolphins that have ever worked," Reynolds said. "So are we about to use our dolphins for an experiment? Absolutely not."

Gary, a three-metre, 207-kilo Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, died Saturday at age 20, he said. Gary was the dominant male and the only one that could perform a backwards tail walk.

"He'd taken ill a few days previous, but in the dolphin world this happens, just like humans," Reynolds said. "It looks like he wasn't able to fight this one off. It was definitely a surprise."

An autopsy was conducted Saturday. Samples are being sent to a lab in the United States, so results won't be back for at least a month, Reynolds said. He said results of the last autopsy, on 19-year-old Maria last August, were inconclusive.

The average lifespan for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins is between 17 and 22 years, the mall said. The mall cancelled its dolphin shows Sunday and yesterday while trainers monitored the remaining dolphins.


Dolphin Dies At West Edmonton Mall!!
- August 9, 2000

Maria, a 19 year old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, died at the West Edmonton Mall (WEM) today. According to WEM spokesperson Travis Reynolds, Maria died during the early morning from "undetermined causes".

He also said she suffered from ongoing "health issues" and that an autopsy will be conducted in the hope of providing more information. According to Brian McHattie of Zoocheck Canada, "The death of Maria clearly demonstrates that dolphins are not good candidates for captivity. Bottlenose dolphins have been known to live into their forties. If, as aquariums claim, they provide their animals with a safe, suitable, healthy environment, free   from the hazards they'd encounter in the wild, then why do so few of them survive to the upper range of their potential lifespan."

The WEM has been heavily criticized for a number of years by animal protection organizations who claim the dolphin facility is grossly undersized and poor quality, and for the dolphin "performances" that are used to entertain shoppers and mall visitors. Maria was one of four dolphins taken from the wild in the Charlotte Harbour, Florida region of the Gulf of Mexico in 1985 and shipped to the WEM.

According to the National Post, WEM Manager Gary Hanson has stated that the dolphins will not be replaced once they die. "I have to give credit to the WEM for promising not to replace the dolphins. It's the responsible course of action," said Rob Laidlaw of Zoocheck.


West Edmonton Dolphins Need Our Help!!

- August 4, 2000

PHONE CALLS, LETTERS, FAXES AND E-MAILS needed to speak out against captive dolphins in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Four dolphins have been kept in a shopping centre for 15 YEARS!!!!

To all it may concern,

FREE THE EDMONTON MALL DOLPHINS -WELCOME HOME CAMPAIGN (FTEMDC) is asking all concerned people to target and inundate West Edmonton Mall with messages.  Background to the issue is below.  Please DON'T leave it for someone else to do.

FTEMDC is seeking to get the Mall owners to release the dolphins and to enter into negotiations with us to retire four dolphins from captivity (see below). West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world and is a major tourist attraction in Edmonton. Please forward any messages you receive from any of the people listed below directly to me, Alan Cooper, at cetaceadefence@hotmail.com :

Mark Brown, Director of Sales
West Edmonton Mall
#2472, 8882 - 170 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5T 4M2
mbrown@westedmontonmall.com
Tel:  (add your country code) 780-444-5308
Fax:  780-444-5266

Gary Hanson, General Manager
West Edmonton Mall
#2472, 8882 - 170 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5T 4M2
gm@westedmontonmall.com
Tel:  780-444-5200
Fax:  780-444-5223

Travis Reynolds, Attractions Marketting Manager
West Edmonton Mall
#2472, 8882 - 170 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5T 4M2
treynolds@westedmontonmall.com
Tel:  780-444-5200
Fax:  780-444-5223

You can also tell the Mayor of Edmonton, Bill Smith, and Alberta Tourism that you do not intend to visit the Mall or Edmonton until steps are taken to free the West Edmonton Mall dolphins:

Office of The Mayor
2nd Floor, City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5J 2R7
bill.smith@gov.edmonton.ab.ca
Tel:  780-496-8100
Fax: 780-496-8292

Alberta Tourism
1-800-661-8888

AUGUST 8TH will be set aside for a day of phone calls and faxes to Alberta Tourism, The Mayor of Edmonton, and the Mall itself.  Please participate in helping us to finally free these long-term prisoners of West Edmonton Mall!

FREE THE EDMONTON MALL DOLPHINS-WELCOME HOME CAMPAIGN DOLPHINS IN A SHOPPING CENTRE FOR 15 YEARS!

In 1985, 4 dolphins swimming freely in Charlotte Harbour off the coast of Florida, were captured by Jay Sweeney and sold to West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. Another 3 dolphins are recorded by the US authority National Marine Fisheries Service as having been killed during the capture operation. The 4 survivors, known by their human 'masters' as Gary, Howard, Mavis and Maria have involuntarily entertained humans ever since.  At the time of capture, their estimated age was between 2-4 years, possibly still suckling their mother's milk.

There are numerous welfare problems associated with these captive dolphins:

  • They live in a small, featureless, concrete tank.
  • Both females have given birth twice, all 4 calves died at birth or shortly afterwards.
  • Lack of supervision results in coins and other garbage being thrown into the pool by thoughtless people, and ingested by the dolphins. This requires the dolphins to be medically examined and x-rayed on a regular basis.
  • The water in their pool is highly chlorinated causing skin and eye problems.
  • The dolphins are forced to perform on demand in shows 4 times daily, using "positive re-enforcement" (extra food) - if they do not obey, they are denied food.
  • The dolphins are unable to follow basic instincts such as foraging, and their diet consists of previously frozen fish and vitamins.
  • Use of the dolphin's primary function is denied - the ability to use echo-location.  This is essential for well-being, travel, foraging and communication, all of which are impossible in these confined conditions.
  • The dolphins show signs of stress due to their captivity, such as repetitive behavior and injury from pool companions.

    Free The Edmonton Mall Dolphins-Welcome Home Campaign (FTEMDC) is seeking a belated justice for Gary, Howard, Mavis and Maria. Before they die in the mall, we want to retire them to a natural sea pen or if the dolphins prove suitable, then we would favour a program of complete release. The rehabilitation plan is similar to other projects which have given freedom and dignity back to other captive dolphins.

    If you would like to help further, send financial contributions or obtain more information, please contact:

    Voice for Animals
    Box 68119
    162 Bonnie Doon Mall
    Edmonton, Alberta
    T6C 4N6
    or:
    Cetacea Defence
    PO Box 78
    Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK
    cetaceadefence@hotmail


    - The West Edmonton Mall Dolphins -
    Dolphins In A Mall For 15 years!

    In 1985, 4 dolphins swimming freely in Charlotte Harbour off the coast of Florida, were captured by Jay Sweeney and sold to West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. Another 3 dolphins are recorded by the US authority National Marine Fisheries Service, as having been killed by the capture operation. The 4 survivors, known by their human masters as Gary, Howard, Mavis and Maria have involuntarily entertained humans ever since. At the time of capture, their estimated age was between 2-4 years, possibly still suckling their mother's milk.

    There are numerous welfare problems associated with these captive dolphins:
    * They live in a small, featureless, concrete tank.
    * Both females have given birth twice, all 4 calves died at birth or shortly afterwards.
    *Lack of supervision results in coins and other garbage being thrown into the pool by thoughtless people, and ingested by the dolphins. This requires the dolphins to be medically examined and x-rayed on a regular basis.
    * The water in their pool is highly chlorinated water
    *skin and eye problems.
    * The dolphins are forced to perform to demand in shows 4 times daily, using "positive re-enforcementE(extra food), if they do not obey, they are denied food.
    * The dolphins are unable to follow basic instincts such as foraging, their diet consists of previously frozen fish and vitamins.
    *Use of the dolphin's primary function is denied the ability to use echo-location, this is essential for well-being, travel, foraging and communication, all of which is impossible in these confined conditions.
    * The dolphins show signs of stress due to their captivity, such as repetitive behavior and injury from pool companions.

    Free The Edmonton Mall Dolphins-Welcome Home Campaign is seeking a belated justice for Gary, Howard, Mavis and Maria. Before they die in the mall, we want to retire them to a natural sea pen or if the dolphins prove suitable, then we would favour a program of complete release. The rehabilitation plan is similar to other projects, which have given freedom and dignity back to other captive dolphins.

    West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world and is a major tourist attraction in Edmonton.. Please write to:
    West Edmonton Mall, #2472,
    8882-170 Street,
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5T 4M2

    Or E-mail:
    tourism@westedmontonmall.com
    and General Manager, Gary Hanson
    gm@westedmontonmall.com

    You can also tell the Mayor of Edmonton, Bill Smith, that you do not intend to visit the Mall or Edmonton:
    Office of The Mayor,
    2nd Floor, City Hall,
    1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,T5J 2R7.

    If you would like to help further, send financial contributions or obtain more information, please contact:
    Voice for Animals
    Box 68119
    162 Bonnie Doon Mall
    Edmonton, Alberta T6C 4N6

    Or Cetacea Defence
    PO Box 78
    Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK.
    cetaceadefence@hotmail.com