It was a sea of blue outside the construction site of the new La Isla Mall in the Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Nearly 130 activists gathered to protest the (GICSA) mall developer's plan to have a dolphin tank inside the structure. They already have a mall in Cancun with a dolphin and orca tank.
"This is a peaceful demonstration to get to the developer," says Alexi Pinero, one of the event's organizers, "we want to approach the developer and we want him to be aware that we are not OK with putting live dolphins in a shopping mall." She was overwhelmed by the amount of people that showed up. "It is extremely fulfilling and I'm so happy because we know that the Vallarta community is a really tight community and it is a blend of different cultures and backgrounds and we just love the way all ages showed up to support us and our efforts."
"I noticed that a mall was being built and I thought great, so I went online and found out that there was going to be a dolphinarium inside," says, Kerry Moeller, Protester, "I immediately got on social media and discovered that many people were against this." She was later informed by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit marine conservation organization, who are her friends, and they told her to reach out to the Empty The Tanks campaign worldwide and later formed the Puerto Vallarta chapter. "This is awesome, it has only taken two weeks to put this together and I feel we have had a good start."
"We are here because we are quite upset to hear that three more dolphins are going to be placed in a tank in a shopping mall," says Nicole Martin, animal activist, "I've been in Vallarta since 1989 and been involved with various animal non-profits, my latest endeavor, Mamas in PV, was very active in getting live animals out of circuses." She thinks it is amazing the amount of people that have showed up. There are people from all over the world as well as locals, all these people believe that dolphins should not be in captivity. "No one should pay to go to a dolphin show, it is a horrible life for those animals," says Nicole, "there is so much information out there that confirms this, but go ahead and do some research, watch documentaries on what happens to these animals in captivity and hopefully you will change your mind."
GICSA is a development company that has been in the business for over 25 years. They have done residential, commercial and industrial projects; but for the last ten years have focused mainly on shopping centers. They have twenty five across Mexico. The one in Cancun has a dolphin and orca tank.