Dolphins displaying their skills in the Särkänniemi dolphinarium in September 2009.The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira has released a statement outlining the operations of Särkänniemi dolphinarium do not match the current license it holds. According to Evira, the dolphinarium is more in line with a circus or an animal show, but the site has only permission to operate as a zoo. The animal protection law states that zoos and circuses, as well as animal shows, require specific permission in order to operate. The permission is granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency.

Evira released the statement due to a request by the organisation Oikeutta eläimille (Rights for Animals). The organisation demands the current license of the dolphinarium be invalidated by the Regional State Administrative Agency. Oikeutta eläimille is currently collecting participants in a municipal initiative demanding Tampere City reveal the future of the dolphinarium. So far, the initiative boasts nearly 1,000 names.

“The dolphinarium has been the subject of heated conversation in Tampere. People have shown a lot of interest in our cause,” states Kristo Muurimaa from the organisation.

After hearing about Evira’s statement, the director of Särkänniemi, Miikka Seppälä, stressed that the amusement park currently holds a valid license for operating. Seppälä commented to Helsingin Sanomat in the beginning of July that the dolphinarium has a moral and ethical responsibility to the dolphins that continues throughout their lives. If the dolphinarium were closed down, the dolphins would not have a place to go.

“Releasing the dolphins into the sea is not an option. Closing the dolphinarium is therefore not planned at the moment,” he says.

Muurimaa from Oikeutta eläimille informs, however, that the organisation Whale and Dolphin Conservation is in the process of founding an international retirement home for dolphins. They are currently searching for a suitable location.

“The organisation is excited about the prospect of getting Tampere’s dolphins into the retirement home,” Muurimaa says.


Verna Vuoripuro – HS

Mari Storpellinen – HT


Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva