By Kirsten Massebeau
2013 offers new hope for dolphins everywhere! In 2012 there were some significant events that can only mean new, positive changes for dolphins. SeaWorld lost their bid to overturn the OSHA decision banning dolphin trainers from getting into the water and performing with Orca all of this stemming from the death of Dawn Brancheau’s death in 2010 (source). In July David Kirby published his revealing book “Death At Sea World” that would crush the happy picture of captivity created by the captive industry forever.
On May 11, 2012 Born Free released Tom and Misha back into the ocean after two years of preparation. Tom and Misha were captured in 2010 off provincial port of Ismir in Turkey. They were then sent to a tourist hot spot Hisaronu where they were kept in horrific conditions used in a swim with dolphins. Thanks to the work of Donal MacIntyre a journalist, Dolphin Angels, and Born Free today the dolphins swim free!
“Helen Worth had been with the project since the beginning, and said, “When I first saw them in that hell of a pool I wondered if they would survive. It’s been the most heart-wrenching journey with so many challenges but each and every one of them has been overcome by the team and, most importantly, by Tom and Misha themselves. The drama and emotion of Tom and Misha’s story is an inspiration.” (source)
November 24, 2012 gave way to a historic march for whales and dolphin in protest of whale and dolphin hunting, and capture. While dolphin and whale hunting continues to be sanctioned by the government in Japan, Japanese activists are coming forth and joining the International campaign to save whales and dolphins worldwide. These brave pioneers bring an entirely new perspective to ocean activism and animal welfare. Thanks to social media ocean activists can join together on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms sharing information, and taking action from all over the world.
On August 20, 2012 baby dolphin Marcos was discovered by the Spanish Civil Guard who then alerted PROMAR a non-profit organization in the South of Spain. A striped dolphin Marcos species normally lives in the deep waters. How was separated from his mother and got so close to shore is unknown. PROMAR dedicated to dolphin freedom has and is doing everything possible to make sure Marcos has a successful release. They hope to locate a pod of the striped dolphins using a helicopter and then release Marcos into the group. It is a huge undertaking but Marcos has come a long way. Promar working with Ric O’Barry and The Dolphin Project believe Marcos has a shining wild and free future ahead! Join Marcos on Facebook and see how you can help!
Sadly the total disconnect with dolphins continues in Taiji, Japan and the overall captive industry. While International Marine Animal Trainers Association ( IMATA) trainers, many of whom work with Taiji dolphins celebrated their profits, dolphins were being captured and slaughtered in the cove. For several days bottlenose dolphins watched as a pod of short finned pilot whales suffered, and then were slowly slaughtered. Eventually the dolphin hunters turned their sights to the bottlenose and their cruel and inhumane treatment of dolphins continued. If that wasn’t enough on December 7th, a small pod of Risso’s dolphins was captured, the entire pod immediately slaughtered. Join the campaign asking IMATA to stop the slaughter. During the IMATA conference December 2-7, 2012 the dolphin deaths and suffering in the cove seemed endless:
- 02-Dec-2012: 2 pods, bottlenose (16) & pilots (12) driven, held overnight
- 03-Dec-2012: 12 pilots killed, dolphins remain held in the cove (from Dec 2nd drive)
- 04-Dec-2012: 9 bottlenose taken as live-capture, 7 bottlenose killed (from Dec 2nd drive)
- 07-Dec-2012: 15 Risso’s Dolphins captured and killed (source)
As discouraging as the ignorance and cruelty towards dolphins is in Taiji, and the captive industry, there is hope on the horizon. Thanks to Social Media and the ability to share information Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians and Save Japan Dolphins Cove Monitors are able to report on the drive real-time on Facebook and Twitter which allows activists to share worldwide. The real kicker for 2012 was the live stream taiji.ezearth.tv done by the Cove Guardians. From the minute a pod is spotted thru the horrific processing of their bodies the live stream is on exposing the horrors of Taiji and the captive dolphin industry.
Ocean activist’s are growing in numbers everyday through many social media platforms. As Ric O’Barry says,”Be your own media, make your own network”. 2013 will offer new angles and ways to make a difference for dolphins as we continue to share the message captivity kills! Don’t buy a ticket! Together we can make a difference.