Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. IV No. 4 October 1995


By William Rossiter

September first was a landmark day for those concerned with rehabilitating captive cetaceans to survive in the wild. Bogie and Bacall, two bottlenose dolphins, were placed in a lagoon pen in the Indian River near Melbourne, Florida, beginning the final phase of adaptation and training for their release. The Dolphin Alliance, headed by Joe Roberts, has had to surmount many obstacles to get this far, but CSI will continue our enthusiastic support for their Welcome Home Project. The focus now is on the successful release and monitoring of these two dolphins, chosen most carefully for this significant project. Bogie and Bacall are just 400 yards from where they were captured, and local wild dolphins have shown an intriguingly positive interest in the pair. After the successful release CSI and others will turn the focus on the obstacles that have delayed and threatened this project, in part to prevent similar threats in the future. It is inappropriate to comment now, except to say that this project has brought out both the best and the worst in people, all of whom would say that they are working on the dolphin's behalf.

This release is a significant and necessary experiment that CSI backs unequivocally. Recent transfers and sales of "excess" captive dolphins to unknown or unmonitored conditions has made a travesty of government oversight and welfare concerns. Even as the display community chooses to perceive all release efforts to be direct threats, there must be a reliable, humane, efficient way to return excess captives to the wild. It must be an option. We wish Bogie and Bacall the very best, for themselves and those that will follow them.

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© Copyright 1995, Cetacean Society International, Inc.