The Dolfinarium amusement park in Harderwijk has been told to make changes to its shows and improve the living conditions of some animals by wildlife minister Carola Schouten.
‘Doing nothing is not an option,’ Schouten told MPs in a briefing this week.
The minister’s comments follow a visit to the park by inspectors at the end of last year. They reported that while the animals are well cared for, questions remained about the performances the animals were trained to take part in, the tanks they lived in and the interaction with the public, in particular the photo opportunities with dolphins and sea lions.
‘I have urged the Dolfinarium to adapt its educational programme … and the performances,’ the minister said. ‘It is essential that the educational message in the performances is strengthened and that the animals’ natural patterns of behaviour are central,’ Schouten said.
More recommendations are to follow in the autumn and will form part of the zoo permit process, she said.
Pro-animal party PvdD has called for the attraction to be closed down, describing it as a ‘circus at a fixed location’.
Dolfinarium spokesman Taco Rietveld told broadcaster RTL that animal welfare has the highest priority and that the park’s new show fully meets the ministry’s educational demands.
However, the coronavirus has led to a sharp drop in visitor income and major investments have been put on hold, he said.
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