Two dolphins swimming underwater

Dolphin Sanctuary

A BLUEprint Priority Project

When the National Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Pavilion debuted in 1991, it became a model for dolphins in human care. More than 25 years later, we now know far more about the unique needs of dolphins. In appreciation of their intellect and resilience, we continue to evolve our care to best suit their needs. Our future goal for these animals is to maintain the highest standards of health and welfare, while creating a more natural, ocean water sanctuary in which they can thrive.

 

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Reimagining the Future

 

 

A Family Like No Other

Today, the marine mammal team is customizing the moving and acclimation plan for the colony. Through the introduction of new stimuli, individualized training plans and comprehensive situation analysis and consultation, we are methodically building the ability of each dolphin to take this journey. Throughout this process their enduring welfare remains our top priority.


A Momentous Decision

Over the years, our understanding of the needs of our Atlantic bottlenose dolphin colony has evolved significantly, and it is through this informed lens that we now look beyond our facility to provide them with the best possible lives.


By establishing North America’s first dolphin sanctuary, we’re creating a new option for these intelligent marine mammals to thrive under human care.

The dolphins in our care have consistently demonstrated keen intellect, curiosity and adaptability. In the spirit of all they have taught us, we believe we have developed the best possible plan for their ongoing welfare.

The day to implement these plans is upon us.


A Closer Look

We plan to move our colony of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to a natural, seawater sanctuary in 2020. Our site selection team is currently exploring a variety of sites in tropical and subtropical locations where wild dolphins thrive.


The ideal sanctuary location will include water of varying depths, natural vegetation and a flexible configuration.

The marine mammal team is currently customizing the moving and acclimation plan for the colony.

Our staff and a team of expert consultants have visited more than 20 potential sanctuary sites.




How You Can Help

Animal_Rescue_Program

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Talk to our team and learn how you can make a difference.

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Your support will help set the standard for animal care.

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Our BLUEprint Plan

Our vision for the National Aquarium of the 21st century.

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