Penguins And Dolphin Left To Die In Abandoned Aquarium

A lonely dolphin and 46 penguins are among the dozens of marine life abandoned.

What you need to know
  • Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in Choshi closed in early 2018 due to declining visitors
  • A dolphin and at least 46 penguins are among the dozens of marine life abandoned
  • Visitors to the park started dwindling after the 2011 earthquake

A lone dolphin named Honey swims in a shallow tank, filled with murky water. She is the only dolphin left at the derelict aquarium in Japan.

Around 46 penguins wander around a filthy concrete enclosure that is filled with dust and rubble.

An official with the Chiba Health and Welfare department confirmed to Reuters that the animals remain at the abandoned Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium.

It's estimated hundreds of fish and reptiles have also been left to die after owners of the derelict park shut the doors and walked away from the struggling tourist attraction in January 2018.

Honey, the only dolphin left at the aquarium relies on locals to bring her food. Image: Reuters

The aquarium located east of Tokyo in the Chiba prefecture, had been financially struggling to stay afloat after the 2011 earthquake and nuclear crisis.

There are also indications that the 2009 Oscar winning documentary The Cove, which showed the horror of the annual dolphin hunt in the western port town of Taiji, where hundreds of dolphins are driven into a cove to either be sold off or killed for meat, had put tourists off the once booming attraction.

Honey was one of those bottlenose dolphins, captured and sold to the park in 2005.

Visitors posted negative reviews of the park on websites due to the filthy water and run down, small enclosures the animals lived in. Image: Tripadvisor, Azarashi_azarashi

The park's forgotten marine life rely on locals and a handful of casual employees to bring them food and attempt to care for them as best they can but with no income, it's unknown how long the park can continue to employ the few staff left.

Animal activists have begun pressuring local authorities to save the creatures, along with local residents, who are fed up with watching the them suffer.

Japan is not a country where animal rights are traditionally accepted as a priority, so it's rare for locals to react so strongly to the treatment of the neglected animals.

Even when the park was open it looked run down. Image: Tripadvisor, haruru04

Although the animals are still fed, the conditions they live in are not safe or suitable by any standards.

Akiko Mitsunobu, chief of aquarium issues for Animal Rights Center told Reuters it had recently inspected the park and were not satisfied with Honey's deteriorating health.

“She was showing signs of stress, putting her head weakly in and out of the water,” Mitsunobu said.

There are about 46 penguins still in the aquarium. Image: Tripadvisor, beach847

It's not known what the owners of the abandoned park will do with the remaining animals left behind or why negotiations to transfer the animals to another aquarium failed but activists fear the worst.

"I get feelings of danger and doubt from the fact that they are so silent about this,”said Sachiko Azuma a representative of local activist group PEACE.

City officials say they have been unable to reach the parks representatives.

“As a group that handles animals, they have a responsibility to explain what they intend to do with Honey and the other animals,” Azuma  told Reuters.

Image: Tripadvisor, ohurozuki

Even when the park was in operation, visitors were unhappy with the size of the tanks and crumbling park.

Dozens of negative reviews and photos can be found on tourist sites showing that the aquarium looked shabby and rundown since 2015.

Visitors also criticized the treatment of the animals calling the conditions "heartbreaking" and "disgusting."

Image: Tripadvisor

News of the deserted animals has traveled fast online with thousands taking to social media using the hashtag #SaveHoney pleading with someone to take responsibility before the animals run out of time.

Due to the controversy surrounding The Cove, the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums has since agreed to stop purchasing dolphins from Taiji.

The future of Honey and the other animals is unknown.

READ MORE: Whale Dolphin Hybrid Discovered Off The Coast Of Hawaii

Contact the author: ncarroll@networkten.com.au