05 Mar 2020

There are no set norms for dolphins in the RA Law

On 2nd of May, 2020 press conference on the dolphins imported to Armenia was held, the guests of which were the expert of Civil Voice NGO Silva Adamyan, the representative Naire Sahakyan and the founder of One “Health Coalition” Grigor Grigoryan.

The expert of Civil Voice NGO Silva Adamyan said, that they sent a number of letters to the Ministry of Environment of RA, Head of Nature Protection and Subsoil Inspectorate, Ministry of Health, but did not receive a properly response from them on dolphinarium activity in Gyumri. We find out, that the interdepartmental council, which should give a conclusion, doesn’t work. The environmentalist also noted that the dolphins are in fact kept in Armenia illegal.

The representative of Civil Voice NGO Naire Sahakyan added, that they started dealing with dolphins earlier, since when the dolphins had been brought and kept in the hotel of Dilijan in 2018. In that time studying the documents and the law of RA, we presented all the problems and inconsistencies to the relevant authorities, so the Subsoil Inspectorate carried out administrative proceedings. But later, we again have the same problem.

The founder of One “Health Coalition” Grigor Grigoryan said, that there are different details on imported animal species, which was either a consequence of a technical error or incompetent work by public authorities. The expert also explained that wild animals are carriers of viruses and diseases, which can also be dangerous for humans. According to Mr. Grigoryan, besides the problems with the documents, there were also the lack of appropriate conditions for keeping the animals in Armenia.

Thus, our country does not have norms in the RA law for keeping marine mammals, whereas dolphins continue to be brought, stored and operated in our country. 

19 Feb 2020


Dolphins constituting the class Mammalia, order of Cetaceans and subcategory of toothed whales. There are more than 40 species of dolphins in the world ocean. Dolphins are marine mammals, warm-blooded animals, breathing through the lungs and live with groups. Under their skin located a huge fat layer to protect them from freezing and for additional energy․ Cetaceans and dolphins are great swimmers, in which they “trained” nature for millions of years. It is wonder, what is let some cetaceans to dive so deep and to keep that great pressure about 100-200 atmosphere․ Unusual abilities such as marine mammals are due to their morphological, physiological and ecological features. Their complex and developed nervous system allows them to catch the victim in the twilight, in muddy waters, make a long migration, orientate in space and to reach the destination thousands of kilometers beyond․Their brain activity is impossible to imagine, without the flow of information from environment.

Dolphins have an echolocation system․ Echolocation signals help them to accurately orient in space, to sense, to distinguish great depths, shape and size of the ground, the quality of submerged species,to search  objects in muddy waters and to reach to the coast.

Dolphins eyes have a unique layout․ They are located on the widest part of the head, directed to the forward, so they can see entire space from   front to   back.

Dolphins under water release creaking voices, screams and shouts. It is wonder, that when dolphins  in captivity and in the event of contact with humans individual dolphins in response, even automatically begin to release more sounds, whistle, shout, scream.

From ancient times human has  tried to keep cetaceans in captivity.  The life of dolphins and cetaceans groups is very complex and difficult to study in sea. It is possible only by examining the relationships between groups or individual types within those groups. It is possible to implement to dolphins in captivity. But not all dolphins kept in captivity are adapted in new conditions.  At first new captured dolphins are isolated, which of whistle constantly, screaming loudly about 2 weeks in the pool, especially at night. First stage of dolphin training begins with feeding by the trainer․ There are cases, when dolphins  refused from feeding, even they can killed themselves consciously stopping to breathe․ Usually,  dolphins in captivity are very aggressive towards other dolphins․  Mostly from dolphins  well be trained the  type of Afalina. Often cases are registered, when dolphins in captivity attacked their trainer. Both healthy and diseased dolphins can attack. Especially in cases when the trainer irritates the animal, or inadvertently tries to help the sick animal. Aggressive behavior is noticed in Orcas, in Long-finned pilot whales, in afalinas and in other types. For example the type of Long-finned pilot whale to manifest aggressive behavior, while keeping in dolphinarium of California, without another dolphins. The mammal attacked the trainer with open mouth by the tail that he lost consciousness.  Famous afalina dolphin name of “Taffee”, who was the participant of marine laboratory experiments, often bitten the hand of her trainer. The latter trained her to search for different things from the bottom of the sea. Finally, she broken the rib of her trainer.

 Besides all of this, the CL content in the water cannot be an animal habitat. Begins the process of blindness, burns, damages the skin, arises ulcers. It should be noted, that no matter how strong is  the filtration system, the water in the dolphinarium contains certain microbs, emissions of dolphins urine, from which is  impossible to clean the water completely. Dolphins swim 160 kilometers daily and dive to great depths, whereas the swimming pool meters are extremely stressful for this animals. They restrict their movements. The animals remained in such conditions for many years get a number of weaknesses, reduction of metabolism, weakening of immune system, reduction of life and etc. The pool with concrete walls, which constantly reflects ultrasound has a very adverse effect on the mental and physical health of animals.

Another serious problem is the air transportation of dolphins, during which the aircraft must fly at a certain altitude. There are such points in the dolphin's brain, that fix both height and environment. That’s why flying at an inappropriate altitude, they can have a big stress.

Dolphins only feed with live fish in the wild, which is the minimum condition of normal animal life. But in captivity they are fed with frozen fishes. Capturing and keeping dolphins out of the wild is a serious psychological stress, as a result the water is covered with blood. Dolphins kept in swimming pools can have a number of diseases, which can transferred a human. Dolphins are considered the finally owner the type of  Nematode  Anisakis.  Nematodes appearing in the stomach of marine mammals and reaching adulthood cause of mucous membrane irritation in stomach. Nematode anisakis is also dangerous for humans.

The microorganisms such as Brucella, Brevibacterium, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Mycobacterium are cause of a variety infectious diseases and are dangerous for dolphins.

In fact, specialists have a negative attitude on dolphinotherapy. The society should know, that this phenomenon has a negative effect on animals and humans. The specialist of dolphins and whales Lori Marino noted, that dolphinatherapy cannot cure any disease. Swimming with dolphins can have a positive effect,  however, there is no any scientific justification that this treatment being effective. Aphalines are included in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. On this list dolphins are included in the  group of minimum risk (LC). Only   Black Sea afalinas are registered in the endangered group (EN). They are also included in the Red books of Russia and Ukraine. Since 1966, hunting of Black Sea afalines has been banned in the USSR.

However the human continues to catch young dolphins from sea and keep them in captivity.

Nowadays the number of dolphins in the oceans and seas decreases as the number of dolphinariums and   demand are increases. The first dolphinarums in Armenia was opened  in 2010 of December at the Pantheon name of Komitas. Its  was closed in 2013 cause of the bad conditions for keeping dolphins in Armenia. In 2018 was opened  second dolphinarium  in “Best Western Paradise” hotel of Dilijan and  also offered dolphinatherapy. But soon it closed due to environmentalists and public efforts. The third dolphinarium was opened in summer 2019 at Gyumri and it still works.

The number of countries such as Costa Rica, Vengria, Chile, India have banned dolphinariums in their countries.

Generally, catching and keeping dolphinscetaceans in captivity is serious harm for these animal populations. Keeping dolphins in captivity, they are lost their freedom and natural behavior.

Humanity should appreciate and reconsider their attitude on this such a kind and high intelligence animals, which are born to live in wildlife.

Author Naire Sahakyan, Consultant Silva Adamyan


List of references



3․ Ջ․ Լիլլի «Մարդն ու Դելֆինը», 181 էջ Երևան 1966թ

4․ А. Г. Томилин “В мире китов и дельфинов” Москва 1974

5․ Пахомова А.А., Сысоева Н.Ю ” ЗАБОЛЕВАНИЯ ДЕЛЬФИНОВ В УСЛОВИЯХ ОКЕАНАРИУМОВ” Научная статья  «Московский государственный университет пищевых производств», Москва, Россия 2019․ 

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