The company shared in a statement, any commercial facility that either breeds or imports whales, dolphins, and porpoises, (known as cetaceans) for public display will be banned from sale on TripAdvisor and Viator. All products currently on sale and found to breach the new rules will be removed by the end of 2019.
TripAdvisor came to this decision after consulting with a range of experts. That range included marine biologists, zoologists, and conservationists.
“The extensive evidence presented to us by the experts was compelling. Whales and dolphins do not thrive in limited captive environments, and we hope to see a future where they live as they should - free and in the wild,” Dermot Halpin, President, TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals, shared in a statement. “We believe the current generation of whales and dolphins in captivity should be the last, and we look forward to seeing this position adopted more widely throughout the travel industry.”
Conservation groups and activists couldn’t be more pleased with the decision.
“TripAdvisor is on the right side of history,” Dr. Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute, said in a statement. “Whales and dolphins cannot thrive in captivity and enlightened tourists no longer tolerate exploiting these intelligent and socially complex marine predators for human entertainment.”
According to The Guardian, this means that tickets will no longer be offered for parks like SeaWorld and Loro Park in Spain.
TripAdvisor noted there is one caveat: The policy will not apply to sanctuaries that provide care to cetaceans already in captivity. The new policy also includes stipulations aimed at “protecting the needs, safety and health of cetaceans currently in captivity, too.”
“Our aim is not only to prevent future generations of whales and dolphins from being raised in captivity but also to encourage the industry to move towards alternative models, like seaside sanctuaries, that will better provide for the needs of the current captive population,” Halpin added. “Seaside sanctuaries have enormous potential, but they need more backing from the tourism industry. As long as facilities with captive whales and dolphins continue to profit from keeping these animals in smaller, cheaper and less natural living environments, then they don’t have enough incentive to adopt serious change. We hope our announcement today can help turn the tide.”