The Loro Parque Foundation strengthens its commitment to the environment with a new sculpture

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The Loro Parque Foundation has, this Wednesday December 4, presented a new sculpture made from recycled objects that demonstrates the serious problem that plastic generates in the environment.  The inauguration took place on the roundabout at the crossroads of the TF-316 with the Carretera de las Dehesas, in the municipality of Los Realejos.

The event was attended by the Mayors of Los Realejos and Puerto de La Cruz, Manuel Domínguez González and Marcos González Mesa and the Vice-President of The Loro Parque Company and President of Loro Parque Foundation, Christoph Kiessling.

This second artistic representation also forms part of the numerous actions against single-use plastic carried out in all the facilities of the Loro Parque Company.  Thanks to the implementation of their strategies, since the beginning of 2018, the use of over 30 tons of this harmful material has been eliminated.

In this regard, for the manufacture of this raising- awareness art, the creator of these sculptures, Paolo Bonano, was inspired by the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria artist Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre.  For the sculpture he has mostly used cans, bottles and plastic lids.

As part of the same project ‘Bye Bye Plastic’, The Loro Parque Foundation and the University of La Laguna just inaugurated, on November 28, the first sculpture with the same objectives: to reinforce the commitment to promote the search for solutions to keep our planet cleaner and to make citizens aware of the problems faced by the oceans and the different species that inhabit them, placing special emphasis on the effects of marine waste.

With all this, The Loro Parque Foundation emphasises, once again, that the accumulation of plastics in the oceans affects marine biodiversity in a terrible way, because according to United Nations figures “13,000,000 tons of plastic seep into the ocean each year, which causes, amongst other damage, the death of 100 000 marine species each year”.

What’s more, it’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  All this makes the role of wildlife conservation centres particularly relevant in protecting species for future generations.

Loro Parque Foundation and the University of La Laguna join forces in the fight against plastic

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Loro Parque Fundación has presented, this Thursday 28 November, a sculpture made from recycled objects that shows the serious problem that plastic generates in the environment. The inauguration took place in the Auditorium of the University of La Laguna (ULL) and was attended by more than 500 people.

In addition to other authorities and collaborating associations the event was also attended by: Rosa María Aguilar, rector of the ULL; Professor Victoria Martín Osorio; Enrique Arriaga, first vice-president of the Cabildo de Tenerife; Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, mayor of San Cristóbal de La Laguna; María Candelaria González Morales, general director of Educational Centers, Infrastructure and Promotion of the Government of the Canary Islands; Wolfgang Kiessling, president of the Loro Parque Company and Christoph Kiessling, vice-president of the Loro Parque Company and president of the Loro Parque Fundación.

In this way, Loro Parque Fundación and the Universidad de La Laguna have joined forces in their fight against the use of plastic to lessen the effects of climate change. The two institutions, fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Objectives, have participated in the presentation of the project ‘BYE BYE, PLASTIC’, an initiative designed to raise awareness among the entire population for the damage caused by non-biodegradable waste in nature.

For her part, the rector of the host center, Rosa Aguilar, pointed out that in 2017 the two convening entities signed a general catalog of measures from which some research projects arose. One of those in the area of industrial engineering to find out how noise pollution affects cetaceans, led by Professor Fernando Rosa, and another in the field of zoology on marine mammals, led by Professor Alberto Brito.

Thus, this artistic representation of the Foundation is part of the numerous actions against single-use plastic carried out in all the facilities of the Loro Parque Company. In this way, thanks to the implementation of this strategy, since the beginning of 2018, more than 30 tons of this harmful material have been eliminated, stressed the president of Loro Parque Fundación.

In this sense, for the manufacture of this consciousness-building piece of art, the creator of the sculpture, Paolo Bonano, has been inspired by the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria artist Néstor Martín-Fernández de la Torre. For this purpose, he has mostly used cans, bottles and plastic lids.

Through these actions, it is intended to reinforce the commitment to promote the search for solutions to keeping our planet cleaner and to raise awareness of the problem that the oceans and the different species that inhabit them are facing, with particular emphasis on the effects of marine litter.

With all this, Loro Parque Fundación highlights, once again, that the accumulation of plastics in the oceans affects marine biodiversity in a terrible way. According to figures from the United Nations, presented at the session by the president of the Foundation, Christoph Kiessling, 13 million tons of plastic seep into the ocean each year, which causes, among other damages, the death of 100,000 marine species every year. In addition, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. “All of this makes the role of wildlife conservation centers essential in protecting species for future generations,” added Kiessling.

The Loro Parque Fundación commits to sustainable mobility with a 100% electric vehicle

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Loro Parque Fundación commits to sustainable mobility with the incorporation of a 100% electric car with 300 kilometers of autonomy, thanks to the collaboration of Domingo Alonso Group.

The delivery of the car took place this Wednesday, November 27, at the facilities of Loro Parque. The event was attended by Dr. Javier Almunia, scientific director of the Foundation and the manager of Volkswagen of Domingo Alonso Tenerife, Juan Carlos Estrada.

The vehicle, a Volkswagen e-Golf, has features comparable to any conventional combustion car and offers a range that makes it possible to travel all over Tenerife, including the rest of the archipelago.

“In coherence with CanBIO, our most important project in the Canary Islands, that is dedicated to monitoring the effects of climate change and mitigating its effects on marine species in the Canary Islands, the foundation had to have a zero-emission vehicle”, said Almunia about the new incorporation.

In this sense, the e-Golf will be used for the displacements to the conservation projects that Loro Parque Fundación carries out in all the archipelago. Furthermore, it will be a symbol of the importance of the change towards a mobility free of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The objective is to use electricity from renewable energies, such as photovoltaic plants or future wind turbines from Loro Parque, so that emissions are really zero,” said the director of the Foundation.

The Volkswagen Group is already working towards the same goal and has set a course for achieving CO2 neutrality by 2050 within the framework of its environmental statement “goTOzero”. To achieve this, the German manufacturer will focus on electrifying its fleet, with the goal of launching 70 electric models and selling more than three million of these vehicles annually until 2025.

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Loro Parque has received this weekend the visit of the famous Spanish actor of cinema and television, Antonio Resines.

The acclaimed artist has enjoyed his stay in Tenerife discovering the wonders of the animal world and the entertaining educational presentations of Loro Parque. Also, during his visit, Resines has experienced at first hand the important conservation work carried out every day in the Park, as well as the different projects that Loro Parque Fundación carries out all over the world.

In this sense, although this is not the first time that the renowned actor visits the facilities of Loro Parque, he did not want to say goodbye without first devoting a few words in the Golden Book. He has affirmed to have had a ” wonderful ” visit, which has made him ” magnificently pleased by the people of the Park “.

Thus, once again, the winner of a Goya and three Fotogramas de Plata awards proved that Loro Parque is an international benchmark, innovative in terms of animal welfare, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.

Loro Parque receives a visit from the participants of the International Congress of Tourism Quality in Puerto de la Cruz

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On the morning of Saturday, November 16, Loro Parque received the participants of the International Congress of Tourism Quality of Puerto de la Cruz, which has been held these days in the town of Puerto de la Cruz.

Thanks to a technical visit to the facilities of this authentic animal embassy, the congress attendees have learned how to carry out the sustainable management of a tourist product of great category.

 In addition, during the round tables held in the days prior to this visit, the Park offered a complete presentation that reviewed all the sustainable measures and actions that the Loro Parque Company implements in its facilities to maintain an environmentally responsible business model.

Thus, with its participation in this international event, Loro Parque reinforces its commitment to the protection of wild animals and their natural habitats for future generations.

   

Loro Parque Fundación awards the best final papers in Sciences of the University of La Laguna

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Loro Parque Fundación has granted, in the afternoon of Wednesday, November 13, 6000€ in prizes to the best final papers (TFG) in Sciences of the University of La Laguna. Half of the endowment has gone to students of Biology and the rest to the other degrees of the Faculty of Sciences: Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

The prizes, which aim to encourage professional vocations linked to the conservation of biodiversity in the terrestrial and marine environment, the evaluation and management of the natural environment, environmental sustainability, environmental protection and environmental education, have been divided into four categories: two first prizes of €1,200, two second prizes of €800, two third prizes of €600 and two fourth prizes of €400.

In the biology category, the winning work consisted of a genetic analysis of the giant lizard populations of Tenerife. The other award-winning projects were about networks of pollinating bees and plants, the use of lichens as indicators of air quality in La Laguna or a morphological and taxonomic analysis of a family of fungi associated with non-vascular terrestrial plants (mosses and hepatics).

As for the other degrees of the Faculty of Sciences, the work awarded the first prize consisted of a legal and environmental evaluation of the port of Fonsalía. The other awarded works covered topics such as: the analysis of environmental impacts on a beach and its social perception, the automatic analysis of images obtained by a drone to create a distribution map of endemic plants in the Malpaís de Güimar or the development of new materials for the production of hydrogen by means of solar energy.

Dr. Javier Almunia, director of Loro Parque Fundación, stressed that the quality of the submitted papers – 36 in total – was excellent, which made the selection of the winners quite complicated. He also wanted to highlight the enormous effort that was evident in many of the works, which involved sampling in different parts of the island and analytical and experimental work that students do without receiving any financial support. “In a way, these awards try to compensate for that effort,” he said, “and the fact that we have received 20% more works than the previous year indicates that we are on the right track”.

The jury of the awards, organized by the Faculty of Sciences of the ULL with the collaboration of the Official College of Biologists, was formed by members of this entity, Loro Parque Fundación and professors of the faculties of science, who coincided in the great quality of the projects of all the aspirants.

Misleading statements of the World Animal Protection’s report ‘Behind the smile’

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In October 2019 the World Animal Protection published the report “Behind the smile: the multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry” promoting the end of the dolphin industry. The central argument to request the closing of all the dolphin venues is that the dolphins suffer in dolphinaria, but the report does not give any scientific prove to support this accusation. In failing to support its central accusation the conclusions and requests of the whole report can be considered invalid.

The report uses misleading statements, like for example “Throughout the world cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – are being taken from the wild or bred in captivity to be used for entertainment in tourism venues”. This statement is misleading especially when talking about European dolphinaria. The majority (over 75%) of the dolphins living in the parks of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) have been born under human care[1]. The remaining animals are founder stock that may have been acquired as long ago as the 1960’s. No EAAM Park has imported a dolphin from the wild since 2003.

EAAM institutions are successfully increasing the dolphin population in human care through breeding and cooperative exchanges. However, the importation of dolphins from the wild is not prohibited. CITES permits the import/export of bottlenose dolphins, including wild dolphins, where the exporting government finds that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. The European Union imposes stricter measures for all cetaceans, however, importation is permitted for non-commercial purposes including research, education and breeding purposes for which conservation benefits will accrue to the species concerned.

The report also states that “From their traumatic capture from the wild to being bred for confinement in grossly inadequate conditions, dolphins and other cetaceans suffer immensely in captivity” which is absolutely false, as the vast majority of dolphins under human care have been born in dolphinaria, and they haven’t had any experience in the sea. The report does not present any scientific evidence to support this statement.

Other of the arguments in the report says that “Keeping dolphins in captivity for entertainment offers no genuine benefit to conservation and scant educational benefits” The shows with dolphins and orcas introduce educational elements, even though not all contents are for educational purposes, and are carried out to capture the attention of a public that has no or little previous knowledge of animals. The main aim of the shows is to awaken empathy in ways that build a bond between species and visitors.

The report has a specific chapter titled “Dolphin suffering for entertainment”, where one would expect to find all the arguments supporting the idea that dolphins suffer just because they are in captivity. But the fact is that that the chapter is just a collection of speculations without any scientific background.

For example, this chapter states “In the wild, species such as bottlenose dolphins often have home ranges exceeding 100 square km2, though ranges vary greatly. Some populations have average home ranges in excess of 400 square km3”. The authors seem to believe that cetaceans swim hundreds of miles because they have a physiological need to do so, but this is not the case they only do it forced by the need to get food. If they are able to find food in a small, shallow area, they remain in the same place and stop doing deep dives for long periods. This has been proven with killer whales tracked with satellite tags in Gibraltar Strait, where the animals have plenty of food in a small area, and they did not travel more than 10 miles per day[2],[3].

This argument seems to make us believe that cetaceans swim 100 miles a day for fun, and if the only swim 50, they will be half as happy. If a dolphin can find food by swimming 50 miles in one day instead of swimming 100, it is not known whether or not it will be half as happy, but certainly it will have expended half the energy. That energy can be invested into the survival of their offspring.

The report also mentions the maximum diving capacity recorded in a dolphin, and states “When the natural ranges of wild dolphins are compared to the miniscule spaces afforded to them in captivity, it’s clear that it is impossible to provide adequate conditions”. In zoological settings, the depth dimensions of habitats for bottlenose dolphins reflect those of the bays and estuaries in which they typically are found. Dives of bottlenose dolphins typically last from 20 to 40 seconds. The depth of dives depends on the habitat in which the dolphins are found.

Bottlenose dolphins are generally found in bays, in tidal waters, and along open ocean beaches, often at depths of 3 meters or less. While dolphins can dive longer and deeper where motivated by the need to forage or to protect themselves from predators, they do not necessarily need to do so when these factors are absent[4],[5]. Moreover, the depth of pools is only one of the many factors that can influence, but not by itself determine, the well-being of dolphins. Regarding other species, like orcas, when they have the opportunity to feed a few tens of meters, they do not dive deeper for pleasure. Data obtained from markers with depth sensors show that they only make deep dives to catch their prey, and the rest of the dives are shallower than 20 m.[6]

Regarding the water quatily, the report by World Animal Protection suggests “Water treatment methods such as ozonation and chlorination are used in the dolphins’ tanks. These maintain the water clarity needed for visitors to see the animals clearly and neutralize the bacteria from large quantities of animal waste products. The use of harsh chemicals like these can cause an array of health issues, particularly of the eyes and skin”. This statement is again pure speculation unsupported by scientific data. The products that are used to reduce the proliferation of bacteria in the water (like chlorine and ozone), if used properly, have no bearing on the animals. If chlorine is extracted from the seawater itself (using for example eclocid machines as in Loro Parque) the chlorine comes from natural seawater and there is no need to add chemicals to purify water. Wild dolphins are exposed to pathogens that can cause different skin conditions, much more dramatic and painful that any skin lesion found in a dolphinarium. If the skin and eye problems would be so frequent in dolphinariums, after visiting hundreds of them worldwide the report should have pictures to illustrate the argument. But there is no a single picture of health issues found in dolphins under human care, which clearly demonstrates that the whole argument is false.

The report includes a statement about the negative effects of noise pollution in the dolpinariums, arguing “Stress caused by noise pollution is a concern for captive dolphins. Often, their tanks are located near sources of loud noise, such as loudspeakers which blast out music during performances.” This statement is also false. The sound from the music is mainly reflected by the water surface and it has been demonstrated that their impact underwater is negligible[7]. In fact the available scientific evidence also demonstrates that, when properly isolated, the noise from the pumps does not reach the pools. The most recently published scientific research [8] comparing the underwater noise pollution of 14 dolphinariums in USA proves that measurements of noise in cetacean pools show noise levels comparable to that found in the sea under normal conditions (with low human disturbance). The noise is much higher in sea areas where human activity is intense, and in fact alterations in dolphin, orca and beluga vocal behaviour associated with noisy human activities like whale watching, have been described.[9],[10], [11], [12]

The report presents a detailed explanation about the intelligence of the dolphins including details about the use of signature whistles (described and confirmed thanks to the zoo housed dolphins), the potential information transmission using sounds (demonstrated in many other species like for example birds, bats, frogs crickets, etc.), are capable to plan events (also shown in other species like birds) and also are capable of self recognition in the mirror. The authors highlight this question explaining that it occurs even before than in human children, but fail to add that this very same mirror self recognition has been proven also in other species, for example magpies or even ants !!! Hence, the neurologists do not agree that the intelligence of a dolphin can be comparable with a human being just because they pass the mirror test. Other ways, they should admit that magpies or ants are also as clever as three year old children. The goal of this detailed description on the intelligence of the dolphins has a clear motivation, support the argument that “The high level of intelligence demonstrated by bottlenose dolphins and other cetacean species makes their confinement and use for entertainment highly unethical”. But this statement is undermined by the fact that many other species like frogs, crickets, parrots, magpies or ants have passed the very same cognition tests. On the other hand, there is a debate among the welfare experts about the influence of the “intelligence” in the adaptation to zoo settings. Some experts sustain that a high cognitive level could be a positive factor regarding the adaptation to captivity. At this moment there is no scientific evidence to support none of the two hypothesis.

Regarding the stress produced by the behavioral restriction of the cetaceans the report states “Kept in tiny, featureless concrete tanks, dolphins are denied freedom of movement and the ability to carry out natural behaviors.” This affirmation is not totally correct, as the dolphins can express many natural behaviors (like swimming, copulating, giving birth, taking care and feeding calves, echolocating, whistling, etc.). There is a strong consensus in the animal welfare community that the animals do not need to express their complete behavioral repertoire to be in good welfare status. Being attacked by a predator, running away from threats or being killed by another dolphin are natural behaviors that are clearly not necessary to reach a good welfare status. Thus, it is clear that not all the behaviors are related with welfare, but only some essential ones. How this essential behaviors relate with welfare should be supported by proper ethological observations based on the scientific method, not in unfounded speculations.

The report also states “Group sizes in captive facilities usually consist of two to four dolphins per tank only. This is much smaller than average pod sizes in the wild and it likely impacts their social behavior.” This is a very vague statement, specially considering the fact that the authors include a list of facilities visited with the number of dolphins held. Anybody can check that only 28% of the facilities house 4 or less dolphins. That means 72% of the facilities have bigger groups, which clearly contradicts their own statement. If the majority of facilities have groups bigger than 5 animals the social behavior should not be compromised. The authors state in the report “Our research identified 233 dolphin venues keeping 1,770 dolphins”, if the average number of dolphins per venue is calculated the value is 7.6, which contradicts their assertion that group sizes usually consist of two to four dolphins.

Regarding the aggression related stress the report makes a curios statement “Dolphins rake each other in the wild as part of determining social hierarchy; however, in most mammals, once dominance hierarchies are established, they remain relatively stable, reducing repeated aggression.” This is not supported by scientific evidence, on the contrary is well known that dolphins live in a fission-fussion society where hierarchy changes and is constantly challenged. Rake marks in dolphins are fairly common, it has been calculated that over 60% of individuals have them [13] (the remaining 40% are usually young individuals). This is so common that has been used by some researchers to identify specimens or even to evaluate differential aggression by gender[14],[15].

The authors also report that “Injuries from teeth raking in captivity have been fatal at times”, but fail to explain that it only happened once in the 80s and never after. While an open wound can be an entry for pathogens into the bloodstream of cetaceans, this is only dangerous in contaminated waters. The daily hygienic control of the water in dolphinaria (in Spain the water quality in dolphinaria is controlled 50 times more than pool water for human use) makes this risk negligible. The cause of the death of the dolphin was an infection by Clostridium perfringens, the presence of this pathogenic bacteria is regularly monitored since 1978[16].

The report also emphasizes the fact that “the notion of captive dolphin venues being of value to wild dolphin populations, however, is misleading” because  bottlenose dolphin are not endangered. And  “No zoos or aquaria currently engage in captive breeding programmes designed to increase wild cetacean populations”. Obviously zoos and aquaria do not release bottlenose dolphins because it would be against the regulations of the International Union for Nature Conservation, as it would put in risk the wild populations of dolphins. Nevertheless, the breeding of bottlenose dolphins or even killer whales under human care provides knowledge and expertise that will be necessary to save the critically endangered cetacean species in the next decades. The vaquita, a critically endangered porpoise species, is the best example of how important is this knowledge and expertise. When the last desperate attempt to establish a breeding group to save the species was made, the experts involved were zoo and aquarium staff. Unfortunately it was too late for the vaquita, but the survival of next critically endangered cetaceans will depend mainly in that expertise gained with dolphins.

Regarding the scientific research, the report claims that “dolphin entertainment venues tend to focus on issues which serve to address problems in their industry rather than on conservation or animal welfare”, which is totally false. Just as an example the Annex I includes 324 scientific publications produced from research developed with cetaceans under human care by members of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals.

The authors also mention “the behavioral research, in particular, is questionable with captive subjects due to the constraints put on cetaceans such as small tank sizes and artificial social groupings. These constraints limit their natural behavior and lead to biases in research studies.” Which is absolutely non-sense, the experimental designs are done by researchers from different universities worldwide, and the results are published in peer reviewed journals, which is a prove of scientific quality.

Regarding the comparative health of wild and captive dolphins the authors claim:  “when comparing the health of wild and captive dolphins, studies haveshown clear differences. Free-ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Florida appear to have a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance when compared to their captive counterparts” which is a clear case of “cherry picking” using only the scientific results that support their pre-conceptions. Hence, the authors fail to include other scientific papers produced by the same research team comparing the very same dolphin groups and that have conclusions that do not support the idea of the better welfare of the wild dolphins. In fact the most recent scientific evidence demonstrates that the immune system of wild dolphins from a coastal population shows clear signs of health stress compared to a group of animals housed on a certified zoo[17]. This is the scientific evidence that the wild dolphins suffer more illness and pathologies than the ones under human care, as it can be expected just by the fact that the dolphinaria have professional veterinary services to take care of the animal health.

The report also has claims about the diet of the cetaceans under human care, which is on the opinion of the authors the cause of the “the health issues of captive dolphins” which often consists of “a limited diet of frozen-thawed fish in a few large meals”. In the opinion of the authors: “Their wild counterparts, however, were found to consume small portions of varied fish species when necessary.” This is an idealized concept of the wild, as the wild dolphins do not consume fish when necessary, but only when they have the chance to capture them. That means in some moments of the day they can consume a lot of fish and maybe starve for several days when conditions are not optimum. Trying to copy this feeding regime does not seem reasonable nor positive for the welfare of the dolphins.

Regarding the quality of the food the authors state “frozen then thawed fish is the main component of captive cetacean diets, but such fish are lower in nutritional value than live fish” which is a clear exaggeration. The nutritional difference of fresh and frozen fish is really subtle, just a small reduction in some vitamins that can be easily supplemented.  It is obvious that wild dolphins do not have to receive supplements, but in consuming fresh fish they are exposed to parasites that are absent in frozen fish. The parasite infestation is quite common in wild animals and produces a wide variety of pathologies and enormous suffering. It seems reasonable to save this suffering to the dolphins under human care if the only odd is a vitamin supplement.

Another old fashioned argument that can be found in the report is the dental damage:  “Bored and frustrated by their captivity, cetaceans persistently grind their teeth against the concrete of their tanks, or bite down on metal bars between tanks, breaking their teeth. This pattern of repetitive abnormal behavior – a stereotypy – leads to teeth breaking and wearing down to the gums. It is not seen in wild cetaceans.” This statement is totally false. There are many documented cases of dental damage in the wild for different reasons (abrasive food, manipulation of abrasive objects, etc.) there is not a single scientific study that relates dental damage in cetaceans and boredom. In cetaceans teeth typically have extremely limited function in food processing, so how can a broken teeth compromise the welfare of an animal? If the broken tooth does not produce any pain, inflammation or infection, there will not be significative effect in the welfare of the animal. Besides, it is not true that these lesions are not seen in wild cetaceans. The teeth wear is not an exclusive problem of captive killer whales or dolphins, there are many examples of wild killer whales with their tooth worn to the gum[18],[19]. While orca’s teeth in captivity are often damaged, strict veterinary control and daily dental hygiene prevent inflammation, infections and pain. In the case of wild orcas, there is no way to control inflammation and infection, and presumably this produces a painful process in the wild killer whales.

The report is full of contradictions, but when talking about the longevity and mortality rates is when it reaches its maximum levels of dishonesty. The authors recognize that “studies have shown improvements in captive bottlenose dolphin mortality rates over time” and at the same time assert that “dolphins do not live significantly longer than their wild counterparts.” Which is absolutely nonsense, as a lower mortality ration implies a longer life. The most recent scientific evidence makes clear that dolphins have a lower mortality rate and, as a consequence, live longer under human care.[20],[21],[22],[23],[24]

Finally, the authors state “Ultimately, however, the mortality rates of captive cetaceans – whether improved, or comparable to some weakened wild populations – can never be a justification for keeping them in captivity. A long life in a tiny, barren enclosure is not a good life.” Which is clearly the acknowledgement that dolphins do live longer under human care, despite they do not like to recognize it. What the authors do not understand is that the fact that dolphins live longer under human care is not a justification to keep them in dolphinaria. This fact is the final prove that cetaceans do not suffer under human care, because they would not be able to overlive their wild counterparts if the tragic story of a life of stress and suffering would be true. Hence, this is the evidence that the cetaceans do not suffer under human care.

To conclude, within the report it can be found a clear prove that the “researchers” that were inspecting the dolphinaria did not have the skills to evaluate the acgtual situation. The report states that “At Loro Parque in Tenerife, staff who do ’water work’ with dolphins, ie, enter the water with them, carry a cylinder of five minutes’ worth of breathable compressed air to be used in emergencies.”. This statement is blatantly false, the dolphin trainers at Loro Parque have never carried such security equipment. The only staff who carries this safety equipment is the killer whale trainers, not because they do any waterwork, but just in case of an accidental fall in one of the pools. If the observers sent to the parks were unable to distinguish between a dolphin and a killer whale, it is clear that the conclusions of the report are absolutely useless.

Annex I
List of scientific publications produced from research with cetaceans under human care
Lima, A., Sébilleau, M., Boye, M., Durand, C., Hausberger, M., & Lemasson, A. (2018). Captive bottlenose dolphins do discriminate human-made sounds both underwater and in the air. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(JAN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00055
Abramson, J. Z., Hernández-Lloreda, M. V., García, L., Colmenares, F., Aboitiz, F., & Call, J. (2018). Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer whale ( Orcinus orca ). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1871), 20172171. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2171
Clegg, I. L. K., & Delfour, F. (2018). Can We Assess Marine Mammal Welfare in Captivity and in the Wild? Considering the Example of Bottlenose Dolphins. Aquatic Mammals, 44(2), 181–200. https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.2.2018.181
Clegg, I. L. K., Rödel, H. G., Cellier, M., Vink, D., Michaud, I., Mercera, B., … Delfour, F. (2017). Schedule of human-controlled periods structures bottlenose dolphin (tursiops truncatus) behavior in their free-time. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 131(3), 214–224. https://doi.org/10.1037/com0000059
Harvey, B. S., Dudzinski, K. M., & Kuczaj, S. A. (2017). Associations and the role of affiliative, agonistic, and socio-sexual behaviors among common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Behavioural Processes, 135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2016.12.013
Clegg, I. L. K., Van Elk, C. E., & Delfour, F. (2017). Applying welfare science to bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Animal Welfare, 26(2), 165–176. https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.26.2.165
Abramson, J. Z., Hernández-Lloreda, M. V., Esteban, J. A., Colmenares, F., Aboitiz, F., & Call, J. (2017). Contextual imitation of intransitive body actions in a Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas): A “do as other does” study. PLoS ONE, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178906
Dolphin, B., Clegg, I. L. K., Rödel, H. G., Cellier, M., Vink, D., Michaud, I., … Böye, M. (2017). Schedule of Human-Controlled Periods Structures Bottlenose Dolphin. Journal of Comparative Psychology (Washington, D.C.: 1983).
Serres, A., & Delfour, F. (2017). Environmental changes and anthropogenic factors modulate social play in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Zoo Biology, 36(2), 99–111. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21355
Clegg, I. L. K., Rödel, H. G., & Delfour, F. (2017). Bottlenose dolphins engaging in more social affiliative behaviour judge ambiguous cues more optimistically. Behavioural Brain Research, 322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2017.01.026
Lima, A., Lemasson, A., Boye, M., & Hausberger, M. (2017). Vocal activities reflect the temporal distribution of bottlenose dolphin social and non-social activity in a zoological park. Zoo Biology, 36(6), 351–359. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21387
Levengood, A. L., & Dudzinski, K. M. (2016). Is blood thicker than water? The role of kin and non-kin in non-mother-calf associations of captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Behavioural Processes, 124, 52–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.12.005
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Loro Parque presents its novelties in the World Travel Market Fair

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Loro Parque, Siam Park, Poema del Mar, Loro Parque Fundación, Hotel Botánico and Brunelli’s jointly attend this week the World Travel Market, the prestigious B2B travel fair which takes place annually in London with the aim of presenting the most important novelties that the Company offers its clients.

Loro Parque, the Best Zoo in the World and an Animal Embassy

Loro Parque is an impressive animal embassy that offers the unique experience of discovering wildlife like never before, with species and ecosystems from the five continents, from the lush Amazon jungle to the cold landscapes of Antarctica. Thus, visitors are able to discover the wonders and splendid beauty of nature without having to travel to all corners of the planet.

Among its main attractions are the impressive and educational presentations of Orcas and Dolphins, as well as the legendary Parrot Show, in addition to the precious Red Pandas, the majestic Lions of Angola, or the largest and most diverse parrot reserve in the world. You can also meet the Pygmy Hippos, whose new home adapts perfectly to the needs of this species in danger of extinction in the wild, and the charismatic Ring-Tailed Lemurs, an animal so beloved through its appearance on the cinema screen. The Zen Garden is a unique exhibition inspired by Japanese gardens and the majestic mountain ranges of Asia that can be appreciated in the AquaViva exhibition, the home of the most spectacular jellyfish.

Thus, it is not surprising that Loro Parque has a large number of worldwide recognitions, which reward its commitment to excellence and its absolute concern for animal welfare. In the 47 years of its history and after having received some 50 million visitors in its facilities, the Park has received the Plaque and the Gold Medal for Tourist Merit awarded by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain, the Gold Medal of the Government of the Canary Islands, of the city of Puerto de la Cruz and of the Island Council of Tenerife, among other awards. Loro Parque is also the only company in the Canary Islands that has received the Prince Felipe Award for Business Excellence, as well as it is the only zoo in Europe that has the “American Certified” Animal Welfare Certification from the respected organization American Humane (USA).

For Loro Parque, these recognitions imply a responsibility and, therefore, it has a clear mission for the protection of the environment. Thus, as a wildlife conservation centre and through the Loro Parque Foundation, it has managed to save nine species from imminent extinction. Also, as part of this commitment, since 2018 the Park has implemented a strategy of elimination of single-use plastic, becoming one of the first zoos in Europe that replaces plastic water bottles by other biodegradable and compostable bottles, to stop producing waste from these bottles for single use.

This is why each year the Park awards its traditional Premio Gorila award, with which it values environmental responsibility, taking into account strategies and actions to conserve biodiversity and the sustainable use of resources. On this occasion, the award went to Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, for his customer-oriented policy with a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, in addition to reward Jet2.com as the first airline that reduces the use of plastic on board.

Also, as part of this philosophy, Loro Parque has organized for the end of November an event to raise awareness about the impact of plastic on the planet, in collaboration with the University of La Laguna in Tenerife. Thus, sculptures made from recycled materials will be installed in different places of reference on the island, to mobilise the consciences of locals and visitors and to encourage them to change their habits.

More information at: https://www.loroparque.com/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/loroparque/  https://www.instagram.com/loroparque/ / https://twitter.com/LoroParque

Siam Park: the Best Water Park in the World for six years in a row!

There is no doubt: Siam Park is the best aquatic park that exists in the world, and it is located in Spain. This has been confirmed by the Travellers’ Choice Award, which Siam Park has received for six consecutive years thanks to the positive ratings of its visitors on the prestigious travel portal TripAdvisor. Siam Park is the only park that has achieved this distinction so many times in a row, and also the only one that has received this award since TripAdvisor inaugurated the “water parks” category six years ago.

This repeated recognition is undoubtedly the result of constant innovation and reinvestment of the Loro Parque Company in all its projects, with which it always pursues excellence. In addition to being a reference in the TripAdvisor awards, it also has international recognition from organizations such as the leading magazine and signifier in the valuation of theme parks Kirmes & Park Revue, which has awarded Siam Park with the European Star Award for best water park in Europe for the seventh consecutive year, among many others.

The beauty of this park, in itself, is an incomparable attraction, and nothing is like being able to enjoy attractions that are unique in the world, in an unprecedented setting of lush vegetation and Thai design and decoration.

More information at: https://siampark.net/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/siampark/ / https://www.instagram.com/siampark/ / https://twitter.com/siampark

Poema del Mar, an Spectacular Aquarium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Poema del Mar, one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, inaugurated in 2017, has turned the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria into a strategic location for tourism.

Thus, just two years after its opening, this spacious aquarium offers its visitors a unique opportunity: take a trip to the deepest ocean with its Deep Sea exhibition, which has the world’s largest curved exhibition window, 36 meters wide and 7.35 meters high, as well as 39 centimeters thick. With a total tank depth of 8.5 meters and 5.5 million liters of water, Deep Sea allows you to observe the wonders of the depths of the oceans in an incomparable surrounding and about 3,000 specimens of up to 40 different species that swim in its dark waters.

Poema del Mar has a firm commitment to innovation, biodiversity conservation and excellence in sustainable tourism. It is no coincidence that the authorities of the Canary Islands have considered it “of strategic interest for the region”, which reinforces the promotion of Gran Canaria, and the entire archipelago, as one of the best tourist destinations on an international level.

More information at: https://poema-del-mar.com/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/poemadelmar/ / https://www.instagram.com/poema_del_mar/ / https://twitter.com/poemadelmar

Loro Parque Fundación: 25 Years of Commitment and Love for Nature

In 1994, Loro Parque consolidated its firm commitment to environmental work through the creation of the Loro Parque Fundación, an international non-profit organization specializing in the conservation and protection of species of parrots and marine mammals, amongst other animals, that are in danger of extinction.

Each year, thanks to Loro Parque’s funding of the Foundation’s operational costs, 100% of the donations received go directly to in situ and ex situ conservation and/or education projects. Thus, ‘100% for nature’ is not just a slogan, but goes much further: it is a reality.

Its numbers and results speak for themselves: more than $ 21 million USD invested in over 180 projects on five continents, and nine species of parrots saved directly from imminent extinction.

In addition, Loro Parque Fundación maintains a firm commitment to the marine biodiversity of the Canary Islands and dedicates a significant part of its resources to its protection through projects with Loro Parque Fundación and the Poema del Mar aquarium.

More information at: http://www.loroparque-fundacion.org/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/loroparquefundacion/ https://www.instagram.com/loroparque_fundacion/ / https://twitter.com/lp__fundacion

Hotel Botánico & The Oriental Spa Garden, elegance and comfort

The 5***** Grand Luxury Hotel Bótanico ensures the highest quality by belonging to The Leading Hotels of the World. Located in Puerto de la Cruz, to the north of the island of Tenerife, it offers incomparable views of the Teide and the Atlantic Ocean. It also has an extensive collection of paintings by various Canarian artists that makes its customers feel that they are in a unique place.

Recently, it has received the TUI Holly 2019 award, the Condé Nast Johansen’s 2019 award for the best hotel with Spa in Europe and the Mediterranean, and the HolidayCheck award 2019, which have come to add to an extensive list of recognitions. Thus, the Hotel Botánico has seen its position strengthened once again, as a safe and quality choice when spending a holiday in Tenerife.

Relaxing and beauty treatments are offered in its exclusive spa The Oriental Spa Garden, with new anti-stress and détox treatments based on aloe vera and ayurveda. It also offers beauty treatments with the prestigious Dr. Krulig. An extraordinary holiday in one of the most beautiful environments in the north of Tenerife would undoubtedly be a real gift.

More information at: https://hotelbotanico.com/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/hotelbotanico/ / https://www.instagram.com/hotelbotanico/ / https://twitter.com/hotelbotanico

Botánico Slim & Wellness, a New Gastronomic Offer at the Hotel Botanico

June 2019, The Hotel Botánico & The Oriental Spa Garden has launched a new weight loss program, which will allow their guests to delight themselves with delicious, low-calorie cuisine in an idyllic environment. A combination of taste and aromas will make you forget you are on a diet. This method carefully elaborated by some of the most respected French chefs from the region of Brittany completely removes any fats and promotes intelligent consumption of proteins and carbohydrates, while also boosting the primary flavors and the freshness of ingredients. The secret of program is that the dishes are prepared in right proportions and ensure that the diners feel satisfied with the meal without having to renounce the pleasures of fine eating.

Thanks to this program, which also includes specialized treatments offered by The Oriental Spa Garden, recognized by Conde Nast as the Best Spa in Europe and the Mediterranean, it is now easier than ever to get back in shape and regain vitality and energy, while also improving your overall wellness and the balance between a body and a mind.

More information at: https://slimandwellness.com/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/hotelbotanico/ / https://www.instagram.com/hotelbotanico/ / https://twitter.com/hotelbotanico

Brunelli’s, Four Years Offering the Best Meat at this side of the Atlantic

American Style Steakhouse Brunelli’s is located in front of Loro Parque, is to be congratulated because it has been considered the “reference of the best meat in the Canary Islands” by important gastronomic supplements such as Metropolis of El Mundo and “the best meat restaurant in Tenerife” by TripAdvisor in 2018.

Thus, since its opening four years ago, this establishment in the style of a typical American steakhouse has revolutionised the gastronomic offer of Puerto de la Cruz, in the north of Tenerife, with its impressive range of meats: Ávila steak, beef entrecote of Black Angus, and so on. The best cuts prepared in a very special way. All this, thanks to the fact that Brunelli’s has a unique oven in the Canary Islands, capable of cooking meat at 800º, maintaining all the flavour with the juiciest texture.

Its offer is rounded off with an excellent wine list, varied desserts, a careful service, and the possibility of gazing at the best sunsets on the island from its large terrace that opens to the sea. That is why Brunelli’s is known for having the best meat on this side of the Atlantic: in Puerto de la Cruz, in the north of Tenerife.

More information at: https://brunellis.com/ Follow us on: https://www.facebook.com/brunellissteakhouse/ / https://www.instagram.com/brunellissteak/ / https://twitter.com/brunellissteak 

The Loro Parque aquarium exhibits nine different species of jellyfish Self-reproduced for the first time in Spain

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The Loro Parque aquarium has become the only place in Spain where up to nine different species of jellyfish can be observed in its AquaViva exhibition.  This record has allowed experts to obtain a wide knowledge of the animals and their populations.

This great exhibition has become a valuable tool for research and conservation.  Thus the work of the aquarium team in self-cultivating their own species helps them to know their biological needs and to be able to apply all that knowledge in favour of their preservation.  This cultivation process means that jellyfish are born from the asexual phase from polyps, which is common in the study of these species in research centres and other aquariums around the world.

These invertebrates, which are composed of 95 per cent water, play a very important role in the marine world because they are very necessary to control stocks of plankton (mostly zooplankton) and provide hydration in the diet of migratory predators.

So, despite their ‘bad reputation’, these animals are a great link in the marine food chain.  In fact, these invertebrate organisms are bio-indicators of the health of our oceans and can function as organisms that, by proliferating, deregulate entire ecosystems.

In Loro Parque, visitors can observe and learn about the following nine specimens: Phyllorhiza punctata, Sanderia malayensis, Chrysaora achlyos, Chrysaora colorata, Chrysaora pacifica, Rhizostoma pulmo, Pelagia noctiluca, Phacellophora camtschatica and Aurelia aurita.  In addition, three other new species are already growing in quarantine and it is hoped that they will be able to be observed in the exhibition in the coming months.

The preservation of cetaceans and the sustainable development of the Macaronesian Atlantic Area, are the main objectives of the MARCET II project

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The INTERREG project, known as MARCET, today begins its second stage of activity and launches several scientific and technological research studies that will, over the next three years, allow it to evaluate and analyse the impact of human activity in marine protected areas of the Macaronesian Atlantic, using cetaceans as protagonists, not only because they are considered emblematic species, but also because they are bioindicators of the healthy environmental status of the marine areas where they reside and umbrellas for the protection of the marine ecosystem.  This project will also contribute to the development of environmental and economic sustainability criteria, with special attention to the activity of cetacean observation.

MARCET II is an initiative led by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, via the University Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA-ULPGC) and has the direct participation of fifteen other institutions and organisations from the four Macaronesian archipelagos: PLOCAN, CETECIMA, The Loro Parque Foundation, Tenerife Tourism, CEAMAR, the University of La Laguna (ULL), Madeira’s Baleia Museum and Oceanic Observatory, the Institute of Forests and Conservation of Nature IFCN IP-RAM), the Regional Directorate of Sea Affairs (DRAM), the University of the Azores, Cap Verde’s National Directorate of the Environment, the National Institute of Fisheries Development (INDP), BIOS. CV and the Association of Biologists and Researchers of Cape Verde (ABI-CV).

At the initial working meeting of this second phase, which took place in the Elder Museum of Science and Technology, representatives of all participating entities were present and the inauguration was in the hands of the Director of the University Institute of Animal Health and promoter of the project, Antonio Fernández, accompanied by the Vice-rectors of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer of the Universities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of La Laguna, José Pablo Suárez Rivero and Ernesto Pereda, respectively.

“The evaluation of the impact generated by human activities on specific marine areas through the environmental, health and oceanographic studies proposed in the MARCET II Project will help to implement actions aimed at the protection and conservation of groups of cetaceans living in these areas and, by extension, of the entire marine ecosystem on which they depend,” said Antonio Fernández, but, above all, he added, “they will be useful in establishing ways to build a model of sustainable economic development and to guarantee a quality of life for all the species that inhabit the Macaronesian region, including human beings”.

For his part, Ernesto Pereda, stressed that “the multidisciplinary approach of the project is the most appropriate way to improve sustainability in the sighting of cetaceans and thus the life of Canarian society” thereby fulfilling the contribution of the transfer of knowledge made by the university.  Along the same lines, his counterpart, Suárez Rivero, stressed the importance of the collaboration between the two Canarian universities, as well as the role of IUSA in the creation of knowledge networks and MARCET II “is exemplary in this sense”, he pointed out.

The first part of the MARCET project, which began in 2017 and has just ended, was created with the aim of transferring and disseminating cutting-edge science and technologies to promote the sustainable development of tourism associated with cetacean sighting, through the creation and implementation of the MARCET Network, an inter-regional and multidisciplinary network that brings together centres specialising in the surveillance and health monitoring of cetaceans and in operational oceanography, with the aim of integrating, harmonising and optimising knowledge, infrastructures and good practices in the region.

Thanks to the use of the now established MARCET Network, the harmonisation of working protocols and their integration to protect and conserve the cetacean populations of Macaronesia from a multidisciplinary point of view, and the knowledge acquired on the current situation of the tourism sector associated with the observation activity of these species in the region, this new initiative, the MARCET II Project, has been created, with the aim of increasing the value of this activity as a model of sustainable economic development in the Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde), thus strengthening the ecotourism market niche that this activity represents and, at the same time, establishing sustainability criteria applied to the resident cetacean species that serve as a tourist attraction.

To this end, MARCET II is technically structured in three specific objectives, the first, considered key to the establishment of ecological and environmental sustainability criteria, integrates the use of advanced techniques of operational oceanography, as well as the monitoring and sanitary surveillance of cetaceans resident in marine protected areas and of special interest for this ecotourism activity in the Macaronesia, using as the main indicator species the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), to evaluate the possible presence of risk factors of anthropogenic origin linked to these marine areas.

The other two objectives are aimed at enhancing the value of cetaceans as a natural heritage and as a differentiated economic resource of special importance for the associated ecotourism sector in the Macaronesian region. In this respect, actions will be carried out to disseminate and raise awareness of the diversity of cetacean species existing in the region, as well as the importance of protecting and conserving the marine areas in which they reside. The third specific objective is to strengthen the entrepreneurial activity of cetacean observation as a model of sustainable economic development in the Macaronesian region.