We are aware of at least two other cetaceans who have passed through CRAM-Q and have suffered. However, this facility isn't the only one that rescues cetaceans. World-wide, at least 13 species of cetaceans have been 'rescued' and then used in commercial facilities - in shows, swim-with programs, for trading or for breeding (their offspring can then be traded). See the section on Morgan's Law (on our OBJECTIVES page) for details about our support of the EU-wide law to prevent this.
As outlined in 'Martinha's Story', Barra was another common dolphin rescued by CRAM-Q. She was found entangled in a net, near Barra Beach, Portugal, hence her name.
Shortly after reaching the rescue centre, Barra, who was pregnant when she arrived, miscarried. We can find no details regarding the age of the foetus nor what provoked the miscarriage. Obviously, the stress of entanglement, the rescue and/or the transport can’t be excluded as contributing factors. Barra was placed into the tiny concrete tank with Martinha. Although providing each other company, this tank was unacceptably small for a single dolphin and the bio-loading from the dolphins' excrement created a situation where the filtration system could not cope.
CRAM-Q kept Barra in a 'temporary' medical tank (inside), until July 2013 (over half a year). Eventually, she was moved to the larger pool with Martinha. During her time at CRAM-Q Barra repeatedly rubbed her pectoral flipper edges and the tip of her rostrum on the walls of both tanks. These types of wounds are indicative of poor welfare.
Just like Martinha, Barra was subsequently classified as un-releasable due to 'health issues' similar to Martinha (liver and colic problems according to facebook statements by CRAM-Q). She remained in the facilities of CRAM-Q for at least 1½ years, but at some point after this we believe she died. We do not know the exact date of her death/disappearance. If she died the cause of her death remains unreported. Our investigations point to a wide time-frame, between 2014 and 2017, for when she appears to have disappeared.
When searching online, we found this image of at least one dead dolphin (possibly up to seven dolphins) in the freezer at CRAM. The one at the top appears to be a common dolphin. Could this be Barra? Could this be Martinha? Without transparency, we simply don't know. The photo is dated 'Oct 2016', which is within the time-frame during which Barra disappeared and also our last evidence that Martinha was at CRAM-Q. Please note that we fully support science and the knowledge that is gained from necropsies (animal autopsies) however, it is unclear from this photo where these dolphins came from.
A juvenile male long-finned pilot whale, called Nazaré, was rescued after a stranding at Nazaré Beach, north of Lisbon, Portugal, on 27 August 2006.
Just like Martinha, Nazaré belonged to an extremely social species, but in this case would grow to a size that CRAM-Q could not hold (reaching over 6m in length). In November 2006, they shipped him to the Lisbon Zoo, where he performed three times a day, every day of the year, in the commercial shows at the dolphinarium.
Nazaré developed 'stereotypies' (abnormal repetitive behaviours), which resulted in self-harming wounds on the tip of his rostrum. These types of behaviours are rampant in captive cetaceans.
During testing of Nazaré's hearing, it became apparent that he could not hear in the normal upper ranges expected for this species, despite his youth (as with all mammals, older cetaceans lose some of their hearing). Investigations of his medical records showed that he had been treated with antibiotics, which are known to cause hearing loss in some cetaceans treated with these drugs. In 2009, Nazaré died at the age of only 3 years. The necropsy did not establish a cause of death.
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