Elena Sheppard
June 15, 2016 2:57 pm
Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images

We’ve all watched Blackfish and felt the rage that movie ignited. Many of us have also signed petitions to end breeding programs, and SeaWorld shows, and all the less-than morally sound animal practices going on in the name of entertainment.

Now, we finally have some really positive news in this realm: The eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Baltimore’s National Aquarium will be freed to an ocean sanctuary. We are so happy for them.

According to The New York Times, this transition will take a few years (it won’t be completed until 2020) but it will be the nation’s first dolphin reservation. While the dolphins in Baltimore stopped performing a few years back, they can still be watched in captivity. In their new sanctuary, they will continue to be cared for by humans (only one of the eight dolphins has ever lived in the ocean) but it will be a much more natural and stimulating environment. The location hasn’t been decided upon yet, but it will either be in Florida or the Caribbean.

Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images

Animal rights activists are celebrating this news. Lori Marino, the president of the Whale Sanctuary Project, told the New York Times, “We’re thrilled, and we think that this is really a breakthrough decision. This is going to improve the animals’ welfare enormously. It’s going to restore to them a little bit of what was denied them all these years, living as performers in an aquarium.”

John Racanelli, the National Aquarium CEO, said in a statement: “Although this decision is about our group of dolphins, it is every bit as much about our humanity; for the way a society treats the animals with whom it shares this planet speaks volumes about us.”

As for the dolphins — Nani, Jade, Spirit, Maya, Bayley, Chesapeake, Beau and Foster — we couldn’t be happier for them.

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