Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a movement that began on Earthday 1970 with the aim to stop dolphin slaughter and exploitation around the world. This work has been chronicled in films such as A Fall From Freedom, the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, and in the Animal Planet mini-series Blood Dolphin$.
Richard O’Barry has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.
If there is a dolphin in trouble anywhere in the world, my phone will ring… -Ric O’Barry
In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong. From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life.
On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.
Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, South Korea, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, Indonesia and wherever else they occur.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, Katie Couric, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.
O’Barry is a Fellow National in the Explorers Club, a multidisciplinary society that links together scientists and explorers from all over the world. Each member is an accomplished individual with at least one fascinating story to tell.
O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program.
O’Barry lives with his wife, Helene, and their daughter, Mai Li, in Florida.