Let's help keep the sharks, seals & rays safe and free by introducing a sanctuary

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We propose the introduction of a shark, seal and ray sanctuary at Deep Sea World Edinburgh.

The sharks in tanks at marine parks around the world have been reported to have scoliosis, skin problems from poor water or sediment quality, and unhealthy or abnormal swim patterns and postures

Sharks are keen on detecting vibrations, scents, sounds, and even electrical currents in the water. The captive environment which is often surrounded by noisy tourists, may confuse these senses. Additionally, many sharks experience a strong instinct to migrate or travel long distances. This need to travel cannot be met in captivity. In fact, many of the tanks are over crowded and excessively small which may lead to unnatural fin curling.

Rays are close cousins to sharks and are one of the most popular animals to be found in bare, algae covered touch tanks. Unfortunately, these touch tanks are designed around the tourist’s convenience, NOT the animal’s comfort. Rays enjoy hiding in the sandy sea bottom, but in touch tanks, they are not usually allowed this simple right. In fact, they are not given room to escape the grasping, germ-ridden hands of tourists at all. As a result, many of them may be lifted out of the water, grabbed, or otherwise harmed. Like sharks, rays also have the ability to sense vibrations and electrical currents in the water. The splashing in touch tanks may be very bothersome to these animals who also suffer from skin problems and other captivity-related diseases.

Issues of seal welfare and well-being in Captivity

 Individuals in captivity cannot express their natural behavioral repertoire. They cannot engage with their environment or express their preferences. They cannot forage for food, may not be able to create social bonds of their choosing and ultimately cannot control their environment, which is considered to be a factor in the welfare of animals. Stereotypic behaviours, which are generally behaviours that are repeated over and over, are common in animals living in zoos. Pacing in terrestrial mammals, patterned swimming in circles in marine mammals, or head bobbing in and out of the water are all examples of stereotypies.

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