Dolphin Dilemma

The aquarium considers relocating its most popular mammals.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - August 2014

Aquarium Could Create Dolphin Sanctuary

The aquarium considers relocating its most popular mammals.

By Jess Blumberg Mayhugh - August 2014

-Photography by Christopher Myers

For 20 years, the National Aquarium was synonymous with its dolphin show until it was canceled and turned into “Dolphin Discovery” in 2012. Now, the aquarium is in talks to relocate its eight dolphins altogether. 

“Most large mammals in zoos get to ‘retire’ in elephant or lion sanctuaries,” says Aquarium CEO John Racanelli. “But there isn’t one yet for dolphins. If we do relocate them, it must be a carefully researched project.” 

The aquarium is in talks to spearhead the first seaside dolphin sanctuary in the country—although it’s at least three to five years away—and its priorities include keeping the dolphins together and maintaining a connection between the animals and visitors (perhaps through a program like Skype). 

“Our audience has evolved,” Racanelli says. “Baby boomers grew up on Flipper, but millennials grew up on Free Willy and The Cove. They are interested in these animals being treated more humanely.” 

He admits that conservation documentaries like The Cove and Blackfish have added some pressure: “They have been a real catalyst. Anyone who is still keeping dolphins and whales is paying attention to these trends.”





You May Also Like


The Chatter

Trump's Continued Attacks on Baltimore Addressed in Democratic Presidential Debate

Candidates are some of many who have come to the city’s defense in recent days.

News & Community

Just the Facts

A diversity-training board game gains local and national attention.

The Chatter

What You Need to Know for Artscape 2019

A changing footprint, exciting exhibitions, and nods to the moon landing highlight annual festival.


The Chatter

Ten of Many Reasons Why We Love Charm City

We revisit stories that make us proud to call ourselves Baltimoreans.

The Chatter

Baltimore City Takes on Trump after President’s Vitriolic Attacks

Donald Trump adds people of Baltimore, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Congressional District to growing list of black and brown targets.

News & Community

Cameo: Saketh Sundar

Co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, incoming freshman at River Hill High School

-Photography by Christopher Myers

Connect With Us

Most Read


What is the Likelihood of President Trump Coming to Baltimore?: With a House Republican conference and an invitation from Elijah Cummings, a presidential visit might be imminent.

Oletha DeVane Showcases Sculptural Works in 'Traces of Spirit' at the BMA: Local multidisciplinary artist explores religion, nature, and humanity in exhibit on view through October 20.


Severe Flooding Plagues Neighborhoods Surrounding the Inner Harbor: Stark images of Harbor East and Fells Point arise on social media as area reckons with heavy rainfall.

Greektown’s Yard 56 Mixed-Use Development to Open by 2020: Project on former Pemco industrial site will be anchored by Streets Market & Cafe and LA Fitness.