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Self-Proclaimed Marine Mammal “Expert” Targets Brookfield Zoo

Naomi Rose, an animal rights extremist with past ties to the Humane Society of the United States, attempts to object to Brookfield Zoo sending three of its Dolphins to a facility in the Virgin Islands.

By Jenna DeedyPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Dolphin Resident at the Brookfield Zoo. Photo by the Chicago Tribune.

Naomi Rose, an animal rights extremist who often passes herself off as a self-proclaimed expert on orcas and other cetacean species, is currently attempting to protest the Brookfield Zoo’s well-guided plan to send three of its Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to Coral World in St.Thomas Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rose, who is one of the masterminds behind the controversial and questionable Whale Sanctuary Project, claims that the pen where the dolphins are housed in St.Thomas is “polluted” despite the fact that the facility has passed all known regulated environmental conditions and safety standards that are set by the federal government.

What’s The Story?

Recently, the United States National Marine Fisheries Service approved a permit for the Chicago Zoological Society, the parent owner of the Brookfield Zoo, to move three bottlenose dolphins to Coral World for public display, most likely for a long-term loan of some sort. Upon hearing the news about the pending zoo transfer, Naomi Rose, who is currently based at the radical Animal Welfare Institue, took it upon herself to pull off a PR move of her own by issuing a statement about how “disappointed” she was in the government’s decision to allow the animals to move to a new home by claiming that the move would be “stressful” for them.

Yet, this is all coming from a woman who often campaigns to have cetaceans removed from well-managed scientifically accredited facilities in order to have them moved into uncredited, but still, unbuilt “sanctuaries” that would be run by activists who have very little-to-no expertise in marine mammal husbandry and care in the name of animal rights. This means that Rose is obviously creating a double standard by saying that she is against the transfer of animals who were born in a pool-based facility to a pen-based facility for the purpose of breeding, education, and research while advocating for the almost the same exact thing, but only if it were to run by extremists.

In response to Rose’s bland statement, the Chicago Zoological Society revealed that it worked with both Coral World and other facilities that are part of the North American Dolphin Consortium to maintain a healthy population of dolphins in marine zoological facilities across the continent. In addition, it also received a permit to move two other animals in its care to Dolphin Quest in Bermuda as part of a breeding loan.

You may recall Coral World as the facility that has spent years planning a facility to house bottlenose dolphins before finally receiving some animals from a facility in Arizona that had to close down after a number of animals mysteriously died under its care. Some people believe that activists who had repeatedly threatened both the facility and its staff in the two years it was opened, might have possibly broken into the facility a number of times to tamper with the filtration systems. However, there is almost little-to-no evidence that this may have been the case, but what did happen after that was that Dolphin Quest, the organization that loaned out the dolphins to that particular facility, ended up terminating the contract, which then, resulted in having the remaining animals moved to St.Thomas where they have resided ever since. Now, they may soon welcome three more dolphins from Illinois if all continues to go well with the permits and Ms.Rose does not try to sabotage the whole thing.

Rose’s Questionable Credibility

From a glance, it might sound all fine-and-fancy that a “scientist” like Naomi Rose would work for an organization that is supposedly focused on animal welfare. Yet, it all gets a little cracked-up once you realize that the Animal Welfare Institute is not about improving the lives of troubled animals, but another radical anti-zoo organization that targets zoos and aquariums with ties to PETA and other animal rights groups.

In public, Naomi Rose introduces herself as an “orca biologist” who wrote over 30 scientific journals. However, in an investigation by Zoos.Media, it was revealed that only 14 of them were peer-reviewed while the rest remained unpublished. Yet, keep in the mind that the 14 papers that saw serious publications were not even focused on marine mammal biology, but on politics. The sole exception for this is a 1991 paper that is focused on elephant seals. None of the remaining 13 publications focus on killer whale biology.

Rose also has a history with the Humane Society of the United States as its chief biologist as well. During the ’90s and early 2000s, Rose took complete control of a doomed return-to-the-wild project that involved a plan to reintroduce Free Willy star, Keiko, into waters off of Iceland. Rose’s HSUS and the Earth Island Institute, which has current ties to The Cove’s Ric O’Barry, both agreed to release Keiko at all costs. Long story short, when the funds for Keiko’s care ran out, Keiko was released into the wild but ended up in Norway where he sought the companionship of people until his death in 2003. No necropsy was ever performed on him and today, his release is considered to be a failure.

My Word for Ms.Rose

If I were to say something to Ms.Rose on her recent exploits regarding Brookfield, I can tell her is this: Naomi, if you get my message, I want you to know that while I get your concerns about cetaceans, you have no expertise in marine mammal husbandry and care in a zoological setting. The people who are involved with the transfers know what they are doing and if they saw that the move was not in the best interest of the animals’ well-being, they would not have gone through with planning it in the first place. These zoo transfers happen because it is based on what is best to improve the well-being of the animals in their care for health, social, and genetic reasons. These transfers do prevent zoos and aquariums from the possibility of having overcrowding, which can harm animal collections if transfers do not happen. So please, for the love of God, focus on efforts to improve poorly-managed facilities in countries that have very little-to-no animal welfare laws, or even put more effort into protecting all that is left of wild marine mammal habitats that are affected by habitat loss, overfishing, commercial whaling, and the effects of climate change.

wild animals

About the Creator

Jenna Deedy

Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.

Instagram: @jennacostadeedy

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