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 1: At 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 2: Without 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.
Hold this sign so people know that Jacques Cousteau did not support captivity, from www.marinecaptivityfacts.tumblr.com
What you can do. On 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 freedom in the first and last links. Dolphin captivity only in the middle one. We can break this chain and re-establish dolphin freedom!