Tag Archives: Save Japan Dolphins

More dolphin education from the Georgia Aquarium. Not. Unless dolphins picking the Super Bowl winner is educational.

Before we get to the dolphin education brought to you by CNN and the Georgia Aquarium, and to a lesser extent the Super Bowl, I’d like you to meet the two dolphins now housed at the Georgia Aquarium, reported by CNN to be Shaka and Lily, who are the subjects of today’s post.

Shaka Wild Caught dolphin from Georgia Aquarium

Shaka, a wild-caught dolphin, caught in 1988, estimated birthdate in 1985, Georgia Aquarium. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory

Shaka:  Shaka was wild-caught.  I’m not very good at dolphin research yet, so I can’t tell you precisely where Shaka was taken, or how many dolphins from her pod were taken from the ocean on that memorable day.  But thanks to Ceta-base (because the government doesn’t do a very good job of tracking the dolphins in captivity), we know that she was captured on May 27, 1988, and arrived at Dolphin Quest Bermuda on August 20, 1988.  Estimated to have been born in 1985, Shaka has been used to breed dolphins for the captive industry.  She has lost at least two calves in this effort to supply more captive dolphins, one in 1996 and one in 1997.  Dolphins generally breed only every five years, maybe a bit less, because in the wild, the calves stay with their mother continuing to learn how to be a dolphin.  So Shaka was busy.

Lily Georgia Aquarium bottlenose dolphin

Lily, also at the Georgia Aquarium, born April 9, 2004. Photo from Ceta-base's Phinventory

Lily.  Lily, on the other hand, was bred in captivity.  She has never lived in the ocean.  Born to Cirrus (Circe) with sperm from Khyber (Keebler) on April 4, 2004, she now lives at the Georgia Aquarium.

I’m at a bit of a loss to  know what to say next about Shaka and Lily, because I’ve seen the latest installment in what sort of “education” about dolphins the Georgia Aquarium provides that justifies keeping these sentient creatures in a tank, and am left speechless, almost.  When I watched the following video, the universe supplied me with words like imbecilic and disrespectful.  The word “education” was not found in the parade of words that floated past.

But lest you worry that the video will be shocking, let me assure you, this is just a moronic display of disrespect of the dolphins to sell news over at CNN and get more people to watch the Super Bowl (as if) and come to the Georgia Aquarium.  Same old story.

So to the morons and imbeciles, I humbly apologize.  I know, I know, labels only label me, not you.  Whatever.  Just watch this educational spot and see if you don’t agree that, even if you can’t put your finger on precisely what is wrong with this picture, you know that it is wrong.

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Seeing how these creatures are being used, please do not go to the dolphin show.  Not here.  Not there.  Not anywhere.  And to add your voice to those who have put their finger on the wrongness, take the pledge with Save Japan Dolphins not to go to a dolphin show.  Share it with your friends.

If you take the pledge, I thank you.  And I bet, Shaka and Lily thank you.

If you’d like to let CNN know that this spot makes it clear that two of the four mammals in it appear to be clueless about how off the mark they were on selecting this spot, you can contact them at 404.827.1500.  I wonder who thought this one up?  CNN? Or the Georgia Aquarium?

For more information, you might want to watch a trailer to The Cove.

Join in finding freedom from captivity – A New Show

Ric O'Barry

For years, Ric O’Barry and Hardy Jones have spoken out against marine mammal captivity.  They have pointed out in movies, such as The Cove and A Fall from Freedom, that whales and dolphins do not belong in captivity.  Recently a group of former Sea World trainers have created an interactive website, where they speak out about the life of captivity for marine mammals.

Mr. O’Barry, as a former and probably the world’s most famous dolphin trainer, learned from being with them on an ongoing basis, that training them to perform and keeping them in captivity was not an ethical undertaking.  He learned that dolphins in those settings can become dispirited and depressed.  He learned what Jacques Cousteau admonished, that

No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.  – Jacques Yves Cousteau

In response to that realization, Mr. O’Barry and others have devoted their lives toward securing the release of dolphins and orcas from a captive, for-human-entertainment life.

Rehabilitate the captives.  Mr. O’Barry has suggested an ethical alternative for the trainers and the captive facilities, like SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium.  That alternative is to provide real education about whales and dolphins by rehabilitating for a life in the wild the cetaceans whom the aquarium industry has captured or bred for captivity.  And making that the show. There are over 50 cetaceans at Sea World Orlando alone, and hundreds in the United States.  The international situation mirrors the United States one, with worse conditions than the meager protections afforded by U.S. laws.

Wouldn’t rehabilitation of former “performers” be a fine undertaking and a show that you’d be proud to attend?  And a wonderful memory for your children?  Of having been part of and been there on the front row of finding freedom for the world’s dolphins and whales.

You have, perhaps, seen the videos of dogs who had spent their entire lives chained to a post and then become free from that chain.  While dogs and dolphins are not an apt special comparison because dolphins are actually wild, undomesticated animals, watching even a dog experience freedom from a chain, unsuitable for its normal activity and range, may give us some sense of what an orca or dolphin, far more intelligent than a dog, would experience in the same situation.

We would need to be very responsible in that endeavor to release these highly intelligent mammals in a way that took into account their intelligence, their lifestyles, their instincts, their native habitat.  We could do that.  And if we humans are ethical and moral creatures, we will do that.

Rehabilitate the stranded.  After we succeeded in rehabilitating the captive-bred or captured dolphins and orcas, there would be ongoing work to rehabilitate whales and dolphins who strand, generally en masse, for reasons that still elude the human species.  Instead of finding reasons to retain the stranded, Sea World and the rest could re-focus the effort that they now expend in training for jumping, splashing, ball-throwing shows on caring for the stranded, locating the still-free remnant of the pods, and reuniting them.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to share with your children an experience of restoring a free life to these magnificent creatures?  As a comparison, if we desired to design a depressing life for dolphins and whales, we would wind up with a design like the current Sea World and The Georgia Aquarium.  Of course, that is not our desire.  That is, I feel certain, not the desire of the aquariums.  But the apparently willful blindness of the aquarium industry to the egregious, depressing life that they have designed for whales and dolphins is no excuse.  It is not an excuse for any of us, any more. We and they must step beyond the Mid-Twentieth Century mentality of dolphin and whale captivity.

The great news is that there is an alternative. An ethical alternative.  An alternative that will allow us all to participate in making a difference for life.  But we must together create that alternative.  How?

By being part of a demand for A New Show.

And, meanwhile, by taking a pledge not to go to the current one.  Be part of building an ethical outcome to the captivity dilemma.  Never again allow a dolphin to die as Jiyu, whose life will forever remind us that dolphins should be free.

Photo of Jiyu by Heather Hill of Save Japan Dolphins

Namaste.

Free Recycled Shopping Bags

Watch out! It's Recyclosaurus!! (Kroger)

If anyone has read my blog lately, they may pick up on the idea that, among all my other traits, I am, shall we say, extremely disorganized.  Thank god for chairs and computers and books and printers and notebooks and pen and paper.  Words are a wonderful world of partially-furnished organization.

I also love organization.  It’s soooooooo cool.  But I just don’t have the knack to do and keep it done in the physical world.  So my life, in the home organization department, is pretty much spent getting organized (to a greater or lesser degree) and then spending the next two years on the sliding board of disorganization, only to land in the disorganization mudpit at the bottom of the slide, where it becomes so obvious that disorganization is now a problem that I must do something about it.

Which brings us to this article.  This last home organization cycle has lasted for more than two years.  That is to say, I’ve been living in the mudpit for awhile, peppered with periods or even moments where I cleaned up enough to notice an improvement and then stopped.  If you follow this blog, you’ll notice that I have been climbing back up that sliding board since the weekend of Christmas.

So disorganized?  Yes.  But will I find single-use plastic shopping bags in this mess?  No.  Because, while disorganized, I’m also an environmentalist and lover of the planet who tries in my disorganized way make choices about my lifestyle that are consistent with my love of the planet.

No single-use plastic in this disorganized gal’s house.  Instead, I find, in my cleaning adventure, a medium-sized pile of recycled shopping bags.  Not a huge pile, because it isn’t really true that Hoarders invited me on their show, and if someone suggests that, Hoarders and I both know it isn’t true.  But a pile, yes, and one bigger than I can use to do my food-shopping.  Fresh vegetables really don’t take that much room in shopping bags.

And of course, you’re ahead of me.  You know why I have that medium-sized pile.  You all (except the most organized) experience those moments walking into the grocery store, the “Crap!  I forgot the recycled shopping bags!” moments.  The ones you even stomp your foot and snap your fingers about, right there in the grocery store.  But I refuse to use single-use shopping bags.  Nope.  Not gonna do it.   Ergo, medium-sized pile.  If I were more organized, I could say medium-sized stack.  But, alas, I am not, and cannot.

So, I just decided this morning that if you, dearest (you have no idea how dear, unless my stats are showing) reader, would like to have one of my existing shopping bags, please leave a comment and I’ll send one to you.

Bag that saves dolphins. http://www.savejapandolphins.org

It’s not like I’m the Imelda Marcos of shopping bags; I don’t have that many.  I just have more than I need and thought I would share.  Simple.  So, when my paltry pile is empty, I won’t purchase more just so I can send one to you.

Hm.  Wait a minute.  Maybe I will.

If you take a pledge not to use single use shopping bags in your comment on this piece, I will send you a brand new one.

Show your love for the planet.  Leave a comment. Pledge to not use single-use plastics shopping bags.  I can’t send an on-request, particular kind, but I think you’ll like them.

Hey, pledge in the comment to work on an ordinance for your City Council  to end the use of single-use plastic bags within its jurisdiction, also providing contact information for your Mayor and City Council members, and I’ll send you five new recycled shopping bags.

But you won’t find a Publix bag in the lot, because they sponsor the diabolical dolphin show at the Georgia Aquarium, and I will never give my money to Publix, unless I am visiting my mom, where that is apparently all they have.

Wait.  Ooh.  If you sign the pledge at Save Japan Dolphins to not go to the dolphin show and comment on this article indicating the date and time (for verification, because I’m a bitch) you signed the Pledge at Save Japan Dolphins, I will send you five new free recyclable shopping bags, too.  I’m still not guaranteeing the message.  But you’ll like them, unless you’re a bolt of cloth.  Note that Save Japan Dolphins has not approved this; this is just me on a Saturday morning drinking coffee.

And what about my medium-sized pile?  I’ll continue to palm them off on my most honored first and last born and his amazing sweetheart.

Late-breaking edit: I’m thinking a five-bag maximum makes sense.  I wouldn’t want you to start creating your own pile.  So, if you both pledge to not go to the dolphin show AND agree to work on an ordinance in your town, you’ll get twice the karma points, but not the number of bags, except for Georgia, whose awesome commitment brought this consideration to the surface.  And can only do this for U.S. addresses.  At least for now.

Note: It doesn't say "Organize it." or maybe I would have? Basically.

Ric O’Barry Live from Taiji, Japan

Ric O'Barry, photo from http://www.thecovemovie.com

For the last several days, Ric O’Barry has been live streaming via ustream from Taiji, Japan.  Mr. O’Barry, the world’s most known dolphin activist,  is discussing dolphin captivity, capture and slaughter.

I just learned about it – woops – and thought I would pass it along right away.

Click now and sign up for a reminder for a live broadcast tonight, Saturday, January 7, 2012, at 8:00 pm E.S.T.

For more information about what you can do to be part of a worldwide movement to save the world’s dolphins, go to Save Japan Dolphins.

Japanese Police Raid in Taiji Will Not Stop Dolphin Activism

Lest anyone read the accounts of the latest attacks on the Cove Guardians in Taiji (where the Japanese law enforcement manufactured a search warrant authorizing them to seize cameras and laptops of U.S. and other nations’ citizens), and be concerned that this may curtail the firm stand of dolphin activists worldwide, let me assure you that you need not worry.

There exist photographs to document the slaughter.  I repeat, one needn’t worry that activists will ever forget or will ever stop short of meeting the goal of dolphin freedom.

Photo by Brooke McDonald, prior to efforts to quash publicity about the slaughter

Neither need fear the dolphins and whales that activists will forget

  • the arrest and detainment of Dutch citizen and Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen;
  • the relentless capture and slaughter of dolphins by 26 fishermen;
  • the direct or indirect participation in the slaughter of dolphins by trainers, brokers, and aquariums by selecting from the slaughter the pretty few whom they will take into a life of captive performing and breeding; or
  • Jiyu, who did not survive the transition from freedom to captivity, from catching her own food to being force-fed by trainers;

or will be dissuaded from seeking an ethical and free life for all dolphins and whales.  No worry necessary that this will stop our efforts.  As is the case with steel, which is strengthened by fire and the hammer, the Cove Guardians and other activists worldwide are watching and learning.

But I must confess that I am worried.  It is not, however, for activists or dolphins.  It is for the casual photographer.  If having laptops and cameras justifies a search warrant . . .

When countries make photographing illegal, we're all in trouble

My camera and I will out and about today, in honor of animals and their champions everywhere, and in particular, The Cove Guardians.

The knee bone of dolphin killing

It is a sad morning around the world today because of

  • 26 men in Taiji, Japan,
  • a network of dolphin brokers,
  • aquarium owners, such as SeaWorld (Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego) or the Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta), and their member organizations, for instance, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,
  • trainers and their organization, the International Marine Animals Trainers’ Association,
  • individuals who have made a business of “wildlife”,
  • the customers who attend “the dolphin show,” and
  • a lot of silent men and women.

Even here in Atlanta, where the Georgia Aquarium has “only” one wild-caught dolphin in its possession while the other ten were bred in captivity, the impact comes home to roost.  Why?  Because it is the dolphin show, ultimately, whether with wild-caught or captive-bred dolphins, that creates the market for dolphins that causes the slaughter.  Kinda like, the shin bone being connected to the thigh bone via the knee bone.  While some aquariums may suggest that they are not connected directly, they’re kinda like that thigh bone.  The Taiji hunters: they’re the shin bone.  The knee bone of this operation, the thing that holds it all together, that keeps it moving, that keeps it on its feet, running like gang busters, that is to say,  killing dolphins, is the show.  Without the dolphin show, there would be no slaughter.

In A Fall from Freedom, Brad Andrews, Chief Zoological Officer of Sea World Parks & Entertainmet, makes the case that it is the dolphin show that saves the dolphins; that twenty years ago, we were shooting them as a menace.  He states that the show has elevated them to our awareness such that we want to protect them.   Let me repeat.  Chief Zoological Officer.  Not Chief of Marketing.  I could maybe handle that statement from the Chief of Marketing.  It would be his job to say whatever he needed to get us paying dollars for dolphins.  But I expect science from a scientist.

Mr. Andrews, there are over 110 dolphins, including the 8 Risso’s that were killed last night, who have been killed this year alone in just one small cove in Japan.  The love factor isn’t saving them.  It’s killing them.  Intentionally.  Premeditatedly.  By design.  Because of the dolphin show.

So this morning, after 8 more were killed yesterday in Taiji, I am having one of those mornings, where I am deeply saddened by the collective effort to kill dolphins, that is to say, the collective effort of a few who whether they like it or not benefit from dolphin death, and then the silence of the rest.

This morning, I do not want to see a video of a person swimming with even a wild dolphin.  To me, at the risk of offending some of you, it is just the other end of the aquarium spectrum.  The dolphins are free, but we are still intruding.  When the few who are responsible intrude, there are thousands behind who are not responsible.  There are those who will hire the “Sea Worlds” of tour boats of less responsible people.  We will go to them, call it research, call it education, put the money in their pocket, and leave behind them a wake of petroleum and trash.  We will go to the dolphins, and teach them that they can trust us, when they cannot.  Not now.

This morning, the morning after yesterday’s tragedy in Taiji, I am wanting, more than anything, for us to truly respect them.  They are neither our entertainment, nor our therapy, nor a curiosity to be studied, nor a language to learn.

Can we not simply leave them alone?

To stop being part of the silence, for starters, you can attend on April 14 from anywhere there is dolphin captivity and sign a pledge that you won’t go to the dolphin show.

For more information: