Time will tell how well the dolphins do in their new environment. The controversial move reveals there is no easy solution to resolving concerns over animals in captivity that are used to human care and can't just be released into the wild.
Even a sanctuary may not fully solve the problems.
Consider chimpanzees, which are also highly intelligent mammals. The National Institutes of Health announced last November that it would be retiring its laboratory research chimps and moving them to a sanctuary. Both ahead of that announcement and afterward, 13 chimps at a cancer research lab in Texas were transported to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Louisiana.
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Since then, according to an article published in the journal Lab Animal, nine of the 13 chimps have died.
The cause of their death is unclear, Wired reports, mentioning that a transition to a new location can create an emotional toll on chimps, especially if other resident animals are involved.
At Attica Zoological Park, the four new bottlenose dolphins will be living with another four dolphins. All of the dolphins will likely "participate in educational presentations, but the park doesn't hold any performances solely for entertainment purposes," according to the Attica release.
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