New Delhi: The Centre has nipped in the bud plans of three states to set up dolphinariums to attract tourists.
"... The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India have decided not to allow establishment of dolpinarium in the country," Member Secretary, Central Zoo Authority, B S Bonal said in a circular to all states and Union Territories.
Two dolphinariums were planned to come up in Kochi, while one each in Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) and Surat (Gujarat).
The Gangetic Dolphin and Snubfin Dolphin are protected species as per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The government has also declared Gangetic Dolphin as the national aquatic animal.
The government circular said dolphins belong to the highly intelligent and sensitive cetaceans species.
"... Various scientists who have researched dolphin behaviour have suggested that the unusually high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen as `non-human persons` and as such should have their own specific rights and is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose," the circular said.
Cetaceans in general do not survive well in captivity, it said, adding that confinement can seriously compromise the welfare and survival of all types of cetaceans by altering their behaviour and causing extreme distress.