A Hong Kong Visit

By Ric O’Barry
Director
Dolphin Project

I’ve been invited to spend a week in Hong Kong to promote the protection of dolphins.  A student group – AIESEC LC HKBU: Make a Change to the World – is hosting me, setting up events including screenings of The Cove, press conferences, meetings with students, and a debate with the staff of Ocean Park, the dolphinarium here in Hong Kong which has tried to import dolphins from the Solomon Islands.   The main organizer for the week is  Vriko Kwok, an impressive student from the college – I see great things in her future with her enthusiasm, organizational skills, and warmth.

Here is a very impressive video they put together about my visit and dolphin captivity:

 

Most of the captive dolphins from Taiji that are not kept in Japan are exported to China, often, we believe, via Hong Kong, so we have an opportunity to raise awareness here about the problems with dolphins in captivity.

Recently, due to public outcry, Hong Kong Airlines is under pressure internationally to confirm that they will no longer transport captive dolphins.  We plan to go to their headquarters to see if we can get an answer from them.  I will encourage the airline to respond to Hong Kong environmental groups with definitive word that all such transport of dolphins and whales for commercial purposes will cease.  (The previous communication came from their London office, but their headquarters have not responded to local groups.) That is the responsible thing to do.

I also will be applauding efforts to help protect sharks rather than exploit them for commercial gain.  Several Hong Kong hotel/restaurants that no longer serve shark fin soup are acting responsibly to protect the environment.  Sharks and dolphins are in trouble around the world from a variety of problems – nets, over-exploitation, and pollution.  We all have to work harder to protect our oceans, a common heritage for all people.  I plan to present plaques to two such hotles that have pledged to take shark fin soup off their menus.

So far I’ve had meetings with several student groups and discussed dolphins with the local media representatives.

Hong Kong is a key city in the world which can make a big difference for dolphins and sharks!

 

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About Ric O'Barry

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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director 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.

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, 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, 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.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, 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$.

Author: Ric O'Barry
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