Parc Astérix announced Monday, January 25, the closure of its dolphinarium, which had eight dolphins, while the bill against animal abuse aimed at prohibiting the detention of cetaceans is to be debated in the National Assembly the next day.
In a press release, the dolphinarium of the famous amusement park located in the Oise, dating from 1989, specifies that this “Decision to close is based on the desire to concentrate on its historical activity of amusement park”.
“We’ve been thinking about it for years. I would even say that the decision was taken three years ago ”, said Monday to Parisian the director general of the park, Nicolas Kremer. “Parc Astérix is above all an amusement park, not an animal park, he continued. We want to refocus on what is our core business. “
Tuesday will begin at the National Assembly the examination in first reading of the proposed law against animal abuse. This text provides in particular that the detention and reproduction of cetaceans in captivity be prohibited, as well as their participation in shows. In France, three establishments have them: Parc Astérix, Planète Sauvage, Marineland.
An “impossible” reintroduction into the natural environment
The eight dolphins of Parc Asterix will be “Transferred during the first quarter of 2021 to dolphinariums among the 27 Europeans recognized by scientific and governmental bodies, meeting the best animal welfare criteria set out by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums [EAZA] and respecting the requirements of the European Association of Aquatic Mammals [EAAM], as to the correct genetic mix ”, said the park owned by the Compagnie des Alpes group.
He points out that“After studying the options and in the light of our numerous exchanges with scientific experts and competent veterinarians, it appeared that no site or reintroduction program offered the required guarantees” for dolphins born in pools or living there for nearly thirty years. “By their age, their mostly captive origin and the geographical distance from their original populations, these dolphins could not be considered as animals that could be the subject of a reintroduction program offering all the certainties as to their safety. “, continues the Parc Astérix.
For Nicolas Kremer, “This is the solution that appeared to be the best to ensure them good living conditions. Reintroduction into the natural environment is impossible for these animals bred in captivity. The marine sanctuaries are only at the planning stage », he told the Parisian, specifying that “50% of visitors” came to see the show with the dolphins.
Towards the end of the captivity of wild animals
The announcement sounds like a victory for the associations and non-governmental organizations that defend the animal cause and campaign for the end of captivity for wild animals. “One more step towards the end of cetacean captivity”, greeted, on Twitter, the Animal Law Foundation, while considering that “Transfer to other dolphinariums” was not ” not satisfying “.
In September 2020, the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, announced a series of measures on wildlife held in captivity: the gradual end of wild animals in traveling circuses and shows with killer whales and dolphins and, prohibition, of here at five years, breeding American mink for their fur. The minister had set a horizon of two years for the end of the activity of the four orcas and seven to ten years for the dolphins distributed in the various French amusement parks.
Closed due to restrictions linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, the park – which welcomes more than two million visitors a year – has scheduled its reopening for April 3.