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.

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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#

 

Make a Splash: Free Lolita!

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The show is designed to make people believe Lolita is having fun.

Meet Lolita: an intelligent and sensitive orca, confined to the smallest orca tank in North America.

This life means daily misery for Lolita, but big bucks for the Miami Seaquarium. And, even though her shameful living conditions clearly violate the Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to hand out AWA licenses to the Seaquarium.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is outraged and petitioning the USDA to give Lolita the justice she so rightly deserves.

Lolita was one of seven orcas kidnapped in the notorious 1970 Penn Cove round up in Puget Sound, Washington. In this horrific event, when four orcas (three calves) drowned in the nets, their bellies were slit in an attempt by human captors to sink the bodies and perhaps to hide this shameful waste of life. However, the bodies of the dead orcas washed ashore and lead to righteous public outrage. You can hear the cries of Lolita and her family in the devastating video footage of her family’s capture.

“For some reason I couldn’t see the video that would play on that page; so I have included this video instead, which has some of the soundtrack from that capture!”

Killer Whale Captures

Uploaded by  on 31 Aug 2009

Footage shot by KING TV in the early 1970’s of the early killer whale captures in Puget Sound.

“In this video one of the divers from that day, explains what happened, he still shed tears to this day!”

“Orca Stories” from “Baby Wild Films Presents: The Killer Whale People”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUlbZifjoqo

“Another video that show’s part of capture of the whales”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN52iBH4IPY

“A promo stunt goes badly wrong when a theme park secretary is given the opportunity to ride on the back of a killer whale; but it goes terribly wrong & the women ends up having over 100 stitches to close the wound on her leg! I don’t think this whale did this out of malice, I think it’s out of sheer frustration; the pools they swim in are like bath tubs to the orcas!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DqqNDnGO00&feature=related

“Please sign the petition, do anything you can to have these beautiful mammals put back where they belong…in the WILD”

In the wild, orcas spend their entire lives with their mothers and family bonds last a lifetime. In 1996, twenty-six years after her capture, Lolita was played a recording of her family’s calls. Heartbreakingly, Lolita returned the distinct dialect of her family’s calls, in clear recognition of familiar voices. And at more than 80 years old, Lolita’s mother still thrives in a seaside sanctuary in their home waters, just waiting for Lolita to come home.

Performers literally ride on Lolita’s back for profit.

Instead, because she brings in profit, Lolita swims tiny circles in a shallow and barren cement tank that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. Constantly exposed to the burning Miami sun and tropical storms, Lolita has been without any orca companion for three decades.

In the beginning, Lolita had the company of Hugo, a male orca who shared her tank from 1971 until 1980. They mated, but in her stressful environment Lolita suffered unsuccessful pregnancies. In 1980, in what many believe was a desperate attempt to break free from his miserable prison, or commit suicide, Hugo continuously rammed his head into the side of the tank and died of a brain aneurysm  Since Hugo’s sudden death in 1980, which left Lolita sulking at the bottom of her tank in a state “not unlike bereavement,” Lolita has not had a killer whale companion.

As a reward for her own extraordinary will to live, Lolita has been exploited for 42 years. She was abducted from her family and enslaved purely for the profit of the “amusement” park. Despite shameful and inhumane living conditions, Lolita endures – and her survivor spirit has haunted the hearts of people around the world. But given the low quality of her life at Seaquarium, it is likely she will die decades before her time, unless we act now, as we did for Keiko (“Willy”). It is time for us to set Lolita free.

Published on 22 Aug 2012 by 

 ALDF Fights to Free Lolita

This is why ALDF is doing everything it can to help return Lolita to her family. In addition to a petition to stop the USDA’s unmerited renewal of the Seaquarium’s AWA license, ALDF (along with PETA) is suing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to end the exclusion of Lolita from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of the Pacific Northwest’s Southern Resident orcas.

ALDF is asking the courts to intervene where federal agencies – charged with protecting Lolita – have repeatedly failed her. “The horror of Lolita’s confinement is almost inconceivable” says Jenni James, litigation fellow at ALDF. “It is time for the government to grant her the legal protections she has been denied for decades.”

What You Can Do to Help

  • Do not buy a ticket to any amusement park with captive orcas, especially the Miami Seaquarium.
  • Educate yourself, educate your friends, and spread the word.
  • Arrange a screening of Lolita: Slave to Entertainment at your school, community center, library, or local community television station.
  • Do not support companies like Princess Cruises (a division of Carnival Cruises) that endorse animal cruelty at the Seaquarium.
  • Contact the USDA and ask them to follow the law provided in the Animal Welfare Act.
  • Sign ALDF’s Petition to the:- National Marine Fisheries Service.

More Information

Atlanta Aquarium wants to import new whales into confinement

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Translated text:-The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, USA, is under fire because of the plan to import 18 beluga whales, captured in Russia, submitting them to a life in captivity and exploit them as if they were machines that have more to play and more pups, which are then utilized in marine parks around the country.

In a National Geographic article entitled ” We import belugas for display ? “Virginia Morell disagrees with the idea that aquariums need more beluga whales in captivity. “Those who are in captivity now go stale, perhaps alone, and die. Replacing them will cause damage and distress to other whales, which are torn from their families, who live very well in the natural environment, “said Virginia.

She describes for readers the life that belugas lead in their natural homes:

“Whales are highly sociable and gregarious. They make long journeys of migration, they have an impressive range of communication and, as the Dolphins (distant relatives), are able to use this feature in a variety of ways, including imitation of each other (a newly published study shows that the belugas can even mimic human). They like to hang out in the summer, shallow coastal waters, in large groups (sometimes gather in thousands) formed by close relativesmothers, fathers, babies, aunts, uncles and cousins. Sometimes they travel alone to visit other members of the clan apart.

If we compare this to a life where their droppings are diluted in a water tank of a cement where the belugas and other marine mammals spend their days swimming in circles, deprived of everything they like, even the ability to vocalize.

Visitors come from aquariums, spend a few hours in the park, buy some souvenirs and then return home to continue with their lives. The animals aquarium tanks remain the same until the day they die.

Mobilization

Your voice is needed! Help stop the cruel plans of the Georgia Aquarium. Please contact the National Marine Fisheries Service of the United States and inform employees why they should deny permission for the import new aquarium whales.

Please use this link , there is a suggestion message to be sent to the agency.

Information provided by PETA.

News Link:-http://www.anda.jor.br/31/10/2012/aquario-de-atlanta-quer-importar-novas-baleias-para-confinamento

Iles-de-la-Madeleine harp seals spared after worldwide outcry

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One of two seals at the Aquarium des Iles who were set to be killed because they could not be released into the wild. They have been given a reprieve, but petitioners will need to raise $73,000 by next week.

The fate of two harp seals at an aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine has raised an international outcry, with more than 124,000 people from around the world signing an 11th hour petition to save them.

Originally slated to be killed Saturday, the strength of the opposition has led the Aquarium to spare six-month-old pups Zak and Mika – for now.

But it is still not clear who will take care of the seals, and at whose expense.

Every spring for the last 25 years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans catches two whitecoat harp seals to put on display at the aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, to be released back into the wild when the aquarium closes in the fall.

But with new directives from the DFO this year barring their release because of concerns they may transmit disease to wild populations of seals and other animals, the aquarium planned to kill the two seals Saturday as it closed its doors for the fall and winter.

One of the workers at the aquarium alerted a wildlife rehabilitation centre on Saltspring Island, B.C., however, and the petition was born, drawing thousands of signatures a day for the past week.

In response, the Aquarium des Iles issued a statement Friday suggesting it could send the animals to Oceanopolis, a facility in Brest, Franceif those who signed the petition come up with the $73,000 needed to care for them in the meantime, by Sept. 21.

Wildlife organizations were not impressed.

“It feels a little like they’re taking the seals hostage – like a ransom note: “Now that you’re upset, give us some money or we’ll kill them,” said Michelle Cliffe, a spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is helping to organize the effort. “We think it’s the responsibility of an aquarium to have a plan and the finances to care for animals prior to taking on those animals.”

Cliffe said the sheer number of people that have signed on, from as far away as Russia and Greece and across the U.S., show that people do care about the animals, and so should the aquarium.

“The mandate of the aquarium is to educate the public about these animals, and create a bond with them,” Cliffe said. “It seems very strange and very sad that they would then destroy the very animals they are trying to educate people about – what is the message and what is the learning there?”

Aquarium directors could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a caretaker said it’s been “hell” for the last three days, as the fate of the seals is all anyone is talking about.

Cliffe said her organization is in contact with the DFO and is looking into whether there is a way to mitigate the medical risks of releasing the seals to the wild — the best, and cheapest solution.

Barring that the IFAW is also examining the conditions in which the seals would be cared for, both en route and at Oceanopolis. In terms of minimizing suffering, euthanasia may be preferable to putting the seals in a cage on an airplane for eight hours, she said.

But the situation raises bigger questions about why the DFO is capturing marine mammals to begin with — at taxpayers’ expense — and about the lack of legislation protecting marine mammals both in the wild and in captivity.

Based on the testimony of three workers at Marineland, the Toronto Star has published a series of stories highlighting the poor living conditions at that aquarium in Niagara Falls, and more than 76,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to enact laws and regulations to protect animals in zoos and aquaria.

The DFO stopped the capture of whales for the benefit of aquaria following recommendations made in 1999, Cliffe said. It should now stop capturing all marine mammals

News Link:-: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Iles+Madeleine+harp+seals+spared+after+worldwide+outcry/7248949/story.html#ixzz26aJwwsLJ

40 Years in a Barren Tank, Lolita the Orca Waits for Freedom

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Published on 22 Aug 2012 by 

Lolita the orca is kept in a tank so small that it fails to meet minimum legal size requirements and offers no protection from the burning sunclear violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Lolita was taken from her family as a young orca and has spent over 40 years in this barren tank, being forced to entertain Miami Sequarium patrons.

Help ALDF free Lolita, visit:  http://is.gd/AwOjCs

For more information on ALDF’s work to free Lolita, visit:http://aldf.org/article.php?id=2132

Speak Out for Better Protections for Captive Orcas Petition Information

Lolita is a solitary orca who has been confined to a tiny concrete tank at the Miami Seaquarium for more than 40 years. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides members of the wild Southern Resident orca population and other endangered animals with a host of protections, including protection against being harmed or harassed. Yet, despite being a member of the Southern Residents, Lolita has been denied all of these protections without any explanation by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The government’s failure to provide Lolita with the protections enjoyed by the wild members of her pod has enabled the Miami Seaquarium to keep her in conditions that violate the Endangered Species Act. Lolita must be granted the protections under federal law which she is rightfully due and which best ensure her survival and well-being, which—depending on her condition—could include transferring her to a sea pen in her home waters and releasing her back to her family pod.

In the wild, orcas live in tight family units with bonds that may last a lifetime. At Seaquarium, Lolita swims endless circles in a small, barren tank that does not comply with USDA regulations. This highly intelligent and social animal has been without an orca companion since 1980.

Sign ALDF’s petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service, urging them to include captive members of Lolita’s Southern Resident pod in ESA protections.

Please sign the petition here:http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5154/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8789

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