Dead of Night Transfer of 25 Live Dolphins

Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Dolphin Project

The international dolphin traffickers are at it again. 

Twenty-five live dolphins caught in the Solomon Islands were transferred with heavy security by boat to the Solomons’ airport.  These blood dolphins were flown, in the dead of night, to China on Saturday, November 19th, for a life of captivity.

The airline carrier was ULS (Universal Logistics Systems) Airlines Cargo, based in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Solomon Islands became a hotbed of dolphin captures and trafficking eight years ago, as international organizations led by American and Canadian dolphin trainers moved into the islands to set up holding pens for live dolphins captured from the surrounding waters. 

Dolphin Project’s Team has fought a long and hard battle in the Solomon Islands against the lucrative trafficking of live dolphins.  We had a ban in place against exporting live dolphins for several years, but it was lifted by a new Administration.  Similarly, we managed to gain approval in the Solomons parliament this summer for a ban on exporting of live dolphins from the Solomons beginning on January 1st, 2012, only to see a corrupt government agency issue dolphin traffickers permission to export up to fifty dolphins before January 1st.  This shipment of blood dolphins to China is a result of that permission.

Our colleagues in the Solomon Islands and Hong Kong are investigating the dolphin shipment for us as you read this, and we hope to have more information shortly.  Who is behind this dolphin trafficking?  Where are the dolphins destined in China?

Stand by as we investigate these questions.
Photo of a dead dolphin discarded in a Solomon Islands garbage dump

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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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