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.

Five Artists Have Cancelled At Seaworld -This Artist Needs To Do It Next: Petition To Sign Please‏

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“Perhaps more people need to see the documentary film ‘BlackFish'; for only then, can one begin to understand why it is so wrong to keep these magnificent creatures captive! I don’t blame Tilikum for the injuries or deaths  of any trainers (although of course I am sorry, they were put in that situation in the first place) I blame Tilikum’s captors & jailers for keeping him as a sperm donor & keeping him in the equivalent of a bath tub for kids! After 30 years wouldn’t you be pissed off?? As far as I am concerned anyone who performs there as an artist or pays to see the captive sea life shows (who haven’t seen ‘Blackfish; so perhaps don’t know any better); are just as bad as those keeping Orcas & other sea mammals captive”

“Take a look at the following – Just one piece of evidence as to why Orcas should not be held Captive!!”

killer whale5

“Watch a short clip about the film Blackfish”:-http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=90302&sitesection=pennlive&VID=25294950

Blackfish Official Film Site (Preview):-http://blackfishmovie.com/download

Martina McBride: Don’t play at SeaWorld

Petition By Rochelle Corey-Ipswich, Massachusetts; Please sign below

Have you heard the great news?!? Barenaked Ladies and Willie Nelson have cancelled their performances at SeaWorld after becoming aware of the animal cruelty that takes place there. Martina McBride is scheduled to play at SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival on March 8th.

As an animal activist, who recently viewed Blackfish, I feel it’s important to make sure each of the performers SeaWorld has scheduled are made aware of what is truly happening to the amazing animals that are trapped there. Please join me in telling Martina McBride you do not want her to support SeaWorld’s animal cruelty. 

Martina McBride is an amazing artist who works diligently to end domestic violence.  

SeaWorld Orlando is where the orca Tilikum is kept. He was caught in the wild about 30 years ago and has since been involved in three human deaths including that of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau right there in Orlando.

The orcas at SeaWorld’s theme parks (if they cared about animals, they would be non-profit sanctuaries or rehabilitation centres) are kept in tiny tanks where they become stressed, lack proper exercise, and are a risk to other animals and people.

SeaWorld also has also been fighting to import even more wild animals, beluga whales, into the United States, so it can make money off their captivity. And they’re fighting to get trainers back into the water for performances even though they’ve been fined tens of thousands of dollars because it’s already been proven to be a huge risk to the workers.

Please join me in politely asking Martina McBride to drop plans to perform at SeaWorld. To do so would be promoting cruelty to orcas and other animals.

Please sign the petition here:-https://www.change.org/petitions/martina-mcbride-don-t-play-at-seaworld?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=43688&alert_id=tFUDhkgCCe_xhRdbFmCqY

“We persuaded other artists not to play at Seaworld, so lets pursued Martina McBride also; please tweet & share to all; lets show Seaworld how a small group of misinformed individuals can act!” (Read last but one paragraph)

Dec 9th – Big Name Musicians Cancel SeaWorld Gig, Question Whales In Captivity

ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – Top rock and country music acts are canceling plans to perform at SeaWorld Orlando because of questions raised in a new documentary about the effects of captivity on whales.

The rock bands Heart , Barenaked Ladies, along with country crooner Willie Nelson have cancelled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida for the Brew & Barbecue music series in February.

A posting on Heart’s official Twitter page said the decision was influenced by the recently released documentary “Blackfish.” The documentary raises questions about the effects of captivity on killer whales at marine parks such as SeaWorld.

Nelson and Barenaked Ladies made their decisions after fans launched Change.org petitions urging them not to perform at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck said  they were disappointed that “a small group of misinformed individuals” was able to influence the performers. “Cheeky Bxxxxxd!”

“The bands and artists have a standing invitation to visit any of our parks to see firsthand or to speak to any of our animal experts to learn for themselves how we care for animals and how little truth there is to the allegations made by animal extremist groups opposed to the zoological display of marine mammals,” Gollattscheck said. “Oh bla bla bla bla, of course it would be a small group of misinformed individuals; able to influence performers…so get over yourself….beware the wrath of animal activists….we are not that small a group; as you have clearly found out!!”

News Link:-http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/12/09/big-name-musicians-cancel-seaworld-gig-question-whales-in-captivity/

SeaWorld Refutes New Film That Exposes the Cruel Treatment of Captive Whales

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The new documentary ‘Blackfish’ reveals the inner workings of the multi-billion dollar seapark industry.

Captive whales have been driven to disturbing and destructive behavior. (Photo: John Warden/Getty Images)

SeaWorld has unleashed a bitter attack on the new documentary Blackfish, accusing the filmmakers of being “shamelessly dishonest,” and filling the movie with serious inaccuracies.

As someone who has followed the saga of Tilikum and deceased trainer Dawn Brancheau for years, I was happy to rebut SeaWorld’s various grievances. The inaccuracies, it turns out, are found in spokesman Fred Jacob’s “Dear Film Critic” letter, which was sent out today:

I’m writing to you on behalf of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. You may be aware of a documentary called “Blackfish” that purports to expose SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales (or orcas) and the “truth” behind the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

In the event you are planning to review this film, we thought you should be apprised of the following. Although “Blackfish” is by most accounts a powerful, emotionally-moving piece of advocacy, it is also shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate. As the late scholar and U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously noted: “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

The film’s most egregious and untrue allegations include: The insinuation that SeaWorld stocks its parks with killer whales captured from the wild. In fact, SeaWorld hasn’t collected a killer whale from the wild in more than 35 years; more than 80% of the killer whales at SeaWorld were born there or in other zoological facilities.

 First of all, an “insinuation” is not an accusation, and Blackfish does not make this claim. It is worth pointing out, however, that the wild orca Morgan, who was rescued in waters off the Netherlands a few years back, now lives at Loro Parque, Spain; in its SEC filing there, SeaWorld claimed her as one of their own whales, just as they own the other orcas in the park.

The assertion that killer whales in the wild live more than twice as long as those living at SeaWorld. While research suggests that some wild killer whales can live as long as 60 or 70 years, their average lifespan is nowhere near that. Nor is it true that killer whales in captivity live only 25 to 35 years.

Because we’ve been studying killer whales at places like SeaWorld for only 40 years or so, we don’t know what their lifespans might be—though we do know that SeaWorld currently has one killer whale in her late 40s and a number of others in their late 30s.

The research completed to date does not “suggest” average life expectancies and maximum lifespans; it methodically and scientifically documents them, at least among resident killer whales of the Pacific Northwest.

As I reported in Death at SeaWorld: “The average life expectancy for female orcas in the wild has been estimated at 45 to 50 years, with a maximum lifespan of about 90,” and, “the average life expectancy for a wild orca male is approximately 30 years, with an estimated maximum lifespan of about 60.”

Read More:-http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/07/13/killer-whales-cruel-treatment-in-captivity?cmpid=tpanimals-eml-2013-07-20-seaworld

SeaWorld Orca “Vicky” Dies in Spain

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June 16, 2013 

After demonstrating ‘strange behaviours’ in the days prior, a 10-month-old whale passes away.

An infant female orca by the name of Vicky has died at the Loro Parque amusement park in the Canary Islands, park officials announced today on its Facebook page.

The whales owned by SeaWorld can be extremely hindered in their ability to mother their young. (Photo: Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Vicky, just 10 months old, had been rejected by her mother Kohana, a young orca who was ripped from her own mother’s side at just 19 months of age and eventually shipped off to Tenerife.

“In contrast with joy with which Loro Parque announced the birth of the second baby orca in Spain, last August 3rd, today with enormous regret we inform you of the sad demise of Vicky, who with so much emotion and affection, the team of OrcaOcean cared for in her 10 months of life,”Loro Parque’s Facebook page says.

The death was sudden and the cause unknown, though Vicky had been showing unusual behaviours in recent days, according to the post. It was serious enough to fly in SeaWorld’s chief veterinarian to perform an examination.

The orcas at Loro Parque all belong to SeaWorld, and are cared for and trained according to SeaWorld protocols. In 2006, the company flew four young whales—two females, Kohana and Skyla, and two males, Keto and Tekoa—to Spain on a “breeding loan.

About two years later Kohana, at just six years of age, (extremely young for an orca) was impregnated and, in 2010, gave birth to a male calf named Adan. All orcas born at Loro Parque are the legal property of SeaWorld.

Kohana, however, was an utterly unfit mother, and she wanted nothing to do with Adan, rejecting him almost immediately.

Many critics speculated that Kohana had simply never learned how to be a mother, because there were no mother orcas at Loro Parque for her to emulate. It didn’t help matters that Kohana only spent 19 months with her own mother before being taken away.

Even as Adan was being hand-nursed by park staff, Kohana became pregnant again, this time with Vicky. The father in both pregnancies was Keto, who is Kohana’s uncle, making Adan and Vicky more inbred orcas to add to SeaWorld’s “collection.”

One whale at a SeaWorld park was impregnated by her own son. According to bloodline charts, Vicky was related to 21 out of 26 SeaWorld killer whales.

Last year, when Vicky was born, Kohana again immediately rejected her calf. The double-tragedy was covered beautifully by Elizabeth Batt at Digital Journal.

I have been studying killer whale issues intensively for about three years, and have never heard of a mother rejecting her calf in the wild. It is hard to imagine. But in my book Death at SeaWorldI document several cases of maternal rejection in captivity.

TakePart has written about Loro Parque in the past, including this article about the female orca Morgan who, after stranding in the Netherlands, was sent to Tenerife and is now listed on SeaWorld’s stock offering as belonging to them.

And last December, in another piece, TakePart reported that, “Advocates were aghast at the trans-Atlantic arrangement. Killer whales, whether in the ocean or a crowded pool, are highly socialized animals who learn from elders about proper norms of behaviour. Mothers, grandmothers and older siblings keep youngsters in check, and extinguish outbursts of disharmony that disrupt cohesion and proper pod functioning.”

“These whales are so young, without a normal upbringing, and now they’re in Spain together without any sort of adult orca supervision,’ one observer said. ‘It’s like Lord of the Flies over there.’”

It’s not clear if Kohana’s rejection of Vicky, or her inbreeding, contributed to her death (50 percent of wild-born orcas do not survive their first year). But it’s just another sad mark on the history and reputation of Loro Parque.

As I wrote in my book, at least one trainer was deeply concerned about the whales, and the way that Kohana’s uncle, Keto, kept trying to breed with her.

The trainer, Alex Martinez, turned to his personal diary to describe his growing worries about the erratic behaviour. The whales’ seemingly bottomless sex drives were on the verge of upending the fragile social order imposed upon the hormonally charged adolescents.

“Keto is obsessed with controlling Kohana, he won’t separate from her, including shows,” Martinez wrote. Tekoa was also “very sexual when he is alone with Kohana.”

A few months later, Keto would “go off behaviour” and brutally ram Martinez in the chest, killing him. Just two months after that, Dawn Brancheau would be mortally wounded in a similar fashion at SeaWorld Florida by the three-time killer Tilikum, who happens to be grandfather to Kohana and great-grandfather to her two hapless children, one of them now tragically gone.

News Link:-http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/06/16/breaking-seaworld-orca-dies-spain

TAKE THE PLEDGE:- Don’t the Ticket! Whales & Dolphins Shouldn’t Be in Captivity:- Please click link to sign :- http://www.takepart.com/actions/dont-buy-ticket-whale-show?cmpid=tp-ptnr-tab-d84909c52edcceb20c7bba62052b1b01

Activists to Orca Enslavers: Thanks, but No Tanks

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June 25, 2013 By 

Confining the planet’s second smartest mammal to aquarium tanks is cruel and unusual punishment.

July is shaping up to be a tough month for the captive marine mammal industry. My book, Death at SeaWorld, Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity, comes out in paperback in one week, on July 2, followed by the release of the critically acclaimed documentaryBlackfish, which opens July 17. The double-punch against orca captivity has been duly noted by major media around the world, including an upcoming feature article in Business Week.

Then, on July 27, comes a global day of protest against marine mammal facilities, taking place in at least 21 locations around the worldEmpty the Tanks Worldwide is billed by the group’s Facebook page as “a day for everyone around the world to stand up against marine mammal captivity. The abuse and exploitation of these sentient beings has no place in the 21st century.” 

Recently, I caught up with Empty the Tanks organizer Rachel Greenhalgh from her home near Seattle, not far from the San Juan Islands, Washington—one of the world’s premier places to see orcas in their natural habitat: the vast and open sea.

TakePart: How did you come up with this idea?

Rachel Greenhalgh: I was in Taiji, Japan, as a Cove Guardian in January of this year. On one of my last days there I was thinking that I wanted to find a way to be productive and proactive in this fight against the captivity industry after I returned home. That’s when and where this whole idea began. The captive animals floating listlessly in their tiny sea pens in Taiji are a sight that cuts you to your core. I wanted to come home and continue fighting for them.

How did you get the word out?

I began messaging other activists around the world, asking if they would become event coordinators. It took time but I eventually found passionate and dedicated individuals to help carry out this important event with me. Once I had about a half dozen participating locations, I began getting messages from people all over the world who wanted to host their own Empty the Tanks event. Facebook has created amazing connection opportunities for activists like myself.

How many people in how many cities are now signed up to take part?

We have 21 locations in nine countries participating in the Empty the Tanks event. I am expecting a few hundred people to participate in these events around the world. Those numbers will hopefully grow each year that this annual event continues.

What is the most unexpected place where a protest is taking part?

I don’t know that there is an unexpected place. I think it is amazing we have 21 locations in nine counties. The two events taking place in Japan are very meaningful to me simply because of the time I spent in Taiji, Japan. I think it is incredible to see such commitment in the Japanese activists.

Do you want to retire marine mammals over time, or close down marine parks altogether?

Ideally, I would want these parks to close down. I do not feel marine mammal entertainment parks have any place in the 21st century. We know the level of awareness these animals have. We know their social connections, their eating habits, and natural wild behaviours. You cannot breed natural instincts out of an animal in a handful of generations. These are incredibly social, intelligent beings that are being used to make money. It is animal slavery, and it needs to be brought to the general public’s attention.

Empty the Tanks is not a radical movement requesting the release of all the captive whales and dolphins. Some of these animals might be great candidates for release, but those that are not should be retired into sea pens, where they can enjoy the rest of their days in natural seawater, feeling the waves of the ocean around them. They should not be worked until their last breath is taken and then thrown out like trash and replaced.

Why Is SeaWorld Allowing Its Killer Whales to Live in Crumbling Pools?

What do you expect to happen outside these facilities and how will guests get the message?

These events are about getting a message to the general public. We are trying to reach those going to the ticket counter. We are not the ones buying the tickets and keeping these parks in business, and we need to reach the public and get them to understand what they are supporting. We have some great informational postcards that will be handed out to anyone willing to take one as well as some powerful banners with images that speak for themselves.

Have you received any response from the captive display industry?

I have not heard from anyone in the captivity industry so far. I have been banned from most of the marine parks’ Facebook pages so I haven’t been able to post event information on them. (Someone claiming to be a SeaWorld educator, and another person says she used to work at the company, have posted comments the EET Facebook page.)

Where can people get more information?

If someone would like to host an event on July 27, or get more information, please send me an email to Rachel@emptythetanksworldwide.com. They can also contact me via thewebsite.

What do you think will come of this and what can concerned citizens do next when it’s over?

I think we will reach new people who were unaware of this issue. Even if we only get one family to turn away from that planned day at the park, well that is one more family on our side of this fight. Every person matters and eventually we will win this fight. We will see an end to marine mammal exploitation and to places like SeaWorld. We have already seen other countries ban shows using dolphins, so it is only a matter of time before the whole world catches on. I will not stop until we do. The best thing concerned citizens can do is continue to spread the truth about the captivity industry. Never stop talking about this issue until we empty the tanks worldwide.

TAKE THE PLEDGE:- Don’t Buy The Ticket! Whales & Dolphins Shouldn’t Be in Captivity:- Please click link to sign :- http://www.takepart.com/actions/dont-buy-ticket-whale-show?cmpid=tp-ptnr-tab-d84909c52edcceb20c7bba62052b1b01

Forced Inbreeding and Bloody Battles—Killer Whales Live in Horror at Spanish Theme Park

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“My apologies for these late posts” March 15, 2013 

Attacks against low-ranking orcas are not only intolerable—they’re illegal. Will U.S. officials step in and save them?

The battle scars of Tekoa, a killer whale living at Loro Parque, a Spanish theme park. (Photo: timzimmermann.com)

Animal welfare advocates are desperately seeking U.S. government intervention in the case of seven Sea World-owned killer whales on “loan” at Loro Parque, a theme park in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Armed with photographic evidence showing at least two lower-ranking orcas raked with teeth marks, and a new, damning report from a leading whale scientist, advocates say the federal government must repatriate the animals back to the United States at once.

“The group of orcas held at Loro Parque is fundamentally dysfunctional and the trainers there are not experienced enough to recognize or address this. Remote oversight by SeaWorld has been insufficient to prevent systemic social problems within this group of animals,” Dr. Naomi Rose, senior scientist at Humane Society Internationalwrote last month to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which shares jurisdiction over captive marine mammals with the USDA.

“The situation at Loro Parque cannot safeguard the orcas’ well-being and once again, we urge you to compel SeaWorld to repatriate these animals,” Rose said in a letter cosigned by the Animal Welfare Institute and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

The two low-ranking members of the artificial, dysfunctional pod at Loro Parque are routinely subjected to violent attacks, leaving deep scars etched in their skin that would be unthinkable among orcas in the natural environment, critics allege.

One victim is the young female Morgan, a wild orca who became lost off the Dutch coast and, following lengthy court battles, ended up in Tenerife.

“Since her transfer she has been brutally and continually attacked and is subjected to excessive sexual pressure from a male orca who she is often locked into the same tank with,” Dr. Ingrid Visser of New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust wrote of Morgan in the report, which has been submitted to USDA and NOAA as evidence in the repatriation effort.

Trainers at the park show “a clear lack of empathy for this animal,” Visser said, “who ignore her calls for attention and her cries for help and disregard aggressive attacks on her by the other animals.”

Visser observed Morgan for 77 hours over eight days, and witnessed an “unprecedented 91 aggression events” involving the newcomer, who arrived in 2011. “Morgan, was attacked, on average, more than once an hour,” she wrote, noting that a similar study of another captive orca “recorded an aggressive episode only once every 234 hours.”

In other words, Morgan is “over than 100 times more likely to be attacked at Loro Parque than the orca in the other study,” Visser said. Morgan has suffered more than 320 puncture and bite marks (all documented by photographs), she added. “This does not include the damage she has self-inflicted from abnormal and repetitive behaviours such as banging her head on the concrete tanks.”

The other abused orca is Tekoa, who Visser once called in court documents “the most attacked and bitten orca in the world-wide captive industry.”

The young, confounding life of Tekoa has never been easy, and he has been both perpetrator and victim of serious attacks that simply do not happen in the wild. But when one considers the messed up little society in which he has been forced to live, the aggression becomes easier to comprehend.

In 2006, Sea World sent four young whales, all born in captivity, to Loro Parque on a renewable 25-year loan in exchange for a percentage at the box-office and ownership of offspring produced at the park.

All four transplants, two males and two females, had already led lives that I described as “interrupted” in my book Death at SeaWorld.  The females were Kohana, and Skyla. Both males are related to Skyla. Keto is a half-brother though their mother Kalina and the oldest and perhaps most dysfunctional of the quartet. But it’s the ravaged Tekoa, Skyla’s half-brother through Tilikum, who caught the attention of many advocates.

Tekoa was born in Orlando to an unstable mother named Taima, a bizarre hybrid of Icelandic mother and Pacific-transient father who could only be bred in captivity. Taima attacked her first-born and was equally aggressive with Tekoa. Mother and son were separated after Taima tried to kill him. In April 2004, Sea World sent Tekoa to San Antonio before “lending” him to Loro Parque in 2006.

Advocates were aghast at the trans-Atlantic arrangement. Killer whales, whether in the ocean or a crowded pool, are highly socialized animals who learn from elders about proper norms of behaviour. Mothers, grandmothers and older siblings keep youngsters in check, and extinguish outbursts of disharmony that disrupt cohesion and proper pod functioning.

“These whales are so young, without a normal upbringing, and now they’re in Spain together without any sort of adult orca supervision,” one observer said. “It’s like Lord of the Flies over there.”

The little dysfunctional family has grown recently.

In October 2010, the very young Kohana gave birth to a male calf, Adan, who she immediately rejected. Last August, she gave birth again, to a female named Victoria, who was also promptly rejected. Keto is the father of both, but as Elizabeth Batt pointed out at Digital Journal, he is a blood relative of Kohana, meaning she was bred twice “to her own uncle.”

Killer whale society is highly stable, though at Loro Parque, it seems to be anything but. Trainers have paid the price for this instability, but so have the orcas, especially the sub-dominant members of this matriarchal world.

Lowly Tekoa has borne much of the physical abuse, as evidenced by photos taken before and after his skin was covered in “rake marks” etched from the sharp conical teeth of tank-mates. Unlike the ocean, when an orca is attacked at Loro Parque, there is nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide.

This image, first published by journalist Tim Zimmermann, shows that Tekoa’s dorsal side is scarred, scraped and battered by teeth-marks inflicted by his tank-mates, some of whom are related to him, in Sea World’s tiny, inbred universe of captive orcas.

“Tekoa is definitely subordinate, although he is probably no longer the lowest in the hierarchy—Morgan and the two calves are in that position now,” Naomi Rose told TakePart. “In wild orca society, no one gets beat up like this.”

In the wild, offspring likely inherit their mother’s status, which along with age determines pecking order. Thus, “beating each other up doesn’t need to occur and doesn’t, occur,” Rose asserted. Calves might nip others out of “youthful ignorance and exuberance,” she said, and relatives sometimes show a few nicks.

Other nicks, scratches and scars “are probably inflicted when discipline is meted out within a maternal group,” Rose said. But those are minor wounds that only sometimes become permanent scars. “We never see this kind of mish-mash of scars and rake marks and wounds when photo-identifying a wild orca,” she said.

Ingrid Visser concurred. “In the wild, even these playful nips are exactly that: You don’t see the outright attacks like I’ve seen at Loro Parque.” She compared such aberrant activities to what takes place in prison, calling it “seriously aggressive behaviour, typically manifested on the lower individuals in the population,” as opposed to the “protective behaviour” of more “normal” societies.

The beat-up Tekoa is himself no stranger to displaying “seriously aggressive behaviour,” at least against people.

In October 2007, trainer Claudia Vollhardt was warming up with Tekoa when he became frustrated and took her arm into his mouth. Then he dove to the bottom. Tekoa held her underwater a moment, then dragged her to the surface. After escaping, even as Vollhardt lay injured and bleeding, Tekoa tried to lunge from the water at her. Her right lung was punctured and her forearm fractured into three pieces. 

Suzanne Allee, a former Sea World employee who worked at Loro Parque, recalled that in the summer of 2007, “Tekoa was forced to perform while injured and bleeding after the supervisor lost control of Keto and he raced into the show pool and attacked Tekoa.” The supervisor ordered the show to go on, but “Claudia was the one who continued to perform with Tekoa,” Allee said. “I still believe Tekoa remembered this incident when he attacked her just a few months later.”

Both Tekoa and half-sister Sklya were banished from “water work” with trainers, due to aggressive unpredictability. Now, only Kohana and Keto could be trusted to swim with humans.

That illusion shattered on Christmas Eve, 2009, when Keto brutally rammed and killed trainer Alexis Martinez, a close friend of Orlando employee Dawn Brancheau, who’d spent time in Tenerife training trainers. Two months later, Brancheau was killed by Tekoa’s father, Tilikum.

Because these unstable creatures belong to SeaWorld, they still fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Activists continue to lobby for action, but so far the feds refuse to intervene.

“We’re in touch with the U.S. regulatory authorities to pressure them to act under what we believe are their obligations under the law,” explained Courtney Vail of Whale and Dolphin Conservation. But the government has “put the onus on us to prove there are issues over there, and I think that Ingrid Visser’s eyewitness accounts, and these other photos, provide all the evidence they need to intervene,” Vail said. “We are awaiting their response.”

Meanwhile, she added, the Canary Island orcas are “beating each other up over there.”

Activists say the time to return these hapless whales to the United States is now, before more injuries and deaths occur. And though some might scoff at “repatriating” marine mammals, scientists like Rose take the idea quite seriously.

Rose noted that SeaWorld repatriated the orca Ikaika from Marineland Ontario after decrying his sub-par conditions in Canada. “Clearly the company is able and willing to relocate orcas when conditions at a present holding facility put them at risk,” she wrote, adding that, “Loro Parque and Sea World must act—if Sea World will not, NOAA must compel it to.”

News Link:-http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/03/14/activists-us-repatriate-seaworld-orcas-dysfunctional-spanish-tanks

TAKE THE PLEDGE:- Don’t the Ticket! Whales & Dolphins Shouldn’t Be in Captivity:- Please click link to sign :- http://www.takepart.com/actions/dont-buy-ticket-whale-show?cmpid=tp-ptnr-tab-d84909c52edcceb20c7bba62052b1b01

The dolphin snatchers: Mail investigation exposes vile trade where animals are sold for up to £100,000 each to aquariums where they suffer unimaginable cruelty

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For the men wearing wetsuits wading in a shallow bay teeming with trapped wild dolphins, the decision is as simple as it is ruthless. Running their hands carefully over each dolphin’s body, they check to ensure the creature is free from scars, particularly on the dorsal and tail fins.

At first glance this human interaction with one of the few creatures said to possess an intellect close to our own appears an act of caring tenderness. But in reality, these are businessmen selecting their merchandise for a multi-million-pound trade in live dolphins. The best specimens (usually young females, or cows) are removed from their families to be sold live for between £50,000 and £100,000 each to aquariums.

The dolphins they reject — the ones with minor blemishes on their skin — are slaughtered where they are trapped in that cove at Taiji on the south coast of Japan.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – Discretion advised when scrolling down!

The cruel sea: A dolphin selected for sale last month in Japan. Others that are 'not suitable' are killed

The cruel sea: A dolphin selected for sale last month in Japan. Others that are ‘not suitable’ are killed

In a frenzy of violence that has shocked animal lovers and marine environmentalists around the world, some are speared repeatedly by fisherman circling in motorboats whose propellers often slice the dolphins’ skin. Others are simply held underwater to drown.

Sometimes, a metal pole is rammed into their blubber in the hope of shattering the mammal’s spine. A cork stopper is then hammered into the hole where the rod was forced in, to try to reduce the blood spilt into the sea — to conceal the extent of the slaughter.

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The rejects are slaughtered for their meat. Some are speared repeatedly by fisherman circling in motorboats whose propellers often slice the dolphins’ skin

Invariably a few dolphins try to make a break for freedom and attempt to jump over the netting that seals off the bay.

However, amid the blood-red waters almost all of them eventually succumb to their fate. These barbaric scenes took place just before Christmas, during a hunting season when Japanese fishermen ‘harvest’ dolphins to supply to aquariums for human entertainment.

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Killer cove: The dolphins they reject – the ones with minor blemishes on their skin – are trapped in a cove at Taiji on the south coast of Japan

It is estimated that for every wild dolphin caught to be trained to perform tricks in captivity, around four times that number are slaughtered.

The fishermen then sell off the meat for about £10 a kilo. They see the creatures as a menace because they pose a threat to the dwindling reserves of fish in the Pacific Ocean.

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Blood red: Japanese fishermen collect the bodies of harpooned dolphins from the bloody waters of a bay in Taiji

But for those that survive the slaughter, life might as well be over.The stress a dolphin suffers as a result of being captured, transported and imprisoned in a small tank dramatically reduces its lifespan

While wild dolphins live for up to 60 or 70 years, captured ones often perish when they are as young as eight, say environmentalists.

According to marine experts, some dolphins are so distressed by their capture that they commit suicide.

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The odds: For every wild dolphin caught to be trained to perform tricks in captivity, around four times that number are slaughtered

One of the most vocal campaigners against the practice is also one of the most knowledgeable — he is the very man who helped create and promote the worldwide aquarium industry.

Ric O’Barry became famous in the Sixties as the on-screen trainer of the five dolphins that played Flipper in the popular U.S. TV series, which was also hugely successful in Britain.

For ten years he worked at Miami Seaquarium, where he trained the wild mammals after capturing them on hunting expeditions in the Pacific.

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Rounding them up: Fishermen drive bottle-nose dolphins into a net during their annual hunt off Taiji. The ‘drive hunt’ involved five or six large fishing vessels sailing out to sea to find a pod of dolphins

But when Kathy, the main dolphin that played Flipper, died in his arms after apparently losing the will to live, he says it dawned on him how cruel captivity is for such intelligent and social creatures.

For the past 40 years he has travelled the world highlighting the plight of dolphins in amusement parks, and even releasing them from those parks into the wild, often getting arrested in the process.

Three years ago, he made a documentary called The Cove, which revealed the truth about the ‘drive hunts’ that take place at Taiji in Japan. Yet since then, the practice has continued unabated — as these photographs demonstrate only too graphically.

O’Barry, 73, says live dolphins taken from the waters in Japan are shipped to aquariums and ‘swim-with-dolphin’ centres mostly in the Far East. Speaking from his home in Miami, O’Barry says: ‘Taiji is the number one location to get dolphins for the dolphinarium industry — or what I called “abusement parks”.’

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Some dolphins are so distressed by their capture that they commit suicide. the stress that they suffer as a result of being captured dramatically shortens their lifespan

Although there are no international laws banning the shipment of live dolphins to those countries prepared to accept them, O’Barry claims the dolphins undergo terrible suffering.

‘After enduring a painfully long period of transportation, they are put into often filthy and confined conditions at aquariums. ‘These are free-ranging creatures with a large brain whose primary sense is sound.

‘Some have been placed in aquariums at casinos where the noise is appalling. These environments are hell-holes to creatures used to the open seas and which often swim up to 100 miles in a day in search of food. ‘They are taken away from the two most important aspects of their life — the world of oceanic sound and their families. ‘They end up suffering depression. I believe they are also capable of trying to commit suicide.’

Two years ago at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in south-western Japan, hundreds of tourists at a marine show looked on in astonishment as a large dolphin rose up out of the water tank to balance precariously on the glass barrier of the aquarium. It then threw itself out of the water on to the ground.

Touchingly, the other dolphins in the tank swam to the glass wall to look at the plight of their companion, called Kuru (meaning ‘black’). The dolphin was eventually put into a huge tarpaulin sling and winched by a crane back into the water.

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The hunt is on: Taiji’s fishermen are licensed by the national government to catch 2,100 dolphins and pilot whales in the six-month hunting season

The incident was filmed by an appalled American tourist, who passed the footage on to O’Barry. While many thought the mammal was trying to make a break for freedom, O’Barry believes it was more likely it wanted to commit suicide.

‘It was depressed and wanted to end it,’ O’Barry says, adding that it had been in captivity for six years after being taken from the wild. ‘I have seen it many, many times. They are living in a world of sensory deprivation, then bombarded with a wall of noise from the crowd.’

After the clip was made public the aquarium managers immediately issued a statement saying the dolphin was ‘playing around’ and suffered minor scratches and bruises on its head and fin. It was, they insisted, fine and enjoyed a healthy serving of mackerel and squid once returned to the tank.

They did admit, however, that dolphins occasionally jump out of the water on to dry land, so they have now placed crash mats around the perimeter of the three tanks in their amusement park to avoid serious injury.

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A hidden practice: Due to worldwide concern, the fishermen now try to hide the slaughter. The kills take place out of sight underneath blue tarpaulins

The trade in wild dolphins to U.S. aquariums has ceased due to public outrage, and the high-profile campaigns of activists like O’Barry.

There are no captive dolphins in Britain either as a result of a public backlash against the shows. Only a few are on show in Europe, and these animals were born in captivity — although O’Barry fears even this poses a threat to the mammals’ welfare because there is now a problem with inbreeding. O’Barry exhorts the public never to attend dolphin aquariums.

‘The solution lies with the consumer,’ he says. ‘Don’t buy a ticket for a captive dolphin show. ‘This is a multi-million-dollar industry I helped create. I remember loading them onto the planes after the Flipper show became so popular. At one point there were more dolphins in the UK than in Florida.

‘But the consumer now has to bring his power to bear on this trade, which also results in the slaughter of all those other dolphins. There is more money in live dolphins than dead ones, but the one fuels the other.’

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A fisheries worker guides the carcass of dolphins at ‘killer cove’ in Taiji, Japan. The fishermen claim that any kills that take place are humane and that it takes only seconds for the dolphins to die

In Taiji, Nicole McLachlan, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is part of a team monitoring the capture and killing of dolphins that takes place from September to March each year in the small port where whales have been hunted since the 17th century. Last month alone, she claims up to 170 cetaceans were killed, including pilot whales, risso, striped and bottlenose dolphins. More than 100 were captured for aquariums.

Such is worldwide concern over the slaughter that the fishermen try to hide it. ‘Nowadays the kills take place out of sight underneath blue and brown tarpaulins that cover the bay,’ the Australian marine environmentalist says.

The carnage lasts about half an hour. It is harrowing. ‘They are terrified. You hear the dolphins screaming; it’s a high-pitched wailing sound. ‘There is splashing as they thrash around in the water. Young dolphin calves are often among those slaughtered within the cove; some are younger than a year old.’

Yet locals are adamant it should continue. Police monitor the activists while many of the town’s 3,500 residents — most of whom are linked to the fishing industry — arrive to support the fishermen in this Japanese tradition.

The ‘drive hunt’ (‘oikomiryou’ in Japanese) involves five or six large fishing vessels sailing out to sea to find a pod of dolphins. The fishermen bang metal poles against the side of the boat to disorientate and scare them.

More boats arrive, making the same noise, to corral the confused and by now terrified pod into the cove, which is then sealed off. The next day the inspectors arrive to examine their quarry and separate the dolphins for the aquariums from those to be killed.

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, between 1968 and 1972, only 77 live-caught bottlenose dolphins were sent to aquariums from such hunts. But now Taiji’s 120 fishermen are licensed by the national government to catch 2,100 dolphins and pilot whales in the six-month hunting season.

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A fisherman tows away dolphins that have been tied by rope to the front of his boat. In 2011, about 15 per cent of dolphins were taken into captivity (68 were kept alive and 968 killed)

The fishermen claim any kills that take place, particularly those where the rod shatters the spine, are humane and that it takes only seconds for the dolphins to die. It is a claim vehemently refuted by marine environmentalists.

A spokesman for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said: ‘In 2011, about 15 per cent of the dolphins were taken for captivity (68 were kept alive and 968 killed). ‘The year before that (2010-2011), nearly 20 per cent were taken into captivity (213 were sold for aquariums and 1,100 were killed)  This year, however, may be even higher due to the 100 bottlenose dolphins already taken into captivity.’

In the summer months, long after the blood has been washed away from Taiji cove, tourists arrive to swim in the bay — with dolphins. The town has a whale museum and fish tanks in which dolphins are kept — in 2011, two dolphins were filmed in a tank so small it was nicknamed ‘the fish-bowl’.

Captured dolphins also swim in the bay, which is sealed off to ensure they cannot bolt to freedom.

And as tourists marvel at the antics of these sensitive creatures and play with them, almost every one remains blissfully unaware of Taiji’s bloody secret — and of how young healthy dolphins are snatched away from their parents to amuse humans in this callous multi-million-pound trade.

News Link:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257426/The-dolphin-snatchers-Mail-investigation-exposes-vile-trade-animals-sold-100-000-aquariums-suffer-unimaginable-cruelty.html#ixzz2H3wYDyHM

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Robots to Replace Navy Dolphins in Hunt for Underwater Mines

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Since the 1950′s the Navy has been using marine animals like bottle-nosed dolphins and sea lions in their efforts to keep the ports safe.

The dolphins are taught to locate underwater mines so humans can go and retrieve them.

But, with the advancement of technology, it seems that dolphins might be replaced by robots for their mine hunting duties in the next five years. Animal activists shouldn’t rejoice just yet. One would think that these animals would be retired after their service to the country, but the Navy plans to keep them working.

Mike Rothe, head of the biosciences division at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego, said, “About a quarter of (the Navy dolphins) would be affected. But it’s not like they are going to go jobless. We have other assignments.”

Other assignments include finding and bringing back objects from deep water as well as locating enemy swimmers. Sea lions perform a sort of citizens arrest. Once they find a swimmer who doesn’t belong, the sea lion attaches a claw-like apparatus. The North County Times described it as a sort of boot one might put on the wheel of a car to keep the swimmer stationary.

The government does take responsibility for these animals even when their duties are complete, but heading to a marine sanctuary isn’t exactly at the top of the list. The government has been known to loan out dolphins to Sea World. Not exactly a great “thank you” considering Sea World’s track record with animal welfare. “We humans really do take the piss when it comes to using animals, to not give them a decent retirement is disgraceful…they have to squeeze every last drop out of the poor animals, by then, it’s too late for them to enjoy anything!!”

As some small consolation, at least the government no longer captures wild dolphins for the program. They have a breeding program, not that those dolphins don’t deserve to live their lives free from government control. Sadly, for sea lions, breeding isn’t an option. Most are orphans who were stranded when they were youngsters.

The best we can say from this news, is at least the dangerous duties will be lessened for these creatures. Perhaps one of the animal organizations out there is also trying to get them a better retirement plan. Sea World is hardly relaxing through their golden years

News Link:-http://www.ecorazzi.com/2012/12/04/robots-to-replace-navy-dolphins-in-hunt-for-underwater-mines/

Will Work For Fish: Navy to End Militarized Dolphin Program

Published on 18 Nov 2012

The U.S. Navy will replace its Sea Mammal Program for aless expensive robotic option.

Video: Dolphin Bites Little Girl At Sea World

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“How many more accidents is it going to take, before those interested in money alone; stop & think about what is right for the animal? This could have been a lot worse, that little girl was lucky!”

Published on 2 Dec 2012 by 

SeaWorld defended itself Sunday from criticism from a family after a dolphin bit their 8-year-old daughter at the Orlando attraction. A video posted online shows the girl standing along the edge of a pool, one of several people feeding dolphins. After she picks up a paper plate that once held the marine mammal’s food, a dolphin lunges at her and bites her hand.

The dolphin let go after a few seconds, but not before leaving three puncture wounds on the girl’s hand.

In a statement, SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides said on-site “educators and animal care staff … immediately connected with the family. In addition, a member of our health services team was in the area at Dolphin Cove and quickly responded and treated the young girl.”

Yet in an interview with CNN Atlanta affiliate WSB, the family at the center of the November 21 incident faulted the central Florida attraction’s staff for not warning them the dolphins might bite and for their response after the girl was injured.

“We felt powerless,” the girl’s father, Jamie Thomas, said in explaining their decision to post a video on YouTube. “We thought, look, we’ve got this video, let’s make it public, and let’s try to put some pressure on SeaWorld to make some changes.”

The 8-year-old, Jillian Thomas, said she “accidentally held” up the paper plate, after which the dolphin “jumped up and ate the carton and bit my hand.”

“I was thinking it was going to haul me into the water,” she said. “And this is a little crazy, but I thought it was … going to eat my hand off.”

Jamie Thomas said those feeding the dolphins were told the paper plate should stay on the wall, “but we really didn’t know why.” No one signed a disclaimer, and there were no signs indicating any risk, the father said.

The girl’s mother, Amy Thomas, said she was upset about SeaWorld staffers’ response.

“They did not tell us to look out for any signs of infection,” the mother said. “We had to ask for Band-Aids.”

The Thomas family never contacted SeaWorld after leaving the park, Bides said.

She defended the attraction and its protocol, including “specific instructions to not pick up the paper trays at any time.”

“Our guests are given clear instructions on how to feed the dolphins in an appropriate and safe way,” Bides said. “… Unfortunately, there are times when instructions are not followed.”

 

Free the Travelling Circus Dolphins of Indonesia

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Indonesia is home to the world’s last remaining travelling dolphin circuses. Over 72 dolphins are kept in the most appalling of conditions to perform for audiences across the island of Java.

The animals are frequently hauled out of their plastic pools and loaded into trucks along with other animals as the circuses move from town to town. Many of the dolphins die due to stress and lack of proper care during transportation.

Three companies still run travelling dolphin shows on the main island of Java: Wersut Seguni Indonesia (WSI), Taman Safari Indonesia and Ancol.

JAAN – Jakarta Animal Aid Network has been campaigning against WSI for almost 2 years. They  travel with a number of protected animals and show owners have been claiming legal status by using a loop-hole in Ministry regulations. After extensive investigation JAAN has been able to prove WSI’s false claim over this status. The investigation also revealed that all of the dolphins have been caught illegally from the wild. Other animals kept in the circus are baby sun-bears, small clawed otters, yellow crested cockatoos and an orang-utan.

The circus owners have repeatedly threatened the activists but to no avail. JAAN brought the evidence to the relevant authorities and was able to sign an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indonesian government permitting the rescue, rehabilitation and relocation of the dolphins and the rescue of the other animals. JAAN set up a seapen for the rehabilitation of the captive dolphins. Where possible the dolphins will be set free or at minimum live out their lives in stress free large semi-wild enclosures.

On the day of the planned raid operation government officials cancelled at the last moment and while more meetings have taken place since it is clear that the influential circus owners have pressured the very officials that are supposed to protect the animals from harm. Seven months after the agreement with the Indonesian government was signed, the animals are still used in the shows of WSI and no action has been taken by the authorities.

The Indonesian government is very sensitive to international pressure so JAAN is calling on people from around the world to add their voice to the campaign and help release these wild caught animals.

Please watch the videos, sign the petitions & send the letter (below) 

World’s last remaining travelling dolphin circuses in Indonesia from The Black Fish on Vimeo.

What you can do:-

Please write to the following to express your concern & disgrace about these travelling circuses.

Your local Indonesian Ambassador

European embassiesBelgium | France | Germany | United Kingdom

The following government officials in Indonesia:

Sekretaris Jenderal, Forestry Department
sekjen@dephut.go.id
boenm@dephut.go.id

Inspector General Forestry Department
irjen@dephut.go.id

Governor of Jakarta
bowof@jakarta.go.id

Director General Forestry Department
dirjenphka@dephut.go.id

Minister of Forestry Department
menhut@dephut.com

Please send a copy of all correspondence to jakartaanimalaid@gmail.com

(Use the example letter below or modify as you see fit)

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you out of concern for the well-being of protected animals used in travelling circuses in Indonesia. Especially the situation of the travelling dolphin circus Wersut Seguni Indonesia (WSI) deserves your attention.

WSI uses baby sunbears (Helarctos malayanus), yellow crested cockatoos (cacatua galerita), small clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea) and even dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in its shows. An orangutan, endangered and protected by Indonesian law, is also kept illegally on the premises of WSI in the Kendal province of central Java, in darkness and isolation.

The illegal trade in these animals is threatening the wild dolphin populations in Indonesian waters due to the upcoming industry of ‘swimming with dolphins’ programs and travel shows. For the travelling circuses the dolphins are transported by trucks to various cities throughout Indonesia. The stress of the circus performances and the frequent transportation has already resulted in a large number of dolphin deaths.

Research conducted (2009-2010-2011) by the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) proved that all animals kept at WSI were illegally caught from the wild, without any license. The capturing of dolphins from the wild obviously has a big negative impact on the wild populations. Since data on dolphin populations (numbers and species) are still lacking in Indonesia, we take this matter very seriously.

JAAN brought the evidence to the relevant authorities and was able to sign an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indonesian government permitting the rescue, rehabilitation and relocation of the dolphins and the rescue of the other animals.

JAAN has set up sea pens and a rehabilitation program for the 27 bottle-nose and stenella dolphins kept at WSI and this will become the first permanent facility in the world to rehabilitate and release dolphins back into the wild. Arrangements were also made for the animals to be confiscated and transported to the facility. The program ensures that where possible the dolphins will be set free or at minimum live out their lives in stress free large semi-wild enclosures.

Last month government officials cancelled the raid operation at the last moment without proper explanation and it has become clear that the influential circus owners have successfully persuaded the very officials that are supposed to protect the animals from harm. Seven months after the agreement with the Indonesian government was signed, the animals are still used in the shows of WSI and no action has been taken by the authorities.

Indonesia is the last country where dolphins are used in travelling shows and this is something which is condemned around the world. We would like to ask you to put this issue towards the relevant Indonesian authorities and ensure that animals kept illegally by WSI are re-located to an appropriate rehabilitation facility. We also request that you will put this case to the Indonesian government to ensure that Indonesian law and international regulations are upheld and that Indonesia can proudly show a leadership role in the protection of these endangered species.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward hearing from you regarding any possible action you are able to take on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name & country)

Link:-http://www.theblackfish.org/news/indonesia-dolphin-circuses.html

Link:-http://jakartaanimalaid.com/blog/programs/aid-for-dolphin/

To Presidente, Director: Rehabilitate and Release Kshamenk back to the Wild.

Please sign petition below:-

http://www.change.org/petitions/presidente-director-rehabilitate-and-release-kshamenk-back-to-the-wild#

 

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