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Permit Application to Import 3 Bottlenose Dolphins (File No. 22686, Chicago Zoological Society)


Marine Mammal Protection Act
Action Status
Affected Species


The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a permit to the Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo (Bill Zeigler, Responsible Party), 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513, to import up to three bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) for public display.  The issued permit and recommendation memo are provided below under Supporting Materials.  

The permit authorizes the importation of three captive born bottlenose dolphins from Dolphin Quest Bermuda to either the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois or Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for the purpose of public display.  The permit expires on December 1, 2024, or upon the importation of all three dolphins, whichever occurs first. 

On March 19, 2019 (84 FR 10044), NOAA Fisheries published a notice of the permit application.  During the 30-day comment period, we received several requests for a 60-day extension of the comment period and for a public hearing. 

The public comment period was extended for an additional 30 days to provide the public an opportunity to review additional information provided by the Chicago Zoological Society.  However, we determined that a public hearing was not warranted because documentation related to this Marine Mammal Protection Act permit application could be provided in writing. 

In order to allow for a full 30 days for additional public comment, we accepted comments through May 19, 2019, even though the Federal Register notice indicated that the comment period ended on May 16, 2019. 

The Chicago Zoological Society provided additional information regarding the health status of the dolphins and the water quality at Coral World.  In addition, the transport plans were updated regarding the timing and destination of the dolphins to be imported.  The revised application and supplemental application information is provided below.

The public comment period ended on May 19, 2019. 

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Permits and Conservation Division

Phone: 301-427-8401

Last updated by Office of Protected Resources on 12/10/2019