SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - There are more details coming out about a controversial "swim with the dolphins," attraction coming to the east valley. A representative of the exhibit is speaking out and revealing some of the company's plans. Despite concerns from animal rights activists, the representative says the dolphins will have excellent care.
The plan will bring around a dozen dolphins to the desert. Their home will be a million gallon tank located off the Loop 101 and Via De Ventura with construction set to finish in the summer.
It's not even open yet, but a wave of protests are already heading for its doors. But the general manager of Dolphinaris Arizona is defending the attraction.
"Only the President of the United States has better health care than these animals are going to receive," said Grey Stafford.
Dolphinaris is based in Mexico and is bring its first US attraction to Arizona, next to the Odysea Aquarium, which is under construction. Odysea says it will not house the dolphins and says it has no role in the project.
The GM of Dolphinaris says this will not be an attraction like Sea World.
"This is not a show environment per se, this is an encounter so we will have those guests encounters for small groups or individuals," said Stafford.
Dolphinaris says the facility will house about a dozen dolphins raised in human care, and they will bring animal experts in from around the country to care for the animals.
"Because they do so well in human care, Phoenix is a perfect destination, we have some 5 million residents and tourists each year, so it's a great audience to reach out and educate and inspire young people of all ages about the need to protect and preserve our ocean," said Stafford.
Still animal rights activists say captivity in the desert is no place for the animals, tens of thousands of activists have signed a petition to block the project.
"And I think once the public understands the harm to dolphins and the potential harm to those who participate in those programs I think they'll think twice," said Courtney Vail.
The dolphins in this desert project are leading the company and activists into uncharted waters.