This Elderly Dolphin Has Cancer – but Is Still Being Forced to Perform

Posted by on May 10, 2016 | Permalink

Bucky is currently being made to drag tourists around on his back, jump through hoops and offer “dolphin kisses” at an Australian marine park.

He is a 47-year-old bottlenose dolphin – the equivalent of around 80 in human years – who has been held captive at the Dolphin Magic Park in Australia since he was 6 months old. And despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2013, he still has to work every day, entertaining crowds of paying customers.

Being forced to perform demeaning circus shows day in and day out for decades is bad enough – but having to do it when old and sick is simply heartbreaking.

This is one more instance of a marine park showing just how little it cares for animals’ well-being. Recently at the same park, one of Bucky’s sons, a 1-year-old dolphin named Ji-Ling, died after consuming sticks, leaves and a piece of metal in one of the tanks. At other marine parks around the world, such as SeaWorld, there are many similar stories of animals who have died tragically young as a result of being kept in deeply unnatural conditions.

Dolphins are highly intelligent social animals who lead rich and complex lives in the wild and swim up to 50 miles a day. When they’re imprisoned in small chlorinated tanks, they suffer just as any human would if locked in a small enclosure for years on end.

Local groups such as Australia for Dolphins are working on the ground to help end Bucky’s drudgery and retire him to a sanctuary. But you can help animals like Bucky, too – when you’re on holiday, please avoid marine parks and “swim-with-dolphins” attractions. If you see any travel companies advertising these types of trips, send them an e-mail asking them to stop promoting cruelty to animals.