Japanese Dolphinariums 101: Tsukumi Irukajima

General Info: Tsukumi Irukajima (うみたま体験パーク つくみイルカ島)  was opened in 2011 by Marine Palace (who also runs Umitamago Aquarium in Oita) and the Tsukumi city government. Since opening, the dolphinarium has seen an attendance drop of 50%.


  • April 2016, since the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) banned the practice of their members acquiring dolphins from drive fisheries, many dolphinariums have been struggling with a source for new cetaceans. Tsukumi Irukajima announced that they would be creating a breeding center to "provide the marine mammals for aquariums nationwide."

  • Later that month, an Asahi Shimbum article has stated that "marine Palace touts Tsukumi Irukajima as a breeding center for dolphins, but no successful breeding has been reported there. Fourteen male and female bottlenose dolphins are currently kept at Tsukumi Irukajima. Although some of the dolphins have mated, none of them have become pregnant, according to officials."

  • May 2017, a calf is born on May 14, 2017 to dolphins Saki (estimated 12 years old, wild capture) and Athens (estimated 12 years old, captive born at Enoshima Aquarium, transferred to Kyoto Aquarium, the transferred again to Tsukumi Irukajima). The calf was put on display at just 3 days old. Information on lineage below.

  • The mother Saki was captured from the wild when she was pregnant. She gave birth in 2010 once at Tsukumi Irukajima, but the calf died within 20 days. The calf's died after becoming entangled in the metal fence inside the pool.

Taiji Affiliation? Yes. As of 2017, there is a total of 14 bottlenose dolphins at Tsukumi Irukajima and 13 of them were captured in Taiji.

How To Help Spread The Word?

You can reach millions on social media! Don't let a language barrier stop you! You can copy and paste the following phrases to their guests on their social media accounts linked below.

  • 水族館でイルカショーを見る前に「ザ・コーヴ」を見てください (Please watch The Cove before buying a ticket to dolphinariums)

  • 動物は自然界で生きるべきです (Animals belong in the wild)

  • You can also comment with the link DOLPHINFRIENDS.JP! It links to The Cove in Japanese!

Tag them on Instagram! #つくみイルカ島 (copy and paste this hashtag into the captions of your anti-captivity posts)

Their social media pages:



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