The Life Aquatic The National Aquarium announces a new dolphin sanctuary.

Maya, a female Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin at The National Aquarium | September 2, 2015Maya, a female Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin at The National Aquarium. (Courtesy of National Aquarium)

In a landmark move, the National Aquarium recently announced their intention to relocate its dolphin population to a sanctuary by 2020. The dolphins, which had previously been held in tanks and used in shows, will be moved to an as-yet-undecided location.

“The National Aquarium has been exploring this option for about 5 years. In the sanctuary, the dolphins will have the same high level of care that they currently receive at the National Aquarium. The location of the dolphins’ new sanctuary is yet to be determined, as the aquarium would like to provide a well-suited environment for these aquatic mammals,” said John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium.

The Aquarium plans to accommodate the dolphins by mirroring their natural habitat, which is a tropical or subtropical location, as well as providing them with natural seawater. They plan to tend to the dolphins’ needs by providing natural stimuli, customized care and a continued connection between Baltimore and the dolphins’ new home. On-site care will include a veterinarian, marine mammal specialists and pools that will provide the dolphins with what they need to flourish in this environment.

NA Dolphin Sanctuary rendering (1)
Artist’s rendering of the sanctuary, c/o Studio Gang.

“Dolphins thrive with opportunities to express natural behaviors in the most realistic setting possible. Our vision is to create an outdoor facility where the dolphins will swim in natural sea water, with a vegetated shoreline, in a flexible habitat configuration,”  said Racanelli.

As the National Aquarium is a non-profit organization, the funding for the sanctuary will be provided strictly through donations—though, because the sanctuary’s location has not yet been decided, the cost of the project will be variable until the details are determined.

For more information or to learn how to donate, click HERE.

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