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Dolphins in Dilijan Hotel Kept Under Unadopted Russian Law, Expert Says

The Best Western Paradise Hotel in the town of Dilijan in Armenia, the “only hotel in the region” which offers its guests dolphin assisted therapy and swimming with dolphins services, is keeping the dolphins under a yet-to-be-adopted Russian law, Epress.am was told by Center for Bird Lovers head Silva Adamyan.

“We’d applied to the Ministry of Nature and [other inspection bodies] with a request to conduct checks [at the dolphinarium]. The authorities looked into the matter and reported back that the dolphins’ import documents were fine and that the mammals were all equipped with a tracking device. In addition, we were sent a package, which also included a document about the Sochi dolphinarium,” Adamyan said.

According to the expert, the documents provided by the authorities give reason to assume that the hotel in Dilijan “is is carrying out illegal activities.”

“The documents say that the dolphins are kept in accordance with a Russian bill on dolphins. The organization which imported the mammals is Russian; in Russia, they have put forward a bill which has yet to be adopted, and they have therefore no legal right to keep these dolphins in the Dilijan hotel,” Adamyan argued, stressing that organizations in Armenia “have to work in accordance with international standards and not unapproved Russian laws.”

What’s more, Adamyan went on, the aquariums in the Dilijan hotel do not correspond to international standards: “Dolphinariums should not have acute angles. These mammals are used to long-distance swimming. They have an organ in their heads which helps them detect these barriers, and when they do, they begin behaving abnormally and hitting themselves against the walls of the aquarium,” the expert said, adding that the hotel pools are in fact designed for humans.