In July 2003, Mexico imported 28 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands for the Atlantida facility, despite widespread opposition from both CITES members and non-governmental organizations.
The Atlantida facility located in the aquatic Wet ‘n Wild park in Parque Nizuc, in Cancun's hotel zone, now offers many programs including: the Dolphin Interactive program, Dolphin Swim program, and Trainer for a Day.
At least 12 of the original 28 dolphins exported to Mexico died within five years of their transport; an appalling mortality rate for a species that can live for 40-50 years. One dolphin died within a month of arrival, apparantly due to transport-related stress (a common occurrence). Six more died in the following two years of causes ranging from myopathy, neurogenic shock and pneumonia.
In February 2006, Mexico’s experience with this single import led the Mexican government to impose an outright ban on the importation and exportation of live cetaceans for entertainment purposes.
“…we urge you to consider our experiences and the disturbing mortality suffered by these animals when evaluating permits for live dolphin imports from Solomon Islands.”
Senator Jorge Legorreta Ordorica
Committee of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries
Letter regarding Resorts World, Singapore