TAIJI TRAGEDY CONTINUES: Dolphins continue to die!

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December 21, 2013 by Ric O’Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Ric O’Barry
Director
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

I’ve been in Taiji since last week, working closely with Sakura and other Japanese activists who are visiting.  My friend Satoshi, head of Flippers Japan, is coming to visit here soon.

TAIJI TRAGEDY CONTINUES

The good news is that there is a growing movement of Japanese animal rights activists who agree with us that the dolphin hunts in Taiji are cruel and should end.  They are conducting demonstrations in Tokyo and coming to Taiji to see the dolphin hunts for themselves.

Sakura has been posting updates from Taiji for the past three months in both Japanese and English (including on our Dolphin Project Facebook Page).

She is really dedicated, talking to every Japanese tourist who comes to visit Taiji about the dolphin hunts.  We wish we could clone her!

All this activity in Japan gives me hope for the future.

I need hope right now.  The dolphin hunts here are still very ghastly and would make anyone sick.

Risso’s dolphins in the Cove from a drive hunt on Friday in Taiji. These beautiful animals were all killed. Photo by Sakura Araki.

Some other good news:  the dolphin killers have announced they will be stopping hunts on their annual end-of-year break, from Dec. 24th through January 4th.

So at least some dolphins and whales will get a respite for the holidays.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, too.  We cannot give up our efforts to stop the dolphin hunts here in Taiji and throughout Japan.

We should draw strength from our progress so far – we have accomplished quite a bit since 2003 when I first saw the dolphin hunts in Taiji for myself.

The Earth Island Dolphin Project Team and I will continue the effort for as long as it takes.  I can guarantee to you that we will not give up!

If you would like to help us with a donation, that would be great!

Dead Risso’s dolphins being transferred from the killing grounds of the Cove to the slaughterhouse in Taiji harbor. Photo by Sakura Araki.

If you are helping us with your volunteer work and spreading the word, my deepest thanks.

Take care and happy holidays to you and yours from all of us at Earth Island Institute and the Dolphin Project!

Photos of recent Risso’s dolphin hunt in Taiji by Sakura Araki.

News Link:-http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/taiji-tragedy-continues

 Not Belong in Captivity!

ORCAS AND DOLPHINS DO NOT BELONG IN CAPTIVITY!
Orcas and Dolphins Do Not Belong in Captivity!

The recent documentaries Blackfish and The Cove show that putting dolphins and orcas in captivity is unethical and cruel, ripping them from their families that they would normally grow up with and depriving them of the freedom of the open ocean, instead confining them to small concrete tanks to do tricks for dead fish.

 MAKE A DONATION TO HELP KEEP THE CAMPAIGN GOING

DONATE HERE to our efforts to STOP the SLAUGHTER/TRADE/and DISPLAY OF DOLPHINS AND WHALES IN CAPTIVITY.

WATCH OUR NEW “RELEASE ME” VIDEO AND SPREAD THE WORD TO FRIENDS

https://vimeo.com/77548465

Release Me :15 DolphinProject.org PSA from Dolphin Project on Vimeo.

DolphinProject.org “Release Me” :15 PSA

Director Lincoln O’Barry
Editor: Tracy Hof
Post: MPC LA
Song: Release Me
Special thanks to the amazing Frida Ohrn on vocals
Oh Laura
ITunes: itunes.apple.com/us/artist/oh-laura/id254454772
Cosmos Music Group
Warner/Chappell

Special Thanks to Elexis Stern at MPC LA

Help us spread the word so that millions of people can see this video and get involvedPLEASE SHARE THIS LINK.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE

Dolphins have evolved over millions of years, adapting perfectly to life in the ocean. They are intelligent, social and self-aware, exhibiting evidence of a highly developed emotional sense. Here are just a few of the issues with captivity:

Captures of dolphins are traumatic and stressful and can result in injury and death of dolphins. The numbers of dolphins that die during capture operations or shortly thereafter are never revealed in dolphinariums or swim-with-dolphins programs. Some facilities even claim their dolphins were “rescued” from the ocean and cannot be released. This claim is almost invariably false.

Training of dolphins is often deliberately misrepresented by the captive dolphin industry to make it look as if dolphins perform because they like it. This isn’t the case. They are performing because they have been deprived of food.

Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to live in a hall of mirrors for the rest of their life – their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight.

Dolphins and whales have been shown by recent scientific research to be sensitive with likely more ranges of emotions than humans, with culture that is handed down through generations, and personal names.  They deserve our respect and the right to remain in the wild, free from harassment and harm.

Earth Island Institute’s campaign to protect dolphins and whales focuses on stopping the killing of these animals in the wild in places like Japan, Indonesia, the Faroe Islands and the Solomon Islands, as well as stopping the blood dolphin$ trade to dolphinariums around the world.  In fact, these dolphin hunts are often supported by the dolphin trade to catch some individuals for captivity, while the remainder are slaughtered.

Click here to see a list of Captive Dolphin Facilities that have been Closed or Never Opened.

These success stories were accomplished by people like you taking action and stopping all support of dolphin shows and all swim-with-dolphin facilities.

WRITE A LETTER to Your Local Newspaper.  Click HERE for a sample.

HELP SPREAD THE WORD – Let your friends, family, school mates, and service club members know about the problem of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.

For Further Information:

A great Editorial from the Los Angeles Times opposing captivity.

Ken Brower’s excellent Blackfish Review for National Geographic.

With the annual Taiji, Japan, dolphin hunt starting in September,Georgia Woodroffe goes into detail about the horrors facing whales and dolphins.

Earth Island Dolphin Project Blogs:

India Ban on Captivity

Korean Dolphin Release Success

Beluga Import Permit Denied

Empty the Tanks Demonstration in Vallejo

Don’t do Dolphin-Assisted Therapy

One Thousand Protesters at Marineland, Canada

Birth of Orca in SeaWorld Nothing to Celebrate

WAZA Could Stop the Slaughter

One Sad Orca

Follow the Money: Captivity and Dolphin Slaughter

Taiji Whale Museum: Dolphin Traffickers

The Problem with Captivity


Tilikum in a scene from BLACKFISH, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Photo credit: Gabriela Cowperthwaite.

A Reply to Sea World’s Open Letter and an Invitation to Make a Meaningful New Year’s Resolution

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The documentary “Blackfish” has left a desperate SeaWorld in its wake, struggling to stay afloat in a sea of bad press and criticism from the public.

As performer after performer (eight total, so far) cancels their scheduled show for SeaWorld’s upcoming “Bands, Brews & BBQ” concert series due to concerns raised by the film, SeaWorld has fought back with a list of responses that they have called an open letter from SeaWorld’s “animal advocates.” While their representatives have declined to share how much money was spent putting this response out there, it is almost certain that SeaWorld spent thousands of dollars getting the letter published in eight major U.S. newspapers.

If you have read the letter, you might be finding it hard to separate fact from fiction as it is filled with SeaWorld’s spin on the captive marine mammal industry.

Sea Shepherd would like to present a few counterpoints to SeaWorld’s arguments that will hopefully clear up any confusion.

SeaWorld does not capture killer whales in the wild. Due to the groundbreaking success of our research in marine mammal reproduction, we haven’t collected a killer whale from the wild in 35 years.”

While SeaWorld admits that they have two orcas in their “care” who were captured in the wild, they leave out the violent and traumatic captures that these orcas endured. Footage of a notoriously brutal orca capture in Penn Cove, a capture which tore apart a family of orcas and left some dead, can be seen in “Blackfish.” Those responsible for the capture even sank the bodies of the dead whales in an effort to hide their deaths.

Tilikum’s capture took place off the coast of Iceland in 1983, when he was only 2. He was sent to SeaLand of the Pacific, before enduring a stressful transport once again to his current prison, SeaWorld Orlando.

Many of SeaWorld’s orcas were, indeed, born in captivity. Many of them are the offspring of Tilikum, who is used as SeaWorld’s breeding machine. SeaWorld’s marine mammals are often inbred, offspring of two mated members of the same family, resulting in a range of genetic abnormalities and mutations. That is the truth of SeaWorld’s “groundbreaking success” in marine mammal reproduction.

The letter also conveniently leaves out the fact that SeaWorld plans to take some of the 18 wild-caught beluga whales that the Georgia Aquarium is currently fighting so hard to get their hands on. Some of the belugas would be split between SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego as well as other captive facilities. Why does SeaWorld support the captures of members of a healthy population of beluga whales from the wild, while claiming publicly that their orcas don’t come from the ocean?

“We do not separate killer whale moms and calves. SeaWorld recognizes the important bond between mother and calf. On the rare occasion that a mother killer whale cannot care for the calf herself, we have successfully hand raised and reintroduced the calf. Whales are only moved to maintain a healthy social structure.”

As you can see in “Blackfish,” SeaWorld has in fact removed calves from their mother’s side and transported them to their other parks. Just as any mother would mourn for her child, the orcas have cried out long-range vocals looking for their young, taken by SeaWorld.

Even if this is old footage, it is quite possible that SeaWorld continues this practice. They continue to breed marine mammals, including orcas. Some are transferred between facilities to breed or to perform. In the wild, orcas live in large pods, and in some populations, calves stay with their mother for their entire life.

Regardless, the way to “maintain a healthy social structure” for orcas, animals who live in matriarchal pods, is never to separate a mother from her calf.

“We give our animals restaurant-quality fish, exercise, veterinary care, mental stimulation, and the company of other members of their species.”

The “restaurant-quality fish” being served to these orcas refers to thawed dead fish, contrary to their natural hunting behaviour in the wild. These fish are filled with antibiotics and vitamins to combat the effects of captivity on these often stressed, sick whales.

Wild orcas get moisture from the fish that they consume, but the frozen fish provided at SeaWorld have lost most of the moisture they once contained. So, SeaWorld feeds its orcas massive amounts of gelatin each day for hydration.

While some of these orcas may be kept with members of their species, these artificial pods are not the families that they would live with in the wild. Tilikum often remains alone, and now spends most of his time floating listlessly at the surface of his tank. He is used as a “stud” for SeaWorld’s continuous supply of captive and in-bred orcas (perversely, marine park staff masturbate males in order to collect their semen, which is used to impregnate females), and occasionally he is forced to provide the “big splash” at the end of SeaWorld’s performances. The in-breeding has led to unhealthy offspring and many babies have been stillborn.

“SeaWorld’s killer whales’ life spans are equivalent with those in the wild.”

This is a lie that SeaWorld has been feeding to the public for years. They claim “no one knows for sure how long orcas live,” a claim that has been refuted by marine biologists and orca researchers who have spent the greater part of their careers studying the lives and natural behaviors of orcas in the wild.

SeaWorld’s claim that the life spans of captive and wild orcas are comparable is shattered by the real numbers. In the wild, the average life span for males is 30 years and 50 years for females. Males can reach an estimated maximum age of 60-70 years old, and females 80-90 years old. While SeaWorld points out “five of our animals are older than 30, and one of our whales is close to 50,” this is highly unusual for orcas in captivity, including those at SeaWorld. Many die before those ages, and some even before reaching maturity.

“The killer whales in our care benefit those in the wild. We work with universities, governmental agencies and NGOs to increase the body of knowledge about and the understanding of killer whales — from their anatomy and reproductive biology to their auditory abilities.” 

SeaWorld’s “research” on their captive orcas benefitting wild orcas is a stretch, to say the least. Captive orcas are mere shells of their wild counterparts, unable even to engage in the most basic of their natural behaviours or live in their natural social groupings. The collapsed dorsal fin that you see in captive orcas is something that SeaWorld claims is also common in the wild, but in fact is rarely seen in wild orcas. It is a sign of stress, illness, injury or other conditions.

killer whale5 killer whale6 killer whale1 killer whale2 killer whale4

“SeaWorld is a world leader in animal rescue.The millions of people who visit our parks each year make possible SeaWorld’s world-renowned work in rescue, rehabilitation and release…We have rescued more than 23,000 animals with the goal of treating and returning them to the wild.”

While SeaWorld does rescue, rehabilitate and release ocean wildlife, this statement included in their letter is disgracefully misleading. The animals released by SeaWorld are most often manatees, sea turtles, and other animals who cannot be used as “performers” in their shows. Dolphins and whales and other animals such as sea lions rescued by SeaWorld who can be forced to perform tricks for food are kept and used as performers.

We have yet to hear conclusive findings on the actual success of SeaWorld’s rescue and release program. They do not follow up and report on the survival of the animals who have been released from their care.

In addition, according to its 2011-12 Annual Report, SeaWorld has given only $9 million dollars over the last decade toward conservation efforts. That means for every 100 dollars in revenue they bring in, they donate approximately 1 cent toward saving the animals in the wild whose captive counterparts they are exploiting. That’s .0001 percent of their income going to help animals in the wild. I think that might be the most telling point of all — that, in fact, SeaWorld is really nothing more than a money-making enterprise.

The bottom line is that SeaWorld is part of the massive machine that is the captive marine mammal industry, an industry willing to spew whatever lies it can in order to keep you spending your money at their parks. This industry is inextricably linked not only to the deaths of the animals in their tanks, but to the deaths of marine mammals brutally slaughtered in Taiji, Japan where dolphin trainers work side-by-side with dolphin killers to hand-pick those who are suitable for captivity – those who are “prettiest” and without visible scars.

SeaWorld does not want you to know what “Blackfish” made so clear, and what our volunteer Cove Guardians continue to show on the ground in Taiji every day: captivity kills.

As that message spreads, a new generation is leading the way for a future of freedom for marine life. Children have begun to speak out and say that they will never spend another moment at SeaWorld or other marine parks that hold orcas and other dolphins and whales in captivity. Students have even gotten regular school trips to SeaWorld canceled.

Children may have small voices, but they also have powerful voices because they represent change. This may be the hardest hit to SeaWorld yet, as these future adults will usher in the end of support for the captive industry and a shift toward protecting marine mammals where they belong — in the wild.

Sea Shepherd has a call to action for our many enthusiastic and dedicated young supporters. You are a huge part of spreading Sea Shepherd’s message, including exposing the truth behind SeaWorld and other marine parks. We would like all Sea Shepherds — whether young in age or simply young at heart — to send us a picture with a sign stating your New Year’s Resolution — to never attend SeaWorld or other marine parks again.

You can even send us a video and tell us why this is your resolution for 2014 and beyond.

As a thank you for speaking up for these imprisoned animals in captivity, we will pick a winner from the entries to receive a special Sea Shepherd prize package!

You can send photos or links to your videos to: nomoretanks@seashepherd.org.
All entries must be received by January 4th, 2014 at 5pm PT.

Spread the word for 2014 and beyond: Captivity kills.

Rare Asian bird kKlled By Wind Turbine As Avid Spotters Watched

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One of the world’s fastest birds has died after flying into a wind turbine as scores of people watched.

The white-throated needletail, which is native to Asia, was spotted on the Isle of Harris, off the west coast of Scotland, this week and is believed to have arrived on Monday.

Bird spotters travelled to the island to catch a glimpse of the bird and many posted pictures on Twitter, but they then saw it die when it flew into a community-owned wind turbine on Wednesday.

The Rare Bird Alert, an on-line service that notifies users of sightings, had passed on reports of the white-throated needletail on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the service said users had told them the bird died on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, the service tweeted: “The white-throated needletail on Harris flew into a wind turbine and has died, pathetic way for such an amazing bird to die.”

The needletail is a migrating bird and is black with white patches around its throat and undertail. It is small but has a large wingspan and is said to be able to fly up to 70mph.

A spokeswoman for the RSPB Scotland said they did not know the exact details of the case but migrating birds can be blown off course when travelling and the needletail may have lost its bearings and ended up in Harris.

She added: “Whilst the collision of this unusual visitor with a small domestic wind turbine is very unfortunate, incidents of this sort are really very rare.

“Careful choice of location and design of wind farms and turbines prevents, as much as possible, such occurrences happening on a large scale.

“Wind energy makes a vital contribution towards mitigating the impacts of climate change, which is the biggest threat to our native birds and wildlife.”

News Link:-http://news.stv.tv/scotland/231100-rare-asian-bird-killed-by-wind-turbine-while-migrating-to-scotland/

Forestry Minister Commits to Dolphin Protection

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“It will be amazing if this really happens, praying it does & that it will be the start of many more rescues of these beautiful sentient beings!”

World-renowned dolphin activist Richard O’Barry has praised Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan for agreeing to help end the dolphin trade in Indonesia

The minister met with O’Barry and the Jakarta Animal Aid Network on Tuesday following a discussion last week on dolphin protection.

Patrons interact with dolphins at Akame restaurant in Bali on Wednesday. Th Forestry Minister has called for their release. (EPA Photo)

Patrons interact with dolphins at Akame restaurant in Bali on Wednesday. Th Forestry Minister has called for their release. (EPA Photo)

 Zulkifli on Wednesday travelled to Bali to investigate dolphins being kept inside Akame restaurant, which were captured by the travel show company Wersut Seguni Indonesia.

“I think he’s a hero. He never knew about the issue and as soon as he did he moved to action,” O’Barry said. “He’s going to get lots of positive international public attention for what he’s doing.” 

O’Barry, who stars in the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove,” first came to Indonesia after hearing about what he believed to be the last travelling dolphin circus in the world.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the minister said he was shocked to learn about travelling dolphin shows and that he wanted to work with the JAAN to protect dolphins. 

In 2010, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the JAAN and the Forest Ministry to protect, save and rehabilitate captured dolphins in Indonesia.

However, since March 2011, following a change in the director of the ministry, the discussions stalled. 

JAAN co-founder Femke den Haas alleged that local levels of the forestry agency prevented the minister being informed about the issue, as they were receiving kickbacks from the travelling dolphin shows. She added that JAAN had been trying to reach the minister for two years. 

Zulkifli said that he had not received letters sent to him about the issue and was not aware that an MoU had been signed. 

It was hidden from him because people were looking for profit, not protection,” she said.

O’Barry said he was confident the minister did not know the true depth of the issue until last week’s discussion.

“ I’m 73 and I’ve learned to be able to read people’s body language. When I gave him the MoU [at the discussion], I could tell he was reading it for the first time,” he said. 

The JAAN hopes the captive dolphins at the Bali restaurant will be the first candidates to go to a dolphin rehabilitation center in Karimunjawa, Central Java.

The center is currently empty, but is ready to admit dolphins. O’Barry said it was not common for dolphins to be rehabilitated. 

“When they get captured, they rarely get another chance at life,” he said.

Sign the petition here:-http://www.change.org/id/petisi/stop-supporting-travelling-dolphin-circuses

News Link:-http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/forestry-minister-commits-to-dolphin-protection/571538

Bali – captive dolphins 2011

Uploaded on 17 Feb 2011

30 years since campaigning to free captive dolphins i stumbled on these pathetic conditions in a new purpose built resort at LOVINA, BALI I have been offering to the owners the concept that this six year old prison where there are 3 of the original 4 dolphins performing regular circus acts several times a day – and have to put up with the invasion of humans paying for a ‘unique spiritual experience’ see for yourself it is my intention to use my expertise and social network to stage serious educational, spiritual and healing events at this resort if the owner will allow us to set the captives free as the waters around bali are swarming with free ranging dolphins
DOLPHINS DIE IN CAPTIVITY
one has already since it opened
dr estelle myers
estellejmyers@gmail.com

Wind Turbine ProjectOoff Block Island Revised For Right Whales

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“Well thank God somebody gives a dam about our ocean & it’s inhabitants; shame more developers don’t feel the same way…with them it’s about money!”

The developer proposing to erect five wind turbines off Block Island announced on Monday that due to concerns about the endangered North Atlantic right whales it has revised its construction plans for the demonstration project slated to begin in 2015.

This April 20, 2010 photo released by the National Oceanographic
and Atmospheric Administration shows a North Atlantic right whale
feeding in Block Island Sound off the coast of Rhode Island.

Deepwater Wind, in consultation with the environmental group Conservation Law Foundation, has voluntarily opted to avoid any pile driving in April due to data suggesting that the migratory whales tend to inhabit Rhode Island waters at that time of year.

“It is probably the most important environment concern that needs to be addressed for offshore wind in this part of the country,” said CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “CLF is one of the leading organizations advocating for the right whale so we have been working closely with them.”

News Link:-http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2013/02/offshore-wind-turbine-project-revised-for-right-whalesready.html

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