Activists to Korea: Stop Importing Taiji-Caught Dolphins

BREAKING: 2/14/17: One of the two wild-caught dolphins shipped to Ulsan Aquarium has died. Source: Yonhap News

On February 9, amidst trucks, slings and a cacophony of shouting voices, two wild-caught dolphins from Taiji’s brutal drive hunts were unloaded into the tanks of Ulsan Aquarium, in South Korea. Disturbing footage shot by Hwang HyunJin of Hot Pink Dolphins and Care Animal Korea showed the mammals being hoisted into the air, their bodies suspended by cranes as they were maneuvered into the facility.

Dolphins imported to Ulsan Aquarium in South Korea from Taiji, Japan

Captive dolphins arrive in coffin-like boxes to Ulsan Aquarium in South Korea
Credit: Screen capture, Care Animal Korea

Dolphin suspended in mid-air, hoisted into Ulsan's tanks

Dolphin suspended in mid-air, hoisted into Ulsan’s tanks
Credit: Screen capture, Care Animal Korea

Dolphin suspended in mid-air, hoisted into Ulsan's tanks

Dolphin suspended in mid-air, hoisted into Ulsan’s tanks
Credit: Screen capture, Care Animal Korea

Despite ongoing efforts by dedicated local activists to block the import of dolphins from Taiji, the government showed their support of keeping dolphins in captivity and granted the necessary permits. This is in stark contrast to 2013, when five bottlenose dolphins were rehabilitated for release near the South Korean island of Jeju. And, just last year, two of the previously-captive dolphins gave birth in the wild, demonstrating that their re-release was not only successful, but that the mammals were thriving in their wild environments.

Says Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project:

The successful rehabilitation and release of five captive dolphins in Jeju Island put South Korea on the forefront of the dolphin freedom movement. South Korea became part of the solution. Yesterday’s importation of dolphins from Taiji, Japan destroyed all of that. South Korea is now back to being part of the problem. We urge the government to reconsider its decision to grant permission to import captive dolphins from Japan. By allowing these imports, the government is directly participating in the extreme violence that takes place in Taiji.”

Dolphin Project will continue to support our South Korean friends and colleagues in their efforts to build awareness of the captivity issue and block the importation of dolphins caught in Taiji’s drive hunts.

Featured image: Local activists protest at Ulsan Aquarium, screen capture, Care Animal Korea


Footage of two dolphins arriving to Ulsan Aquarium in South Korea from Taiji, Japan

Credit: Hwang HyunJin

Credit: Care Animal Korea

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands


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