Japanese aquariums are actively seeking to breed dolphins after their association decided to ban drive hunts of the mammal in response to international criticism, but they face an uphill battle due to a lack of facilities and expertise.

The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), which introduced punitive measures against drive hunts in May amid criticism that the practice is cruel, estimated in 2011 that the population of dolphins would drop to 69 in 2030 if they were acquired only through breeding. At the end of 2014, the number of dolphins kept by Japanese facilities stood at 271.

Some say it will require 10 to 20 years for the breeding project to develop as keepers will need to build new facilities and accumulate experience.