Demonstrators Demand The Captive L Pod Orca Lolita Be Retired and Released!


By Kirsten Massebeau

Lolita has performed for 43 years at Miami Seaquarium. Read the Plan for her retirement.

Lolita has performed for 43 years at the Miami Seaquarium. Read the Plan for her retirement.

On October 3, 2013 Barbara Napoles a long time dolphin activist received a call from an Australian news channel about doing a demonstration and interview about Lolita the last L Pod member alive in captivity today. Despite her busy schedule with her popular Facebook page Save the Blood Dolphins Napoles put together and amazing event in less than a week that drew 50 activists including Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project/creator of the academy award-winning documentary The Cove, and the media.

Lolita is a subject close to Napoles heart as she grew up in the Miami area where Lolita has performed for 43 years at the Miami Seaquarium. Napoles has attended, and created, many demonstrations for Lolita known as Tokitae in the Puget Sound where the L pod, her family, her mother, sister and other L pod mates still live today. According to Napoles, “I am sure the L Pod is awaiting Lolita’s return. She has performed for 43 years in one of the tiniest tanks on the planet at the Miami Seaquarium doesn’t she deserve to retire?”.

Barbara Napole and Ric O'Barry brainstorming at the Free Lolita Event on October 12, 2013

Barbara Napoles and Ric O’Barry brainstorming at the Free Lolita Demonstration October 10, 2013

The L pod capture on August 8, 1970 took seven young whales for captivity one of which was Lolita. The whales were sold to marine parks around the world. During Lolita’s capture five whales, including four babies had their bellies slit, then filled with rocks, and weighted down with chains and anchors to keep their deaths from coming to the public’s attention. Of the seven whales taken for captivity Lolita is the only L pod orca from the Penn Cove captures that remains alive today. (Source)

Demonstrators pose for a picture. Their message loud and clear let Lolita go home!

Demonstrators pose for a picture. Their message loud and clear let Lolita go home!

On May 24, 2013 the government announced that they would reconsider Lolita’s status as endangered that she has previously been excluded from:

Apr. 24, 2013: We accepted a petition to include the captive killer whale known as Lolita in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of Southern Resident killer whales. We are soliciting scientific and commercial information about Lolita’s status to ensure that our ongoing status review is comprehensive. Acceptance of this petition doesn’t  presuppose any particular outcome. The comment period closes Jun. 28, 2013. See the Federal Register notice and other materials below for more information; or contact Lynne Barre, 206-526-4745. (source)

What would become of Lolita after 43 years in Miami Seaquarium? Her teeth are still good which gives her a fighting chance. There is a proposal and a good one. Many people in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide want to see Lolita released and returned to her pod. The plan can be read here. Isn’t it time that an orca taken from her family so long ago is given a chance to enjoy the rest of her life with her family? Doesn’t she deserve some kind of retribution for the life that was stolen from her all those years ago in Penn Cove.

Taiji’s First Drive Hunt Plunders Bottlenose Dolphins for Marine Parks: The WAZA Agreement


By Kirsten Massebeau

Hunters and trainers select bottlenose dolphins for captivity at The Cove

Hunters and trainers select bottlenose dolphins for captivity at The Cove Via Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project Livestream

Never has it been more clear that the captive industry is keeping the cruel and horrific dolphin drive alive in Taiji, Japan. On September 1st the dolphin drive season opened for a small group of men and their associate trainers from the dolphin brokering Taiji Whale Museum, and Dolphin Base in Taiji, Japan. The hunters drove a pod of approximately 60 bottlenose dolphins into the cove. After leaving the frantic dolphins overnight the captive selection process began. At the end of the day 18 young dolphins, mere children, were ripped from their families and taken to the harbor pens in preparation for a life of captivity. The remaining dolphins were then released. There was no slaughter because of an agreement with WAZA and the captive industry:

While the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project and over 100 Japanese and foreign activists demonstrated on the shores of the Cove in support of the dolphins on September 1st, the opposing right-wing had a whale meat BBQ on the opposite shoreline broadcasting Hawaiian Luau music, and touting tradition. The Right Wingers put on a good show for this first dolphin drive but in fact it had nothing to do with eating dolphin meat but rather fulfilling the orders for display dolphins placed by aquariums and marine parks from all over the world.

Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project and the Japanese Group  Flipper Japan September 1, 2013

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project and the Japanese Group Flipper Japan: Japan Dolphins Day September 1, 2013 at “The Cove” Via Livestream

In her recent article, Hawaii’s Captive Dolphins Are Linked to the Taiji, Japan Brutal Captures, Candace Calloway Whiting highlights the role of Jay Sweeney DMV a collector and captor of dolphins for display. The presence of the captive industry in Taiji is well documented:

“It seems gruesome that one of the founding partners of Dolphin Quest (swim-with-dolphins facilities located in Hawaii and Bermuda), Dr. Jay Sweeney DVM, now spends his days carving dolphins out of wood, as he stood by while dolphins were carved up in Taiji. His direct involvement with the removal of dolphins and small whales from Japan to amusement parks in the U.S. is irrefutable.

This is fully documented in the film A Fall From Freedom, a clip of which is below. Sweeney continues to profit from the dolphins at Hilton Waikoloa Village and Kahala Mandarin Hotel, where people fork out huge funds to swim with the dolphins” (source)

Find a list of Jay Sweeney DMV’s captures of dolphins obtained through drive fisheries in Japan here.

The dolphin hunters and dolphin brokers of Taiji claim hunting dolphins is their right and their tradition:

“The southern part of Wakayama prefecture has little arable land with many precipitous mountains. Because of this, it has been natural for the local residents to take whales and dolphins which come close to the coast, and utilize them as food. In Japan, we utilize all parts of whales for various purposes not only as food but also as materials to make craft products. Since its beginning, the substance of our whaling has been different from that of other countries which, until petroleum came into use, killed an enormous number of whales for the sole purpose of obtaining whale oil, throwing the meat away into the ocean”(source).

In looking at all the evidence it seems while slaughter, and the meat maybe the byproduct the very non traditional capture of dolphins for modern marine parks and aquariums is not tradition. The only way to end the slaughter is to stop the show, stop the real exploiters those paying $150,000 dollars for a trained disposable dolphin from Taiji drive fisheries.

Be part of the solution!

TELL IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association) & WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) TO $TOP $UPPORTING THE $LAUGHTER IN TAIJI !!

Watch your Cove Monitors and Cove Guardians as they report from the cove daily as the drive season continues. Together we can make a difference! Be a voice for the dolphins!

Join The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project Give your Vote to Les Stroud and the Orca Conservancy


By Kirsten Massebeau

In August of 2010 the Star began publishing a series of articles that would change history and the worlds view of Marine Parks forever as Phil Demers and other former trainers came forward exposing conditions of abuse and neglect at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. The article, “Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say” by Linda Diebel, published Wednesday Aug 15, 2012 revealed what goes on behind closed doors, with example after example, complete with pictures of the terrible neglect and suffering. The articles infuriated animal activists and environmentalists world-wide. Since the articles were published there have been two protests demanding the dilapidated Marine Park be permanently closed.

In her article, “Marineland Conditions for Killer Whale Still Substandard – Video of Kiska the Orca“, Candace Calloway Whiting uses video of Kiska obtained by Alex Dorer of Fins and Fluke of Kiska floating listless and alone in her pool. Dorer described the situation as she sees it at Marineland and how important it is to support the Whistleblowers.

Marineland Canada is one of Ontario’s most popular tourist attractions. Until Phil Demers, a Marineland senior trainer, went public (via the Toronto Star) with how Marineland treats its animals, no one really knew about the horrific conditions in which those animals live and die. You can find the Star’s extensive investigation series into what goes on behind-the-scenes at Marineland here. 
In response to Demer’s actions, Marineland and its owner, John Holer, fired and sued Christine Santos, who happens to be Demers’ girlfriend. And now Demers has been sued as well, AND he has been threatened with additional legal action as well. Demers and Santos now face crippling legal bills, just to defend themselves, and financial ruin if they can’t muster a legal defense.

Pictures provided by Alex Dorer of Fins and Flukes

Pictures of Marineland marine mammals provided by Alex Dorer of Fins and Fluke

 How can you help? Join Ric O’Barry his son Lincoln, and Les Stroud as they give a voice and a vote to the brave whistleblowers and animals at Marineland. Please vote for Les Stroud every day in the celebrity challenge Here. Proceeds benefit Marineland whistleblowers and the lone Orca, Kiska. .

For more information on how you can help come to Fins and Fluke on Facebook. Start making a difference for these animals by supporting the Orca Conservancy and the Marineland Whistleblowers today!

Help Dolphins on Ocean Day! Support European Dolphin Demonstration for Freedom


By Kirsten Massebeau

Ocean day is a day to celebrate our oceans, understand more about them, and take action to help the very bodies of water that give our world life. Part of the amazing underwater world of the oceans are the inhabitants which include dolphins. Highly intelligent with brains as large as mans dolphins remain at the top of the food chain in the ocean. They can easily be categorized as the people of the sea. Dolphin families stay together for a lifetime living in socially complex societies. They recognize themselves in the mirror, and call each other by name. Many scientists today believe that cetaceans deserve status as non-human persons: “They believe dolphins – and their whale cousins – are sufficiently intelligent and self-aware to justify the same ethical considerations given to humans. Recognizing cetaceans’ rights would mean an end to whaling and the captivity of dolphins and whales, or their use in entertainment “. (source).

Bruges Dolphinarium by Frederich Clemente

Bruges Dolphinarium by Frederich Clemente

Sadly despite the scientific data that deems dolphins unsuitable for captivity the practice continues. Bruges Dolphinarium in Europe is just one example of the terrible dolphin suffering that takes place in Europe and worldwide. Trapped in cement tanks filled with chlorinated water dolphins are forced to spend their lives in suffering for human entertainment, forced to perform tricks for dead fish something that would have never been part of their diet in the wild. In 2005 Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. prepared a report entitled, Report on Observations and Preliminary Assessment at Boudewijn Seapark Dolphinarium in Brugges, Belgium:

Bruges dolfinarium is considered as “substandard”. The fate of our 6 dolphins (more than 30 died Under the Dark Dome) is a good example of cruelty, as Morgan is a good example of commercial cynism of Industry. Dr Toni Frohoff said : “The facility itself appears to be sub-standard compared to many facilities around the world that a) provide a more naturalistic environment for dolphins and b) adhere to international governmental regulations This is especially notable due to the extreme noise and reverberation that is characteristic of an indoor facility (and in particular this one that plays such loud music and encourages loud sounds from the audience as well). In fact, this was the loudest facility of the many that I have visited – and in my opinion, is completely unacceptable and constitutes cruelty to these animals who are well-known for their exquisitely sensitive hearing. Further, the ambient and reverberating noises of the indoor facility pumps and maintenance systems may produce continuous noise from which the dolphins cannot escape” (source)

Many died in the nets as the capture process continued.  By SSCS Cove Guardians December 13th, 2012

Many died in the nets as the capture process continued. Those dolphins unwanted for captivity were  slaughtered for pet food and human consumption.
By SSCS Cove Guardians December 13th, 2012

According to Born Free these facilities breeding pools are unsustainable which will force dolphinariums to purchase wild dolphins: “The captive population is unsustainable. Captures of wild dolphins for captivity still goes on in some parts of the world. The danger remains that if the number of dolphinaria in the EU remains the same or increases that attempts may be made by dolphinaria to import further wild-caught dolphins into the EU which contradicts EU law, too” (source)

Long-time activists Yvon Godfroid and Annelies Mullens have been fighting on the European front for dolphins for many years and they need our help. On June 28, 2013 Yvon Godfroid, Annelies Mullens, Ric O’Barry and many other dolphin advocates are demonstrating in Brussels demanding all Dolphinariums be closed. To make this effort a success every dollar counts. No matter where you live you can be a part of this big day for dolphins. A small contribution will help to bring Ric O’Barry to the event, and bring media to the forefront on this very special day for the all  the captive dolphins imprisoned in Europe and worldwide.

According to the experts the captive facilities in Europe are in direct conflict with the European Council:

“The European Council Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos requires that  animals must be  kept in conditions that meet their biological and conservation requirements. Yet in the case of cetaceans, it is impossible for these requirements to be met in captivity. Because no tanks, no lagoons as big as they can be, could ever replace the freedom of swimming in the immensity of the ocean”(source).

Wild and Free Bottlenose Dolphins Swimming off the Coast of Scotland  By Peter Asprey

Wild and Free Bottlenose Dolphins Swimming off the Coast of Scotland
By Peter Asprey

How can you help to further the goal of dolphin freedom? If you are not in Europe and cannot attend the even you can still be a voice for the dolphins and support the demonstration by making a donation no matter how small or large to the Europe Must Ban Dolphinaria Demo. You can sign up on Facebook for the demo and for daily updates on the event: Demonstration against Captivity of Cetaceans in Europe! You can find more information on the actual demo at: For a Delphinarium-free Europe!!! You can also sign the petition All dolphinaria must be closed in Europe!!!

Together we can make a difference for dolphins and the oceans!

No Dolphinariums in Europe: June 28 Demo Gives Dolphins Hope for Freedom


By Kirsten Massebeau

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demo Banner by Sasha Alazy

Demonstrators opposing dolphinariums and captive facilities in Europe are organized and ready to go! On June 28, 2013 they will gather in Brussels with a loud and clear message to Europe demanding closure of all captive facilities. According to the demonstrators captive facilities are in direct opposition to the law:

The European Council Directive 1999/22/EC on the keeping of wild animals in zoos requires that animals must be kept in conditions that meet their biological and conservation requirements. Yet in the case of cetaceans, it is impossible for these requirements to be met in captivity. Because no tanks, no lagoons as big as they can be, could ever replace the freedom of swimming in the immensity of the ocean (source).

Marineland Antibes

Marineland Antibes dolphin show

Today there are 34 captive facilities and 286 cetaceans in captivity in Europe. Those countries include:Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. “WDCS anti-captivity lead, Cathy Williamson states, these commercially driven, circus-style shows may seem like fun but the truth is much sadder”. Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project describes captivity as a life of silence and isolation: “Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to live in a hall of mirrors for the rest of their life – their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight”(source).

25% of the cetacean population in captive facilities in Europe were obtained from a wild source meaning capture or strand while the captive born dolphins are being bred from small breeding pools. According to born free these facilities breeding pools are unsustainable which will force dolphinariums to purchase wild dolphins: “The captive population is unsustainable. Captures of wild dolphins for captivity still goes on in some parts of the world.

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.  By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

Bottlenose dolphins have last moments together before being dragged to slaughter.
By SSCS C.G. 1.20.13

The danger remains that if the number of dolphinaria in the EU remains the same or increases that attempts may be made by dolphinaria to import further wild-caught dolphins into the EU which contradicts EU law, too” (source)

Two long time dolphin advocates in Europe Yvon Godfroid and Annelies Mullens could see the unsustainable situation, and the terrible dolphin suffering taking place in captive facilities throughout Europe and worldwide. Independent of all groups they decided to organize a demonstration. They realize that the hunt in Taiji and other places will never end as long as dolphinaria exists. They realize that as long as dolphinaria exists the dolphin hunt will go on.

As dolphins don’t thrive good in captivity the dolphinaria will need “fresh” genes so the dolphin hunt will go on. They have the principle that before throwing stones at other countries you have to clean up your own backyard first. So in order to stop the dolphin hunt they will fight the dolphinaria in Europe (source)

European Demonstration Brussels

European Demonstration Brussels

How can you help the dolphins and get involved in the Belgium Demonstration? Join Ric O’Barry and attend the event in Brussels! You can sign up on Facebook: Demonstration against Captivity of Cetaceans in Europe! If you are not in Europe and cannot attend the even you can still be a voice for the dolphins and support the demonstration by making a donation no matter how small or large to the Europe Must Ban Dolphinaria Demo. You can find more information on the actual demo at: For a Delphinarium-free Europe!!! You can also sign the petition All dolphinaria must be closed in Europe!!!

64933_4202752074613_791715274_n

Dolphin freedom is so worth fighting for. Together we can make a difference.

2013 Brings New Hope for Dolphins


By Kirsten Massebeau

Dolphin Watching Fireworks by Born Free Facebook

Dolphin Watching Fireworks by Born Free Facebook

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 23, 2012 Japan March for Dolphins and Whales By Michael Todd

November 24, 2012 Tokyo March for Dolphins and Whales By Michael Todd

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.

Marcos the baby dolphin

Marcos the baby dolphin rescued August 20, 2012 By PROMAR

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!

Dolphins slaughtered while IMATA celebrates in Hong KongTaiji dolphins by SSCS Cove Guardians 2012

Dolphins slaughtered while IMATA celebrates in Hong Kong
 Dolphins in the cove By SSCS Cove Guardians  December 2012

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)
Screen print from Cove Guardians livestream 2012

Screen print from taiji.ezearth.tv  December 13. 2012 Taken by STBD

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.

Wild and Free! Ric O'Barry  The Dolphin Project

Wild and Free!  Ric O’Barry The Dolphin Project 2012

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.

Join Champions for Cetaceans and our sister page Save The Blood Dolphins on Facebook for drive updates and dolphin issues daily.

Taiji A Place of Terror and Suffering for Dolphins


By Kirsten Massebeau Champions for Cetaceans Daily Scoop

The Hopi Prayer for a pod of striped dolphins

Today September 26th in Japan a pod escaped the dolphin hunters in Taiji. Cheers abound from activists after a grueling drive yesterday. A pod of approximately 25 striped dolphins were driven into the cove. Originally they were a much larger pod, but half the pod did escape. That did not make it any easier for those that would lose their lives in the shallows of a place haunted by the dolphin suffering of millions.

Secret video captured in a previous season by Dieter Hagmann

As the dolphins were pushed into the cove by the banger boats Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Cove Monitors posted:

Taiji:#Tweet4Dolphins
Dolphins terrified and being pushed to shore. 12:07 (source)

Then only 14 minutes later:

Taiji: #Tweet4Dolphins
One dolphin floated in the middle for a while. Now dead. Some dolphins were taken in skiffs alive. 12:14pm. (Source)

Finally:

Taiji: #Tweet4Dolphins

@slaughterhouse…blood is pouring out. They tried to put something to catch the blood as it comes out but it’s not working. The amount is sickening. 1:15pm,. (Source)

Dolphin Meat Distribution by Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Monitors

In 2009 the award winning documentary “The Cove” revealed the dolphin suffering that takes place in Taiji, Japan. The slaughter is financed by the sale of dolphins for captivity. The meat is toxic so the ability to sell it is waning but as long as marine parks, aquariums, dolphinariums, swim with dolphins, and Dolphin Assisted Therapy purchase these individuals the slaughter will never end.

How can you help? Join Ric O’Barry and Save Japan Dolphins. Your donations go to fighting this inhumane slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The website provides many ways that you can get involved today!

Join Save Japan Dolphin Taiji Cove Monitors on Facebook! Like the page and get up to date feed on the drives and ways to take action.

Please join Champions for Cetaceans on Facebook for cetacean issues and news!