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Two designers have been given an award for creating an animatronic dolphin which could replace animals used in entertainment.

PETA US has honored Roger Holzberg and Walt Conti of Edge Innovations – who it describes as ‘visionaries’ – with an Innovator for Animals Award for their electro-mechanically animated robot dolphin.

Roger Holzberg, former VP/Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, said that the animatronic dolphin is ‘a dream come true’ for ‘those of us that care about marine animal preservation’.

‘Reinvent the marine entertainment industry’

According to Edge Innovations, real-time animatronics ‘provide a way to reinvent the marine entertainment industry with a sustainable, safe, and profitable future’.

They are suitable for use in ‘aquariums, marine parks, theme parks, fountain shows, cruise lines, resort hotels, shopping malls, museums, and more’.

The organization says: “As captive marine mammal shows have fallen from favor; and the catching, transporting and breeding of marine animals has become more restricted, the marine park industry as a viable business has become more challenging – yet the audience appetite for this type of entertainment and education has remained constant.”

‘Visionary designers’

“These visionary designers have thrown a lifeline to sensitive dolphins who are exploited in ‘swim with dolphins’ encounters and archaic marine parks,” PETA director of international programmes, Mimi Bekhechi, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“They’re making waves with this high-tech invention that lets people get up close to dolphins without harming them.”

PETA adds that the public is ‘against imprisoning cetaceans for entertainment’ with a customer survey by Virgin Holidays finding that 92 percent of respondents ‘prefer to see animals in their natural habitat’ rather than in captivity.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.