Gulfport, Mississippi is about to make another huge mistake for the state with its plans to imprison dolphins in a new aquarium - don't let it happen!
Mississippi already has a huge problem with dolphin and whale captivity, thanks to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, which landed the #7 spot on our Ten Worst Tanks List. However, the city of Gulfport, Mississippi is about to create another huge mistake for the state if it includes cetaceans in its plans for a new aquarium being built on the coast.
The so-called Mississippi Aquarium has already faced its share of controversy. Back in November 2016, a reporter from Mississippi Watchdog.org analyzed a marketing study on the aquarium that was commissioned by the city. He provided an overall cautionary analysis, noting that large projects like the Aquarium tend to not bring in nearly as much revenue as their supporters expect this means serious debt that can be shouldered by the taxpayers. But, even worse for Mississippi, this analysis was done before the project's budget was announced to have jumped by 15%, bringing it to a whopping $93 million!
There are other signs of trouble for the Aquarium. David J. Kimmel has been named the lead consultant of the project and, according to his LinkedIn profile, is also going to be the Aquarium's President and CEO. This is bad news because his previous employment includes being the president of the Georgia Aquarium, a deplorable facility that landed the #4 spot on our Ten Worst Tanks List.
Because the Aquarium must now find additional revenue streams thanks to its burgeoning budget, the project could be completed in phases, with the first one being ready in 2019, according to Carole Lynn Meadows, chairperson of the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission that is overseeing the project. This means that now is the time for public pressure to ensure that this facility excludes dolphins or whales from its plans.
We have already asked in a previous alert (that is still open for you to sign if you haven't before) that you send a letter to Mayor Billy Hews and make a call to Governor Bryant, both of whom support the project. Now we need for you take some follow up action on behalf of dolphins and whales.
1) Please make a call to Gulfport Mayor Billy Hews:
(228) 868-5700 (ask to speak with Mayor's office)
If you didn't call Governor Phil Bryant before, please call him now:
(601) 359-3150 (bonus points for calling again to remind him of your position!)
2) Submit our alert which will send a letter to Carole Lynn Meadows, Chair of the Gulfport Redevelopment Commission.
Remove Dolphins and Whales from Mississippi Aquarium Plans!
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from In Defense of Animals.
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