JunJun the beluga whale lives in a tank. Three times a days she is made to enter the ‘Beluga Whale Theatre’ at the SEA LIFE centre in Shanghai and perform circus tricks for cheering crowds.
She must jump high to get her food reward, she has no ocean to hunt in.
She is trained to turn in circles again and again in the water, to ‘dance’ with her captors for the crowds to see.
Her incredible aquatic agility reduced to a humiliating spectacle for cheap laughs.
Her natural beluga vocalisations manipulated to ‘sing’ along to a children’s xylophone, haunting and desperate.
At the end of the show she returns again to her prison and waits. She will be put through this demeaning routine twice more that day, every day, for the rest of her life at the aquarium.
JunJun the beluga whale was born in the wild ocean in Russia. As a young whale she was captured and brought to China to live in a tank. She and her two beluga friends are made to perform ‘theatrical’ circus-style shows, three times a day for screaming crowds at the Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai. This aquarium is part of the SEA LIFE brand, the same SEA LIFE we have here in the UK.
These beautiful and intelligent animals are forced to perform daily to crowds despite SEA LIFE publicly stating in its centres in the UK that the company is opposed to holding dolphins and whales in captivity.You can read more about SEA LIFE’s involvement with cetacean (whale and dolphin) captivity here.
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It is not just cetaceans that are exploited by Sea Life in demeaning circus-style shows. Sea lions appear in the “Beluga Whale Theatre” each day too:
Beluga photo from the Shangfeng website