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Importance of Animal Welfare Accreditations for Marine Animals

August 08, 2022 / dolphins,

Exceptional care is both a promise and a point of pride at Dolphins Plus. We are committed to providing the absolute best for our dolphins. Our professionals are rigorously trained and vetted to ensure that our dolphins receive the loving, attentive care they deserve.

Accountability is imperative — and at Dolphins Plus, we're the first to acknowledge and even embrace this reality. We strongly believe in the power of research and oversight to ensure that marine animal welfare remains central to our work.

While many resources can provide such oversight, nothing inspires confidence or spurs necessary change quite like industry accreditations and association memberships. These verify our commitment to marine animal welfare through rigorous testing. The goal? To verify that our dedication to dolphin welfare never wavers. Our affiliations also deliver access to top resources, including the latest research on marine mammal care.

Animal Welfare Accreditations: Top Options for Marine Animals

At Dolphins Plus, we're proud to maintain accreditations from top industry authorities, including the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association (IMATA). These organizations are widely respected for their cutting-edge research — and their commitment to promoting marine animal welfare.

Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums

As the main accrediting organization for international zoos, marine parks, aquariums, and numerous other facilities, AMMPA boasts a strong reputation. Accreditations from AMMPA convey an elite level of care for marine animals such as dolphins, manatees, whales, and sea lions.

The comprehensive standards developed and maintained by AMMPA cover a dozen areas of importance, such as animal training, water quality, breeding, transportation, and animal husbandry. These standards were created under strict supervision from veterinarians, scientists, and animal care specialists. Accredited members must meet or exceed these rigorous guidelines to inspire public confidence in their work with marine animals.

As an AMMPA member, Dolphins Plus fulfills the organization's strict standards. This includes following the International Code of Best Practices for Dolphin Facilities. This draws on decades of experience from highly trusted professionals, along with the latest and most relevant research on marine animal care. 

International Marine Animal Trainers' Association

IMATA advances the professional and humane care of marine animals worldwide. This organization provides a wealth of research for current and aspiring marine animal trainers, with the intention of helping them "act as ambassadors of the marine animal community." Top offerings from IMATA include seminars, workshops, conferences, and written publications.

Through IMATA, members are able to learn about today's most effective management techniques. This, in turn, ensures that the public enjoys positive experiences with marine animals and is, therefore, more committed to long-term conservation. Membership is available to professionals, students, organizations, and even everyday individuals with a passion for marine science.

Members of IMATA commit to following a strict Code of Ethics. This references the need for members to show dignity and respect to both humans and animals, as well as the importance of disseminating important research at the facility level. Professional integrity and cooperation between members are also heavily encouraged.

Why Are These Accreditations So Important?

As we've touched on previously, accreditations are key for promoting animal welfare in a wide array of settings and situations. No matter how respected or beloved, all facilities and organizations that work with marine animals must receive regular feedback to ensure that their approach remains in line with the latest industry standards. Yes, government oversight exists, but we believe in going above and beyond baseline federal regulations to provide the best possible standard of care.

Insight from IMATA reveals that the right accreditations and affiliations can impact large-scale environmental initiatives. One of the main objectives of modern marine animal encounters is to foster greater awareness of and compassion for these wonderful mammals. Through building close connections with dolphins and other marine animals, people become more invested in the mission to protect crucial habitats while improving water quality.

Accreditation ensures that the public can continue to build empathy through these encounters without compromising the health and safety of the marine animals they meet. At Dolphin Plus, we recognize the need to adhere closely to animal welfare regulations for our animal ambassadors while also promoting strong conservation programs for all marine animals.

In addition to impacting our dolphin encounters, our cooperation with accreditation programs plays heavily into our research initiatives and our work with Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder (DPMMR). This 501(c)3 facility includes a unit made up of the industry's most skilled veterinarians and other marine mammal experts. These amazing individuals work hard to save stranded dolphins or whales, which are all too often left vulnerable to fishing lines or negligent boaters.

Learn More About Our Dolphins

Now that you're familiar with our humane approach at Dolphins Plus — and our clear commitment to animal welfare — you can feel confident as you prepare to meet our dolphins. We provide many opportunities to get to know these wonderful marine animals.

From the Signature Swim to encounters in shallow water or even painting side-by-side, there truly is something for everyone. If you sign up for our Insider Program, you can also Follow Our Dolphins from afar. Reach out today to learn more about these and many other exciting opportunities.

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