The St. Petersburg Dolphinarium is reopening for public after the quarantine on September 16.
On this day, the first show is scheduled. The animals and their trainers are actively rehearsing now.
The Dolphinarium team had it hard during the six months of lockdown, but now they are ready to accept the audience, Saint-Petersburg TV Channel reporter Maxim Tarakanov made sure.
When you get in, you forget about the quarantine and restrictions. Everything is as usual. The actors are in the water, and their trainers are on the brink of the pool. Sometimes they change places, though.
Today, bottlenose dolphins are rehearsing. There is a family of them, 23-year old Boyan and his son, 7-year-old Kuplet, and 9-year-old Mark.
Dolphins are intelligent animals.
Maxim Vasiliev, veterinarian, explains: ‘They do most of those tricks because they want to. They are unlike cats or dogs. If a dolphin wants to do something, it will do it and you will see it in the show. And, if it won’t, it just won’t.’
This actor does not care about whistling money away, though money is something the Dolphinarium needs badly now. During the pandemic, it earned nothing. Money earned on making videos was enough just to buy fish for two weeks. The salaries were cut, but no one left the company. The core personnel is 10 trainers and their assistants. All of them are fans of what they do.
Igor Kostov, Executive Director of the Dolphinarium, tells: ‘Even if the animals are moving elsewhere, these 10 people follow them.’
Both the federal and city authorities are assisting the Dolphinarium. The federal center has granted a 2-million refundable loan, while the city government is trying to find a long-term solution. So far, the prospects of the Dolphinarium are rather uncertain. Much depends on the epidemiologic situation.
Igor Kostov tells: ‘We need to work in September and see what the situation will be like in October. And by the end of the month we will have to tell the landlord if we can or cannot extend the contract.’
But despite the financial problems, rehearsals continue. Show must go on.
Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel