The redesigned Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida will be only about rescue, rehabilitation and release, centre officials announced.
“We don’t rescue them so we can have them to show to guests,” CEO David Yates told The Tampa Tribune. “Our goal is to release them back into the wild.”
“We’re not trying to win a popularity contest. We’re just trying to do what we do and do our mission,” Yates added.
The $68-million downtown centre will be the home of dolphins, sea otters, turtles and birds that wouldn’t survive back in the ocean. The majority of the rehab cases will remain at the original Island Estates location.
Clearwater was the location of the real-life inspired film ‘Dolphin Tale’ about a rescued dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail, featuring Winter and Hope. Their new tank will be three times the size of their current one.
“I think the public appetite for captivity of wild animals is waning,” said Born Free USA CEO Adam Roberts. “The future for zoos and aquariums is in the rescue and rehab business.”