Caring for Dolphins in Captivity

by | Jun 7, 2019 | Travels & Tours

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Many guests have visited SeaWorld®, marveled at the live marine animal shows, and later wondered, “how do the park employees take care of them?” Thanks to SeaWorld®’s new focus on sea animal care and ethics, this information is becoming more available to the public. SeaWorld® visitors can now rest assured that the incredible animals they see doing back flips and swimming laps around pools are being treated fairly.

Humans are sometimes particularly fascinated with dolphins. Perhaps it’s because they’re highly intelligent like us. Maybe it’s their size and cute factor. Whatever the reason, people are interested in the welfare of dolphins. While some people are against keeping dolphins in captivity, there are actually some benefits to dolphins housed at places like SeaWorld®.

Veterinary Care
In the wild, sick or injured dolphins do not receive professional veterinary care. They must simply wait it out, or risk further injury or death due to other animals finding them in a weakened condition. SeaWorld® dolphins are treated by educated veterinary staff. They receive preventative and as-needed care. Licenses, degrees and experience are required depending on the position. From laboratory staff to veterinary doctors, there is a large team dedicated just to the health of the dolphins at SeaWorld®.

Diet and Exercise
Opponents of holding dolphins in captivity might argue that the animals would not experience the same diet and exercise as in the wild. However, institutions such as SeaWorld® ensure that dolphins’ diets are as similar as possible to what they would find in the ocean. They are intellectually stimulated by learning tricks in exchange for food.


Another major concern is the difference in habitat between wild dolphins and dolphins in captivity. SeaWorld® is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, as well as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This means that the parks meet the gold standard in sea animal care set by these organizations. In accordance, dolphin habitats are set to designated depths depending on the species, and change to keep the animals engaged. Adequate play time for the animals is part of their stay at SeaWorld®.

Animal Training

Training at SeaWorld® isn’t just about getting dolphins to do somersaults for guests. It also enables the staff to give them the best care possible. If you’ve ever tried to get any kind of blood sample from your pet or give them a medication, you know how challenging that can be. SeaWorld® staff use positive reinforcement to get dolphins comfortable giving samples for lab testing, as well as doing those entertaining tricks we’ve all come to love.

Now you can enjoy your next visit to SeaWorld® knowing that the dolphins (and other animals) are receiving the best care possible. They might even be better off at these parks. Check out some SeaWorld® Orlando discounts today and plan your trip!