Animals Living at Dolphin Quest Receive the Highest Level of Humane Care

By Hawaii.com Team

Photo: Dolphin Quest.

Dolphin Quest, one of Hawaii’s most beloved attractions, has achieved certification for animal welfare from the American Humane Conservation program, assuring visitors that the animals living there receive the highest level of humane care. American Humane is the oldest humane organization in the U.S. and the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world.

Dolphin Quest — which operates locations on the Big Island and Oahu, as well as Bermuda — opened in 1988 as a place where people and dolphins could share the wonder of close interactions. It is owned and operated by two marine mammal veterinarians and its dolphin habitats are large and enriching ocean-fed lagoons with marine life and sandy rock bottoms that mirror the environments dolphins are found in the wild.

Dolphin Quest serves as a modern ark of hope for species living both under their care and in the wild. Dolphin Quest’s guest interactive programs are voluntary and enriching for the dolphins who seek out the interaction. Every program is fun, educational and inspires new generations of ocean stewards to care about and help protect marine wildlife.

Dolphin Quest Passed a Thorough Audit

Photo: Dolphin Quest.

Visitors to the Hawaii locations may see dolphins playing with guests and Dolphin Quest Marine Mammal Specialists. Enriching behaviors like these provide much-needed mental and physical stimulation while allowing Marine Mammal Specialists and guests to affectionately interact with each animal. Caregivers at Dolphin Quest are also dedicated to providing the highest level of care for their dolphin family. The dolphins receive restaurant-quality fish, daily health assessments and they actively participate in their own preventative healthcare. There’s no wonder why dolphins in certified and accredited facilities like Dolphin Quest live, on average, longer than their counterparts in the wild.

The American Humane Conservation program was launched in 2016 by American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and largest certifier of animal welfare. The organization worked with an independent scientific advisory committee comprised of world-renowned leaders in the fields of animal science, behavior, ethics and conservation to develop the evidence-based program standards — which now serve as a benchmark of humane care to which institutions can aspire.

To earn certification, all three Dolphin Quest locations passed a thorough audit of their facilities and practices. The evaluation verified many dimensions of animal welfare, including excellent animal health and housing, positive social interactions within groups of animals, as well as between animals and handlers, and safe and stimulating living environments.

Dolphin Quest’s Conservation Efforts

Photo: Dolphin Quest.

Dolphin Quest’s commitment to upholding these high standards of verifiable animal care improves the lives of the animals living there. The institution is also championing vital efforts to protect all of the planet’s precious species. Since opening, it has taught countless public education programs and contributed more than $4,600,000 million in funding to support critical marine mammal conservation, education and scientific study. These efforts are helping to find real solutions to the threats dolphins face in the wild including overfishing, marine debris, pollution and other human factors.

Consider the facility’s Head Start Program which raises newly hatched endangered sea turtles before releasing them back into the wild — part of a conservation effort to protect the vanishing species. Dolphin Quest Oahu has released numerous green sea turtles raised from hatchlings to help rebuild the local turtle population, which has suffered since the 1970s, when demand for turtle meat and shell products took a toll on the species.

Helping Animals in the Wild

Photo: Dolphin Quest.

Having dolphins in professional human care in a responsible institution can improve the lives of their wild counterparts. For example, milk samples that the facility’s veterinarians collect from nursing dolphins are used as baseline data for comparisons with dolphins living in the wild. This valuable knowledge informs research projects including a current study testing harmful pollutants found in wild dolphin ecosystems.

While most already know the excitement that a splash-filled visit to Dolphin Quest provides, visitors can now experience it with the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing that the animals living there receive the highest levels of humane, verifiable and transparent animal care. By participating in a Dolphin Quest experience, guests are also making a difference by supporting wild dolphin conservation.

Story adapted from Dolphin Quest provides highest animal care by By Robin Ganzert, originally published on www.StarAdvertiser.com.

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