A Hopeful Friendship for Dolphins

By Hans Peter Roth
Cove Monitor
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

There is always hope!  After all the sad happenings we have to report from Taiji to our many supporters, there are also beautiful stories that literally come together down here in unexpected ways.

Sasha lives in Germany, and besides being German; he is of Iranian origin and has an Iranian passport, too.   Less than a year ago, he sawThe Cove movie and became inspired to help the dolphins and whales.  He has definitely become among the most active cetacean friends in Germany.

Because he wanted to see with his own eyes, after having visited the Faroe Islands last summer, he has come to Taiji.

And this is where he met Yoav.  In much the same way, Yoav also became inspired after having watched The Cove quite recently.  Living in Tokyo for a year, he did not think twice and made his way to Taiji.  So I had the privilege to show both of them around this bizarre place at the same time.

Yoav is from Israel, living and working most of the time in San Francisco.  So here we now have two men, one from Iran and one from Israel, standing side by side, for the dolphins, united.  They discuss, exchange, agree and have become friends.  Funny enough, both of them separately recommended that I read the same book (Confessions by an Economic Hitman).

Yoav and Sasha are different just like every human being is different.  But they are much the same when it comes to saving dolphins around here and approaching the local people in a friendly, peaceful, non-confrontational manner, in keeping with Ric O’Barry’s strategy.

So while we try to help the dolphins as much as we can, the dolphins have helped for an Iranian and an Israeli to come together and literally stand side by side for the dolphins.

How much better can it get?  Thank you, Sasha.  Thank you, Yoav.  And thank you, dolphins!

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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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