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China’s Chimelong Group opens killer whale breeding facility

China’s Chimelong Group opens killer whale breeding facility
March 8, 2017

Aiming to meet apparent demand by the Chinese public to see more killer whales in zoos and visitor attraction, China’s Chimelong Group, one of the country’s biggest amusement park operators, opened the first ever breeding centre forthe cetaceans.

Chian’s Xinhua news agency reported that the facility opened at the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom park in the south eastern city of Zhuhai, at the end of February.

According to a media release, a total of nine killer whales (also known as orcas), including five males and four females aged between five to 13 years, are being kept in the breeding facility.

The media release explains that the facility aims to “help cultivate the public’s awareness of whale protection, develop related studies, and progress toward killer-whale breeding.”

Referred to as the Killer Whale Breeding Base, the facility employs a team of 30 people to take care of the marine animals, offering “round the clock care”.

The Chimelong media release also advised that the Breeding Base will also regularly invite domestic and foreign veterinary experts and animal experts to visit the breeding centre, to help assist in the development of health care monitoring and treatment.

Chimelong’s move into whale breeding comes as attractions and zooz around the world are shutting down similar facilities. More than a dozen countries including Switzerland, India, and Chile, as well as some states in the USA, have banned killer whale captivity. SeaWorld, one of America’s biggest theme parks, is phasing out its killer whale program in the face of increasing opposition from animal rights and environmental groups.

However, China’s fascination with killer whales and other exotic animals is seeing theme parks, along with malls and restaurants, increase their provision of animal attractions.

An aquarium in Changsha recently bred a beluga whale in captivity, and a polar bear kept in a mall in Guangzhou made global headlines last year after it was dubbed the ‘world’s saddest polar bear’ because of its poor conditions in captivity.

Animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Orca Project have long objected to the practice of whale captivity and breeding, arguing that captive orcas generally have a shorter lifespan than their wild counterparts and that many whales suffer psychological stress while in captivity. 

According to the Born Free Foundation, more than 2,100 dolphins and whales are being held in captivity at 343 facilities in 63 countries around the world, the majority in Japan, China, the USA, Russia and Mexico. 

Citing this information, the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society explained “killer whales in captivity generally have a shorter lifespan than wild killer whales,” adding that Chimelong’s practice might encourage the “the surging aquarium industry in China.”

Lower image shows the Chimelong Killer Whale Breeding Base. Courtesy of the Xinhua news agency

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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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