Coral World Announces Construction to Begin on Ocean Dolphin Habitat

Rose the sea lion comes to live at Coral World Ocean Park

Coral World Ocean Park has announced it has received all necessary permits to allow construction to begin on its state-of-the-art, in-ocean dolphin habitat.  General curator Lee Kellar said, “We expect the first barges carrying equipment and materials to arrive on March 7.  Once they clear customs, they will head to Water Bay to position for construction work.”

The landside Dolphin Education Center was completed about a year ago and has served as housing for a large number of employees during and after hurricanes Irma and Maria.  In response to the desire of cruise lines to come back to St. Thomas as quickly as possible, Coral World staff restored Coral World to operation, according to Trudie Prior, general manager. 

The park reopened on Nov. 12 and has been offering guided tours as well as several activities despite the loss of two major exhibits.  It is open to all on days when it has tours scheduled on cruise ships.

Coral World expects the major components of the facility will be completed in July.  Coral World has been accredited since 2015 by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AAMPA).  According to Kellar, “The Coral World facility will meet the most stringent federal standards and AAMPA standards and guidelines.”

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

Prior observed, “We had a top-notch marine engineering firm Moffat & Nichol review and refine our plans, so that we are confident the design of this facility is environmentally sensitive and will provide an excellent home for the dolphins.” 

Once the finishing touches are done, Coral World will bring the initial six dolphins allowed under its Coastal Zone Management permit to their new home.  Kellar said, “We won’t begin programs immediately as the dolphins will need some time to adjust.  Our trainers will work with them to ensure they are comfortable in this new setting.  We hope the public will be able to interact with the dolphins by late fall.”

The dolphin facility is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the St. Thomas tourism product and will significantly expand the opportunities at Coral World for residents and visitors to engage with marine animals and learn from those experiences. 

Since its reopening in 1998 under current ownership, Coral World has espoused the view of Baba Dioum, a noted Senegalese naturalist: “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

11 COMMENTS

  1. What a buncha BS!
    “In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”

    If they truly loved these sentient, intelligent, beautiful creatures they wouldn’t be putting them on display in a small scale enclosure that in no way replicates their life in the ocean, particularly in a bay that already regularly tests highly positive for enterococi bacteria and endangering them, swimmers and beachgoers in Water Bay with the added dolphin waste being discharged into the bay 24/7/365.

    It is because of these types of marine parks, that dolphins are continued to be hunted, culled and slaughtered so that they can be enslaved and bred into a dismal, sterile live in captivity, for the sake of greed and entertainment of the unenlightened.

    “The Humane Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals have stated that they believe that “the entire captive experience for marine mammals is so sterile and contrary to even the most basic elements of compassion and humanity that it should be rejected outright.”

    DON’T BUY A TICKET!
    BOYCOTT CORAL WORLD’S DOLPHIN PRISON CAMP!

  2. Everything about this place is wrong. The dolphins will be close to their real home, the ocean, but remain trapped.
    All for the paying public to fill the coffers of those that bought them and transported them to this place. To be used as playthings, to do silly tricks, to be manhandled.
    If you truly ‘conserve what we love’ you would not visit this place nor give it your money. This is dolphin hell.

  3. No, just NO. As I frequent visitor to the USVI I will never visit Coral World again if this goes through. Nor will I recommend it.

  4. Coral World is buying dolphins and keeping them caged up to make money for their dolphin circus in Water Bay. They plan on artificially inseminating the females and breeding them so they can sell the babies to other backward destinations that still allow captive dolphins to interact with people for $. Dolphin families will be separated so Coral World can make $. The Humane Society of St Thomas is being silent about this horrible inhumane plan. Who is speaking for the voiceless dolphins here in STT? Does the owner of Coral World run the Humane Society? Does the owner of Coral World donate so much money to the Humane Society that they are afraid to speak the truth??? Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

    • To answer your questions, those speaking for the dolphin don’t have the $ nor the political clout equal to that of Trudie Prior, the owner of Coral World. Yes, the owner of Coral World holds sway over the Humane Society. Yes, the owner of Coral World is a huge contributor to the Humane Society. Yes, it is a conflict of interest. And to “Anonymous” regarding “Water Bay will be cleaned”…it hasn’t been clean in many decades and it won’t be anytime in the near future. Water Bay is the cesspool that collects all the chemical and sewage runoff from Smith Bay, which is the same problem that’s gone on for decades and decades, and no, the dolphin will not be safe. They will be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, raw sewage, stress from being forced to perform and separation from pod members, poor diet, and the “dead” water in Water Bay. All one has to do is look at Water Bay…very little living there even now due to the pollution and the lack of current to keep Water Bay cleaned out.

  5. No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.

    Jacques Yves Cousteau

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Support the VI Source

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall - we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. Our sites are more popular than ever, but advertising revenues are falling - so you can see why we could use your help. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. If everybody who appreciates our reporting efforts were to help fund it for as little as $1, our future would be much more secure. Thanks in advance for your support!