Since 1993, Daniel Rolke, who is founder of The Animal Rights Alliance in Sweden, has worked tirelessly to expose the plight of the dolphins at Kolmården Zoo in Sweden. The zoo, which is the largest in Scandinavia, is located on the southern Swedish east coast about 25 kilometres northeast of Norrköping.
The dolphins are confined in indoor chlorinated tanks all year round, and at least 60 dolphins have died there since the dolphin exhibit, named Marine World, opened in 1969. Daniel Rolke wrote to us to let us know that the dolphinarium is finally closing. Ric and I met Daniel in 2014 when he invited us to participate in a peaceful protest in front of the zoo, urging zoo managers to reconsider its position on dolphin captivity. At the time, zoo officials did not give us much hope that the captive breeding of dolphins would ever stop, but thankfully, we can now say that Kolmården Zoo has made the decision to put an end to its dolphin exhibit, and we thank them for that.
“For Kolmården Zoo to make the decision to close down the dolphinarium is a huge victory for me personally. I started this campaign when I was a teenager, and now I’m turning 45. So one might say it’s about time. Now I hope we can find a solution for the remaining twelve dolphins so that they may spend the remainder of their lives with some quality and dignity.” ~ Daniel Rolke
According to a Swedish news piece released on March 9, 2022, Kolmården Zoo’s decision to eliminate the dolphin exhibit is based on an effort to focus its attention on endangered animal species. Kolmården Zoo currently has 12 dolphins on display. Two of them were captured in Cuba and the United States during the 1980s. The remaining ten dolphins were born in captivity, either at Kolmården Zoo or at a dolphinarium abroad. (The dolphin that was originally captured from Cuba was sent to Kolmården Zoo from the now closed dolphinarium at Parc Asterix, France, in January of 2021. He arrived at Kolmården Zoo with another dolphin that was born in captivity in 1984 and originally came from SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.)
According to a spokesperson at the zoo, three of the dolphins are 37, 39, and 40 years old. The remaining dolphins are between three and 25 years old. It is not known at this point what their future will look like. Finding new homes for them is expected to take a while.
With Kolmården’s decision, the Nordic countries will finally become dolphinaria-free.