Costa Rica has introduced a law banning swimming with dolphins or whales in order to safeguard the animals’ health. Keeping either animal in captivity has also been made illegal.
The move follows extensive criticism of the tourism industry that has sprung up around close encounters with the creatures.
Swimming with dolphins is particularly popular in Central America and the Caribbean – in Costa Rica alone there are an estimated 45 companies that advertise trips to view the animals in the open sea.
In Mexico, tourists frequently spend hundreds of pounds to swim with captive dolphins.
Among the dangers cited by environmentalists in relation to swimming with the animals is the risk of infections passing to humans.
Cathy Williamson of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said environmentalists would campaign to extend the new legislation across the globe.
Source: Telegraph (UK)