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International Agencies Back Armenian Environmentalists in Fight Against Dolphinarium

“The dolphins are cut off from [their natural] wild environment, their swimming distance is 100 kilometers; however, let me remind you, that the Yerevan dolphinarium [aquarium populated mainly by dolphins] pool is only 18 meters [in diameter, while the perimeter is 36 meters], 5 meters deep, it’s chlorine water, and it’s unclear in which lab conditions they turn it into salt water, there isn’t a separate pool for them, it’s a pool planned only for attractions and that’s it,” said Ecodar NGO President Hrair Savzyan, speaking to Epress.am about the aquarium opened in Yerevan in December last year that has resulted in a much-publicized protest from activists and environmentalists.

Savzyan noted that when Armenian environmental NGOs sent a joint letter to Armenia’s president, human rights defender (ombudsman) and other high-ranking officials, US-based environmental organizations disseminated it as well and around 50 American and European environmental agencies added their names to the letter.

“By the way, it’s been a month already and there’s been no response or comments from a single body,” added Savzyan, referring to the Armenian officials addressed in their letter.

Ecological Alliance Coordinator Silva Adamyan, speaking to Epress.am, said since there’s been no response from Armenian authorities, they are preparing to file a lawsuit against the dolphinarium.

“At this time, we have a lawyer who is gathering evidence and soon we will appeal to the courts. Because such an illegal action as is constructing a dolphinarium in Yerevan and such silence, that’s unprecedented. Such indifference leading to insolence is unprecedented,” she said.

Note that along with four dolphins, the aquarium is home to two fur seals and one sea lion, who perform three, sometimes four times daily. The dolphins, according to Eurasianet.org, are Pacific Ocean natives brought to Armenia from Japan and are kept in heavily chlorinated water, which environmentalists say might lead to blindness.

“This is a prison for animals, an exploitative circus, and we will not give up our fight,” asserted Adamyan.

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