Cove Volunteers at the Epicenter of the Japan Earthquake


Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Japan and all those affected by last night’s devastating earthquake and its horrific aftermath.

Many of you have been asking for an update on our staff and volunteers. We can’t thank you enough for your concern. Here’s what we know so far:

– Dolphin Project volunteer Brian Barnes left Taiji several days ago to monitor the Dall’s porpoise hunts in Iwate Prefecture, which is in the northeast corner of Japan near where the earthquake hit. Sea Shepherd volunteers Scott West, Mike Vos, Tarah Millen, Carisa Webster, and Marley Daviduk were also in the area.

Our last video report was taken by Brian, who was headed out of town after the earthquake as tsunami alarms sounded. The tsunami hit Iwate Prefecture very hard. According to some news reports over 300 homes were swept away, leaving many dead or in ruinous condition. We have not heard from any of the volunteers, but they were already high above the shoreline at the time of their last report. We hope and pray that they are just unable to get a signal strong enough to reach us or that electricity is out.

– Ric and Lincoln O’Barry and the Blood Dolphin$ team are safe in another part of Asia that was not affected.

– Taiji was not severely impacted (it’s southeast of the quake zone), but they no doubt felt ocean swells from the tsunami. We’ll be sending volunteers to assess the situation once it’s safe to travel there.

– Many have asked about the dolphins and whales in the area. The most damaging areas in a tsunami are at the shoreline so most deep-water sea life should not have been impacted. Of course, the debris does not help the pollution load in coastal waters. We’ll, of course, be monitoring the situation.

Once again, our deepest condolences to all who have been affected by the earthquake, and our continued thoughts to everyone on the ground. If you want help here are few useful links:

http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/?lang=en

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1221

We’ll report back once we have more information.

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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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