An Act of Mercy for a Dolphin in Japan
By Ric O’Barry
I just heard a story that gave me a lot of hope for Japan and dolphins both.
The incredible tsunami that swept over Japan’s northern coast stranded a baby dolphin in a rice paddy more than a mile from the coast.
Mr. Ryo Taira, a pet shop owner who had been going about trying to save pets in the tsunami zone, heard from a person who saw the dolphin stranded. Mr. Taira went to the paddy and managed to catch the dolphin with the help of friends and wrap it in wet towels. They then brought the dolphin to the ocean and released it.
Mr. Taira told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper: “I don’t know if it will live, but it’s certainly a lot better than dying in a rice paddy.” Mr. Taira thought the dolphin perked up when they managed to get it back into the ocean.
Many Japanese care deeply about animals and are willing to go out of their way to help. Volunteers in Japan have often worked hard to save dolphins that strand on beaches in Japan. And whale and dolphin-watching cruises are gaining in popularity.
If you would like to contribute to Mr. Taira’s efforts to help animals, go to his website:
(NOTE: This website is in Japanese, but you can scroll down to where the bank information is in English for a donation via a bank transfer.)
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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$.
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