Tag Archives: Save Misty the Dolphin

Do you support dolphin capture? Not if you say No! to the Dolphin Show

Shaka Georgia Aquarium phinventory Ceta-base

Shaka, the Georgia Aquarium's wild-caught dolphin, photo from Ceta-base

How is going to a dolphin show or swim-with program directly linked to the capturing of dolphins?  And why should you pledge to not go to a dolphin show?  Because the dolphin shows create the market for dolphin capture, which, in turn, makes dolphin hunting and slaughter financially feasible enterprises.

Here’s how the captivity chain links up, from freedom all the way to enslavement and back again to freedom:

Link 1At the risk of being too obvious, I’m starting there anyway.  Without dolphins in captivity, the aquariums cannot put on their extravaganzas, their shows or maintain their displays.  So before the dolphin show (yes, there was a time in the 1950s before this jumping dolphin phenom took a strangle-hold over dolphin freedom), there was no impetus to capture them.  Dolphin freedom exists at this end of the chain, where there are no dolphin shows.

Some aquariums already have a few dolphins.  But captive breeding isn’t terribly dependable for producing a live dolphin.  The photo above was of Shaka, wild-caught, now living at the Georgia Aquarium.  Only one of Shaka’s three captive-born calves survived past two weeks; one was stillborn in September 1996, and the other died on her 16th day in November 1997.  Generally, dolphins in the wild give birth only every 2 to 4 years.  The third, Kolohe, will turn 18 on July 12, 2012.  In Hawaii.  Away from Shaka.  Without the need for captive dolphins, dolphins like Shaka would not have been captured.  In 1988.

Link 2Without the dolphin show, yea, that show in a city near you, there would be no need to keep dolphins, like Shaka, or the other ten dolphins at the Georgia Aquarium, in captivity.  And don’t believe the nonsense that captive dolphins are necessary for research.  We really don’t need to study them in captivity to understand how we might support their thriving in their natural, wild ecosystem.  Think about that one; it may catch you on the way home.  Certain marine biologists refuse to study them in captivity.

Without the dolphin show, the show in the city nearest you, no dolphins would be captured anywhere in the world, under any means of dolphin hunting. This includes the dolphin drive hunt in Taiji, Japan.

Without the dolphin show, the show in the city nearest you, dolphins would not be injured or killed by the thousands each year in the process of capturing a few for that show, because generally speaking, the huge profits of selling dolphins to aquariums bankroll the slaughter operation as well.

Link 3:  Without the dolphin show, righto, that one near you, dolphin freedom happens.  I don’t mean to suggest that releasing the captives can happen overnight; I’ve written before about Ric O’Barry’s idea of making the show about rehabilitating the current captive and any future stranded dolphins for life in the wide open blue.  But it can happen if we have the will to do right by the dolphins.

Do you get it?  The dolphin show, yes, the one in the city nearest you, causes – yes, causes – dolphin capture, injury and slaughter.

And every new show can cause that much more capture, injury and slaughter.

But the great news: Two links (Links 1 and 3) have free dolphins, and only one link (Link 2) has captivity.  We have more links for  freedom than against, so it won’t be hard, if we stand together!  When we stop attending the dolphin show (Link 2), we have free dolphins again, as we did before this strange 1950s phenomenon took a strangle-hold over the lives of dolphins.

And if you don’t go to the dolphin show?  Well, I think you get it.

Jacques Cousteau No Aquarium no dolphin in tank can be considered normal

Hold this sign so people know that Jacques Cousteau did not support captivity, from www.marinecaptivityfacts.tumblr.com

What you can doOn Saturday, April 14 from 10a.m to 1p.m., come to the entrance of The Georgia Aquarium to learn about these links and to teach others about them and about the life that a dolphin lives in captivity versus the one it lives in the wild.

Hold a sign that repeats these words of Jacques Cousteau.  Hold a sign with Shaka’s picture.  Or Neile’s.  Or Phebe’s.  Or Pukanala’s.  Or Kei’s.  Or Makana’s.  Or Briland’s.  Or Lily’s.  Or Luna’s.  Or Bermudiana’s.  We don’t have a picture of Salvador.  But we won’t forget him.

Saturday, April 14, 2012; 10am – 2pm  The Georgia Aquarium, entrance on Baker Street

If you are on Facebook, click on the event page and tell us that you’re coming.  And like “Free the Atlanta 11” instead of watching dolphins perform tricks with Star Spinner, who thinks that the dolphins have taken the sea monsters to the bottom of the ocean.

If you aren’t in or near Atlanta, but on Facebook, please click the worldwide “Just Say NO! to the Dolphin Page” created by Save Misty the Dolphin to show that you “get it” and to show your support.

For a more information, see:

  • Save Japan Dolphins, Ric O’Barry and the Cove Monitors
  • Blue Voice, Hardy Jones,
  • Sea Shepherd and its Cove Guardians
  • Save Misty the Dolphin
  • If you have a website or blog on this issue, please leave a comment with your web address, and I will add you to a list of resources on creating dolphin freedom a reality for all dolphins everywhere
    Dolphin captivity chain link

    Dolphin freedom in the first and last links. Dolphin captivity only in the middle one. We can break this chain and re-establish dolphin freedom!

    .

 

Thank you, Hong Kong Airlines!! No more dolphin cargo!

At the risk of jumping the gun, I understand from my dolphin contacts at Save Misty the Dolphin that Hong Kong Airlines has agreed to stop shipment of dolphins.  And will never again ship these magnificent animals, who deserve our respect, not our disdain, and certainly not our ownership.

So, thank you, Hong Kong Airlines, for having gone through lots of conversations and emails, Facebook and blog posts and Twitter Tweets – and emerged a hero, a leader in this global economy at no small cost.  The shipment of the dolphins came at a ticket price of six figures, from what I understand.  When a company demonstrates that it values life over dollars, and that dollars gained by yesterday’s ethics and morals is not worth that cost.  Well.  It gives me faith.  That people will do the right thing if they know what that is.

And thank you, Save Misty the Dolphin, for being there.  For coordinating with Sea Shepherd, Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, and Save Japan Dolphins to create a petition and a groundswell to reach out to Hong Kong Airlines to tell them how this shipment was tainted with blood.

I don’t have all the facts now.  I’m too excited today.  I can’t even look for any more links.  I think I’ve gotten all the big ones I need in here.  If I left someone out, just know that this little blog ain’t what counts.  It’s what you did that matters.  For more of those pesky facts.

The last day of the Taiji hunt, and Hong Kong Airlines agrees not to ship dolphins.

This is a very good day.

For More Information:

Hong Kong Airlines Says No More Flying Dolphins

Hong Kong Airlines Grounds Plan to Ship Kidnapped Dolphins

No more flying dolphins on Hong Kong Airlines

Sea Shepherd Shows Hong Kong Airlines the Direct Action Tactic

 

Whether the Georgia Aquarium dolphin shows are educational

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on this topic, and if you had the great good fortune to have seen the videos in the blog, you would have seen first hand via video shot by a customer of the Georgia Aquarium that the Aquarium’s dolphin extravaganza was, shall we say, a little lean on educational value.

Seeing unvarnished home movies likely provides something a tad closer to the reality of the dolphin show than a highly polished piece that the Georgia Aquarium would put together as an advertisement.  Make sense?  It does to me, too.

Those home movies are no longer available, but since I want to continue to provide information and facts surrounding the Georgia Aquarium and dolphin captivity, it appears that I’ll have to rely at least in part on the G.A.’s own video.  But before I show you the video, let me set the stage a bit.  It may look like I’m straying off topic, but just hang with me.  I’ll bring it all home.  I promise.

In your mind’s eye, picture the strawberry pie on the menu at Shoney’s.  The big, center-posted picture on the cover.  With radiating smaller pics of fried chicken, Salisbury steak (both with a gravylike schmear), and maybe even shrimp, interspersed with various starchy concoctions, some with peas thrown in for color.

But the pie: the uber bright and shiny red of, not really the strawberries so much (yes, I think there were actual strawberries in there) as the goo that surrounds the strawberries.  The goo that jiggles, but not the same way that Jello jiggles.  Translucent, but again, not the same way that Jello is.  You know it.  More like  snot, really.  But darn red.  A mighty fine red, but one that you know isn’t real.  And this, this picture of the pie that is on the cover of the menu, that is now in your mind’s eye, with its perfect dollop of whipped cream, well, not real whipped cream, really, but some light and fluffy mixture of milk flakes, talc, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oil . . .  Crap.  I really didn’t mean to ruin that (open air quotes) whipped cream (close air quotes) for you.  Oh, who am I fooling?  You’re probably on your way to that single-use plastic container of Cool Whip right now.  (Are these people going to sue me for mentioning them in the same piece as the Georgia Aquarium?  Oh, I am just mean!)  Anyway.  Picture the pie.  The bright red goo.  The perfect dollop.

Flash forward to your having ordered it.  Now watch the pie as it approaches on the tray brought by the hard-working and underpaid (oops, slid into another social issue) waitress.  The reality is not quite as lovely as the advertisement.  The advertisement promised something that it didn’t deliver.

And by comparison, with that picture of the pie in your mind, that fake, fake, fake, fake, fake red of the pie that still somehow appeals to the inner 6-year-old-at-Shoneys-for-the-first-time, consider that the Georgia Aquarium is tinkering with that same appeal. The strawberry pie lie.  The reality isn’t what’s on the cover.  But what’s on the cover is what the restaurant needs you to believe so that you’ll order it.  So what does the Georgia Aquarium need you to believe?

I guess, first and foremost, it wants you to believe that the dolphins are happy.  Happy in captivity.  Happy that they are not in the ocean swimming freely with their close-knit community of family.  I guess there’s a lot they would like you to believe.  That dolphins live longer lives in captivity.  But there is also stuff they don’t want you to know.  They don’t want you know that the average life span of a dolphin in captivity is five years, when dolphins in the wild live far longer.  Or that the aquariums often give captive dolphins daily doses of medicines to control ulcers and intestinal and respiratory issues.  So you can probably expect a Georgia Aquarium online commercial to show you what it wants you to believe.  I expect you’ll see something that looks like happiness.  Jumping.  Splashing.

But what about the education part?  Surely they’ll highlight that aspect, too.  It is supposed to be central to the purpose of the dolphin show, right?  Education.  Right?

And here we are at the finish line, getting ready to watch one of the Georgia Aquarium’s own videos – one that it has placed on Youtube with all the agreements and consents that one gives when posting to Youtube – to see how it invites customers to come be educated about happy dolphins.

Soooooooo.  What did you learn about dolphins?  What do you expect to learn based on the Georgia Aquarium’s own enticement?  What education do the eleven dolphins who are held captive at the Georgia Aquarium provide to justify their continued captivity, held away from the open ocean for which they were designed?

To actually learn about dolphins and whales in captivity, watch A Fall From Freedom.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

In the meantime, if you need entertaining, just take a gander at what we actually allow to entice us into believing that the food is good.  Or the dolphins happy.

This burger was made from happy cows, too!

Whether dolphin shows are educational – a matter of definition?

Congressman Young’s (R-AK) point, during a hearing regarding marine mammal captivity, that whether the dolphin shows are educational or not educational is a matter of definition, might be a valid one.  What specific kind of information any particular dolphin exhibit imparts can certainly be varied: one exhibit might focus on dolphin life span and intelligence while another addresses family structure and habitat range, while still another describes what we understand and do not understand about dolphin communication.

But saying it’s a matter of definition is a convenient cop-out, and not altogether true.  Because one should look, that is, Congressman Young should look, at the actual content of shows that justify keeping marine mammals in captivity, before cavalierly speaking of something being a matter of definition.  And so should we all.  So, here, for your convenience, Congressman Young (and the minute numbers of you who are actually reading this), is an example:

And more:

I’m just wondering what you learned about dolphins in those videos, shot at a real dolphin show.  That they can jump?  I’m thinking, just thinking, that you already knew that.

I’m also thinking that you didn’t need to see a dolphin in captivity to know that it can jump, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins, or that it can jump in perfect timing with other dolphins 15 feet into the air.  Or that it can be trained to tail walk.  Or splash.  Or make noises on command.

Here’s what I’m guessing you didn’t learn at the dolphin show: that the high-pitched noise, flashing lights, constant noise (encouraging the audience to be loud?!), explosion simulations – where to stop with this list – not to mention being deprived of legitimate natural behaviors  – like catching it own prey, swimming in the natural rhythm of the ocean and its seasons, swimming fast, swimming far, and swimming deep – puts a constant stress on the dolphin that nature does not.  And I know that you know what stress does to the health of a living being.

So, in the end, none, I repeat, none of the show is about education.  Its sole imperative is to entertain.  To entertain you so that you will come back, and you will tell your friends to go to the entertaining dolphin show.  And your friends will tell their friends.

Here’s what I’m hoping.  That you’ll recognize the moral bankruptcy of the dolphin show.  And you won’t go.  And you’ll tell your friends not to go.  And your friends will tell their friends.

And just one short post-script: be on your guard against being lulled, fooled or warmed by current dolphin and whale movies into supporting captivity by going to a dolphin show.  Here’s a dolphin and whale movie that you can watch on your computer that will allow the warm-and-fuzzies you get from those Hollywood movies not to send you straight to the Georgia Aquarium or SeaWorld to watch dolphins that were not saved, but enslaved.

Let the dolphins be free; watch a documentary, go to the beach, hug your dog.

Urgent Call to Action – Dolphin Base Taiji

In his repetitive spy-hopping behavior, photo Rosie Kunneke of Sea Shepherd

My friends and bloggers at Save Misty the Dolphin are calling for help for another stressed and sick dolphin. Please visit that page for more information about the urgent need for immediate action and the numbers to call to help this dolphin through what observers say may be a life-threatening crisis.

The dolphin is exhibiting repetitive “spy-hopping” behaviors that indicate that it is not adjusting well to life in a tank.  It also appears to be repeatedly “beaching” itself on the platforms.

Immediate action must be taken to remove this dolphin from this setting before it suffers from further illness or injury.

Dedicated to SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium

So, yes, with a measure of fun, I am questioning the factual basis of some of the assertions about dolphin and orca captivity from some dolphin-owning institutions. Assertions about the life spans in captivity being longer than ones in the wild (not true).  Or that the dolphins thrive in captivity (a little harder to quantify, but read on, not true).

Now, before you go all, “Oh, that Martha.  She’s so extreme.  Dolphins are fine in captivity, and there is a valid educational part of the dolphin shows” on me, just take a gander at the educational content of the dolphin extravaganza at the Georgia Aquarium shot by a visitor:

I’m figuring that you’ll be like most of us, including some members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that expressed annoyance, shall we say, upon their exit from just having seen the very same dolphin show.  I believe some of them observed that there was something like, oh, zero educational content in the show.  And I repeat, these were zoo and aquarium people who make their living based upon the acceptability of animal captivity, not we “fringe anti-caps.”

And to the point of whether dolphins like captivity, take a look at the celebration of life in wild dolphins:

compared with live streaming video of captive dolphins:

http://www.seewinter.com/winter/media/webcam-3

You’ll have to copy and paste that one in your url; it won’t link live.  It may be a bit of a bother, but believe me, you want to do this to see the whole story.  And if Winter isn’t visible on this web cam, check one of the other ones; Web Cam #1 is where she and her dolphin companion strut their captive stuff for the paying public.

Which side are you on?

To take action for dolphin freedom, just take one step. Call, write, blog, tweet, donate.  I’m betting you’ll see how great it is to stand for these extraordinary beings, and will take one more step after that.

Welcome.

Why Orcas Should not be in Captivity

The magnificent Orca

Naomi Rose, PhD, Senior Scientist for the Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States, has published a white paper which summarizes certain facts relevant to the condition of orcas in captivity versus those who live a natural life in the wild. Dr. Rose points to the following reasons why these marvelous creatures should not be captured or bred and held in captivity:

  • Longevity: Orcas in the wild have a significantly shorter lifespan in captivity than in the wild. Wild males orcas have a maximum life expectancy of 60-70 years; females 80-90 years – comparable to a human life span. No captive male orca has ever lived past 35. Ever. Only two captive female orcas have lived past 40.
  • Causes of death: The most common cause of death in orcas pneumonia, septicemia and other infections. It appears that the ability of veterinary care for captive orcas is too unsophisticated to detect health issues on a time-frame that can intercede and save the individual. A complicating factor in orca health appears to be immunosuppression, which in humans, is known to be greatly exacerbated by depression and stress, both of which are common in the captive orca population.
  • Dental health: Well-documented and common teeth issues in captive orcas which do not appear to the same degree in their wild counterparts. The poor dental health is in part due to the orcas gnawing on metal bars and concrete walls, which breaks the teeth. These broken teeth, most often drilled out as a palliative measure, serve as a direct conduit for infection.
  • Aberrant Behavior: Aggression toward other orcas in the wild is undocumented, while it is not uncommon in captivity. So, too, is mother orca rejection of offspring: uncommon in the wild; common in captivity.
  • Harm to humans: Pay attention to the current OSHA hearing regarding the SeaWorld’s orca program and specifically whether SeaWorld may have knowingly exposed its trainers and other employees to dangerous and life-threatening conditions including Dawn Brancheau. Four humans have been killed by orcas in captivity, while there is no documented case of a wild orca killing a single human.

They do not belong in captivity. They do not thrive in captivity.

Please don’t go to the orca, or dolphin, show. For more information, please watch A Fall From Freedom, a full-length documentary currently streaming over the internet.

Playmobil – Dolphin toys teach that captivity is A-OK

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Here is the true educational impact of dolphin captivity: Kids love the dolphin shows. They want to be trainers or aquarium vets so that they, too, can capture dolphins and show how much they love them. In the meantime, Playmobil makes its few beans by capitalizing, in between multiple aquarium visits, on the children’s love of this amazing creature.

Now, there are those who went to the shows as children and became dolphin advocates, but I’m not focusing on that itsy-bitsy minority right now.  I’m focusing on the 99% of people (based on my personal observation of how many people go to the dolphin show, versus how many of us are standing on the sidewalks or in The Coves around the world trying to protect them) who continue to think that dolphins in captivity is natural.

The Georgia Aquarium and its ilk, including the garishly commercial SeaWorld chain and/or minion claim that dolphin captivity programs have an educational or conservation purpose (convenient, because otherwise it would be illegal in the United States to keep marine mammals in captivity).  The actual text of the Marine Mammal Protection Act notes, however, that the aquarium industry, itself, gets to set those standards.

Thanks to Playmobil, those standards are clear for anyone, including the child that a parent unwittingly exposes to a most cruel and inhumane captivity industry, to see.  The standards (I’ve paraphrased, if you will), plus a few

Accurate: Taken out of their natural habitat

Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

informal ones, are :

  1. Display the animals regularly (if you only do it once in a while the customers might stop coming).
  2. Make people think these dolphin tricks are “natural behaviors” even though our own training manual is about training “new” behaviors for the show.  Don’t worry about the logic failure there.  Just keep saying “behavior” over and over and work in “free” and “freedom” a few times, too, and keep smiling all the while at the paying customers.
  3. Train the dolphins to ensure that they do the trick, I mean behavior, during the shows for paying customers (it’s embarrassing when the tricks don’t play out).  Tell the customers that even though dolphins don’t  routinely jump through hula hoops in the ocean, they would if they could.
  4. Tell the paying guests that the dolphins are protected from mean predators that live in the wild, and don’t tell them that dolphins are at the top of the marine food chain and don’t really have predators.
  5. Keep the chlorinated water clean.
  6. Keep a vet handy for those annoying upper respiratory issues that seem to occur more frequently in the dolphins that we own than in the ones we haven’t caught yet.
  7. Whatever happens, keep on smiling.

The facts that the Georgia Aquarium does not reveal to their paying guests, during their educational extravaganza are:

  1. Dolphins in the wild swim to depths of 850 feet.
  2. The deepest tank we have is somewhere around 30 feet; the shallowest is 12 feet.
  3. Dolphins in the wild swim up to 70 miles per hour.
  4. Dolphins in the wild swim up to somewhere around 100 miles per day.  They may do this just in a local area or they may travel for miles and back.
  5. The dolphins in our tanks can swim a few body lengths before having to turn around to do it again, over and over and over for the rest of their lives.
  6. Dolphins in captivity have an average shorter life span than in the wild, despite the position taken by the captivity industry.
  7. Many dolphin babies in captivity die in the first few days.
  8. Dolphin babies in the wild stay with their mothers and their extended families.
  9. Dolphin babies are separated from their mothers for the captivity industry (whether from wild capture/slaughter or from a dolphin breeder).
  10. Dolphins are trained with food deprivation.  That’s right.  These highly intelligent creatures know that food comes with doing the trick.

Don’t buy your children this toy.  Watch a couple of documentaries about the truth of dolphin captivity.

And don’t go to the dolphin show.

To let Playmobil know that they are teaching our children to disrespect the very animals that they love, and either knowingly or unwittingly contributing to dolphin captivity and slaughter, please contact them:

PLAYMOBIL® USA, INC.
P.O. Box 877
Dayton, NJ 08810
Voice: (609) 395-5566
Fax: (609) 395-3015
Customer Service e-mail address: service@playmobilusa.com
Non-Customer Service e-mail address: webmaster@playmobilusa.com

Thanks to Amanda Faughnan for the foundation of this piece.

 

What the World Needs Now Is … More Dolphin Captivity?

The federal government is preparing to use $75 million in my tax money and yours to build another dolphinarium in Mississippi called the Ocean Expo.  Interesting choice of words, since I seem to recall a big box Expo attached to yet another dolphin captor, who has trained 10 dolphins (and one wild-caught dolphin held for what I don’t know) to perform three times daily in a dolphin extravaganza in another southern U.S. state.  But that’s a story for another day.

Moby Solangi

One Mr. Moby Solangi, who has captured over 200 dolphins in his career, has applied for monies to fund his various dolphin projects, and he apparently continues to have the support of Senator Thad Cochran.  Mr. Solangi may even get a sympathy vote for having lost property during Hurricane Katrina.  But the property he lost was a hub from which he loaned dolphins, sea lions and other marine animals for display.  So he won’t get a sympathy vote from me.

What he’ll get is a signed petition and a growing community in opposition to this abomination on Facebook (Citizens Against Ocean Expo) who will never stop until the dolphin captivity practiced by Mr. Solangi and others is revealed as the cruel, outdated practice it is, and one akin to allowing humans to wrestle bears at roadside zoos or conduct dogfighting.

Harsh comparison?  I think not.  Some amusements at the expense of animals may appear to be benign.  But there is nothing benign in this.  At its root, these dolphins shows are, as Ric O’Barry said, about control.

I would just add one more object, and that is money.

So, let’s fight to keep our tax money out of Mr. Solangi’s pockets, and more dolphins in the ocean where they belong.  Join us.  Sign.  Call Senator Cochran.  Tell him no to the dolphin show.

Dolphins where they belong

 

 

Dolphin Dance

This isn’t a new video, but the Women for Whales posted it on Facebook today.  And I’m so glad that I happened to see it.

Here’s what I saw.  I saw life at its purest, most self-expressed.  I saw freedom.  I saw play.  I saw love and family and glee.

This is what dolphins do when they are in control of their own lives.   They dance.  They hold hands.  They flap their fins in some kind of gleeful signal.  All in the wide open ocean.

Shame on the Georgia Aquarium, SeaWorld, Miami Seaquarium, Marineland, Resorts World Sentosa, and all dolphinaria and aquaria for capturing and enslaving a creature who deserves to be free and in control of his or her own life.

If something stirred in you, like a sense of your own freedom, and how precious it is to be free and fully self-expressed, please contact Save Japan Dolphins, the Oceanic Preservation Society, Free the Atlanta 11, Save Misty the Dolphin on Facebook or Saddest Dolphins.com (I’m sure there are many others, too) to find out how to make a difference in the lives of dolphins today, and forever.

Become part of a growing community that celebrates and demands self-determination and freedom for these extraordinary creatures.