Albino Dolphin Like an Angel With Fins

By Karla Sanjur
Cove Monitor
Save Japan Dolphins

(We have a new volunteer Cove Monitor, Karla Sanjur, who is a graphic artist and a web designer.  But today, she is in Taiji, letting the world know what is going on in the Cove.  She witnessed a huge pod of bottlenose dolphins being captured, including a beautiful and rare albino dolphin calf, likely to spend the rest of its life as a curiosity in the Taiji Whale Museum.  Based on Karla’s comment, I would like to name the albino baby dolphin “Angel”.  Tomorrow, the sorting of the dolphins will commence with the captivity industry – some will be chosen for captivity (mostly tractable females without blemishes).  The rest will be slaughtered for meat.  We want to thank Karla and all of our Cove Monitors for their efforts to protect dolphins and stop the hunts! – Ric O’Barry)

Today, all 12 hunting boats went out at about 6:40 AM.  The ocean was flat, and there was zero wind.  Perfect day for them; terrible day for the dolphins.  I went up to the look-out point to see in which directions the hunters headed and to wait to see if they returned with a pod.  As time went by, I really thought we might have a Blue Cove day because they were out at sea for a very long time and didn’t seem to be in any formation.  That changed at 10:20 AM when I saw a pod of bottlenose dolphins being chased by two of the banger boats.

It seemed to be a small pod, and there was some confusion as to why only two boats were chasing this one pod while the others remained at sea.  After a while, the reason was obvious: While the two boats chased one pod into the cove, five boats were chasing another pod, and the rest remained in the horizon.  The first pod put up a fight, but was driven into the killing Cove in the end.  The second pod of dolphins was divided into two smaller pods, and one of them was driven into the Cove pretty quickly.  The hunters removed the separating nets and joined pod #1 and pod #2 while pod #3 kept fighting for their freedom.  I immediately noticed that there was a very rare baby albino bottlenose dolphin in this now merged pod.  He shined under water and was always swimming next to his mother.  He looked like an angel with fins.


A rare albino dolphin calf with its mother in the Cove.  Photo by Karla Sanjur.


After about half-an-hour, pod #3 was driven into the Cove, and it seemed as though the day might finally be over.  Wrong again.  The remaining boats were chasing two more pods of dolphins.  There is a chance these might have been one huge family that got separated while trying to escape and ended up in five smaller pods, but I don’t know for sure.  Pod #4 and #5 put up a fight as well.  They were driven all the way to the marina and gave the banger boats a hard time.  Unfortunately, in the end, the banger boats merged both pods around the marina and drove them in as one into the Cove.  It is one of the biggest drives in Taiji history (according to some experienced volunteers here).


A large banger boat and two skiffs herd dolphins into the killing Cove in Taiji.  Photo by Karla Sanjur.


Tomorrow when the sun comes out, entire families will be separated.  Some will become slaves and live a captive life while others might be slaughtered right next to their relatives.  This is the real side of the captivity industry.  This is what paying to see dolphin shows or to swim with dolphins pays for.


Skiffs surround the dolphins and keep them captive with nets in Taiji.  Photo by Karla Sanjur.

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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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