Attraction or Exploitation?: Planned dolphin tank in Yerevan raises concerns

Attraction or Exploitation?: Planned dolphin tank in Yerevan raises concerns


News that a tank for holding dolphins and other sea animals is being built in Yerevan has raised concern of ecologists and animal-rights activists who say Armenia is not suitable for such an attraction.

The construction of the circular tank started last month, initiated by a Ukrainian organization – Nerum – on land leased by the Yerevan Municipality. It is being constructed in Komitas Park, near the “Pantheon”.

Silva Adamyan, Head of the Center for Bird Lovers NGO, says that Armenian climate conditions are not favorable for having dolphins here.

“It is an exploitation of an animal,” she says. Further, no public discussion has been held on the use of public space. “Is there an expert’s opinion? Let them submit the documents allowing the import of dolphins.”

Even those who welcome having the old park renovated, say that renovation of the run-down site should not be at the expense of endangering animals.

Environmentalist Knarik Hovhannisyan points out, too, that the Water Resources Management Agency of the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia has not been advised of the dolphin tank, which would require 1,500 cubic meters of water.

“This means that the water may be supplied by ‘Yerevan Jur’ (Yerevan Water) Company, and this means that the dolphin tank will be constructed at the expense of Yerevan residents’ drinking water,” Hovhannisyan says.
While environmentalists try to find out whether legal requirements have been met, construction of the tank continues.

Alexander Merlyan, Director of the Ukrainian Nerum Organization says the tank will be ready for use “in about two months”.

If plans are fulfilled, the tank – five meters deep and 18 meters radius -- would house four dolphins, one sea lion and two seals. The complex would be built to accommodate 900 visitors.