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End Dolphin Captivity in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian waters are home to several species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales). However, not all of Hawai‘i's cetaceans are living in their natural habitat. Two of the eight major Hawaiian Islands have facilities where these animals are confined to a life of captivity, offering marine mammal performances that prohibit their natural behavior. O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island currently have facilities that offer marine mammal performances, having chosen not to follow in Maui County’s footsteps -- Maui County, which includes the islands of Moloka‘i, Maui, Kaho‘olawe, and Lāna‘i, banned the exhibition of cetaceans in captivity in 2002. And larger governments have taken a stand as well: both New York state and South Carolina have passed legislation regarding marine mammal captivity, and at least 14 other countries have also banned such practices. From boat tours to hotel balconies, Hawai‘i offers visitors numerous opportunities to see dolphins in their natural habitat. It is unnecessary to isolate them from their marine environment and make them perform abnormal behaviors that ultimately provide inaccurate education. Please join me in asking Gov. David Ige to put an end to the captivity of dolphins and whales for human entertainment on the islands of Hawai‘i by putting a moratorium on further facilities and refusing to allow other parks to replace cetaceans that have passed away. Sea Life Park alone -- one of the unfortunate places where tourists can see cetaceans in captivity -- has had a host of deaths for various reasons. According to the National Marine Inventory Report (2013), deaths included malnutrition, food poisoning, debilitation, drowning, and failure to thrive. Dolphins and whales in captivity simply don’t fare well, and we should end this terrible practice. Cetaceans play a critical role in the ecosystem, and to remove them from it is a misrepresentation of their importance and of Hawaiian values. As Hawai‘i's state motto "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono" declares, the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. Restoring this imbalance in our ecosystem, education, and ethics is essential for this generation and those to come. Join me and let’s tell Gov. Ige “enough is enough.” Ask him to put an end to cetacean captivity in Hawai‘i.