Ripley, a bottlenose dolphin at the Indy Zoo, has died. Information reported to CetaBase.org confirms that she died this past December 21st.
We mourn Ripley’s death and also the life that was stolen from her. She was captured and taken from her family in the Gulf of Mexico in 1988 when she was approximately 3 years old. She spent most of her life living at the Indy Zoo. During her nearly 30 years in captivity, she gave birth to 6 baby dolphins, 5 of which died as infants, and had two miscarriages. Rather than swimming free in the ocean with her family, she spent endless hours in total boredom in a small holding tank. Mixed in with this never-ending monotony, she was taught to do tricks for food and perform in shows; her once magnificent and free life reduced to having babies and doing tricks for curious onlookers.
Concerned Hoosiers have been asking the Indy Zoo for many years to retire these dolphins to a seaside sanctuary. They may not be able to recapture the freedom they deserve, but they should be allowed to feel the ebb and flow of the ocean, while having more space and not being forced to perform. There is a model for this – the National Aquarium in Baltimore has already taken the lead by committing to move their dolphins to a sanctuary. Other countries are also banning the captivity of dolphins and whales. Even Sea World has ended their orca shows and breeding which made them so famous.
The 9 remaining dolphins at the Indy Zoo continue to live in a small tank, deprived of everything that comes natural to them. At very least, the Zoo must stop the failed breeding program that forces other dolphins to suffer the same fate. Of the 29 babies born there, 24 of them have died as infants. Yet the Indy Zoo continues to breed them to create the next generation of performers. It has nothing to do with conservation. Bottlenose dolphins are not endangered and there is no reason they should be wasting away in a tank in the middle of Indiana.
In the 56 days since Ripley’s death, we can’t find anyplace the Indy Zoo has reported this publicly. They have 48 posts on their Facebook page since that time, but not one mention of Ripley. In fact, on the day Ripley died they were posting about “spunky” baby orangutans. The dark side of animals in captivity is always well hidden by those who stand to profit from that captivity.
Rest in peace Ripley, may you finally swim free once again.
For more on the Indy Zoo’s history with dolphins, visit www.ZooBlues.info
As a grassroots group funded completely by local donors, there are always things we need to continue to grow and fulfill out goal of helping more animals. We try to put our cash donations directly into helping animals, so donations like the ones below help us in other ways. Please share with anyone you think could offer any of these services or products.
Please contact us at INanimalrights@gmail.com
Graphic designers – We have several events coming up this year we need graphic design help with. Some examples of possible projects include:
- Signs and banners for demonstrations
- T-shirt design
- Ads or billboards
- Website or social media ads/memes/etc
Storage unit – Our collection of signs, banners, leaflets and other various boxes of materials and supplies has grown to point we really need a storage unit to keep it in. Ideally this would be at a self-storage facility somewhere in Indianapolis. If you know someone who owns a self-storage facility and would like to donate the space, please contact us. We are a 501c3, so they may be able to use the donation as a tax deduction.
Legal assistance – Occasionally we seek legal opinions on various issues and would benefit from additional help in this area if anyone is willing to donate a couple of hours per month.
iPads/computers – We use multiple screens at the same time during our Pay Per View events where we pay people $1 to watch a 4-minute video about where their food comes from. Have a few on hand would help eliminate downtime as volunteers switch out screens as they come and go.
Projector – It would be very helpful to have a high quality projector, capable of showing HD movies to large groups. We have been very lucky in the past to borrow projectors and we have considered purchasing one. But if anyone has one they could donate, please contact us.