Huge £ 18million robotic dolphins could replace captive animals in marine parks

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The robotic dolphins that weigh 250kg and behave like their real-life counterparts could be used to end the welfare issues surrounding the multibillion pound captive industry.

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Dolphin Spirit: Edge Innovations Presents Robotic Dolphins

Quarter-ton robotic dolphins costing £ 18million each could replace animals at controversial water parks.

The 2.5-meter creations are coated with medical-grade silicone and can swim underwater and behave like their real-life counterparts, even performing tricks for crowds.

The brainchild of an animatronic company that created creatures for Hollywood blockbusters such as Free Willy, Deep Blue Sea, Avatar, Flipper, and Anaconda. captive pound industry.

Social welfare organization PETA posted photos of the incredibly lifelike robot Delle swimming alongside children at John C. Argue Swim Stadium in Los Angeles, The Sun reports.

The group said the technology could allow humans to discover and learn about dolphins without leaving them in concrete tanks.







Delle, the animatronic dolphin, swims in the pool during the launch event
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)








Children play with Delle the animatronic dolphin
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)


Activist Katherine Sullivan added: “There is an end in sight to the cruel ‘swim with the dolphins’ programs, in which young dolphins are traumatically removed from their ocean homes and frenzied mothers, sometimes illegally.

In Europe, 20 countries have already banned or restricted animals in circuses, but experiences with dolphins in places like Orlando, Florida draw hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Although the drop in income suggests that the public is put off by the welfare issues.

Created by New Zealand-based Edge Innovations, The Dolphin could bring these people back, CEO Walt Conti said.

The high price is four times what a living dolphin would cost at theme parks and rumors say Chinese investors have funded early work on the project while committing to use the robots in all new parks built in the country.







Delle costs £ 18million and acts like a real dolphin
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)








Delle the animatronic dolphin weighs 250 kg and is 2.5 meters long
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Picture:

AFP via Getty Images)


Edge previously said that although the cost is high, robotic dolphins do not require the same amount of care and temperature monitoring and outlive their living counterparts, who only survive an average of 20 years in captivity compared to 30 in 50 years in nature.

Edge’s animatronic program creative director Roger Holzberg added, “The idea is to really create a sort of Sesame Street underwater.

“These characters taught a generation how to feel different types of aspects of humanity in ways that had never been imagined before. And that’s what we dream of with this project.

Previously, the testing audience had not been able to tell that the animatronic dolphins were not real.

The fact that it is robotic also allows it to get close to humans, which would not normally be safe for the animal.

However, the application of technology does not stop only at dolphins.

Edge’s previous experience means thrill seekers might have the opportunity to swim with great white sharks and even Jurassic-era reptiles.

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