Heading for Home
By Ruth Williams
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
Today is my last day in Taiji. It ended on a positive note because the boats did not go out due to bad weather.
But no matter how I try and look at the situation, my heart is breaking every hour that passes. I am not ready to leave. I feel like I just got here, and now I’m leaving. All I can think about is the poor Risso’s dolphins that were captured last week from a slaughter – sadly I will probably never know what happens to them. I watched the poor captive Risso’s for about three days after they were taken from the ocean and their family was butchered. They just huddled together in the middle of the sea pen, just waiting to die, completely terrified. Now they are gone out of sight, and who knows if they even survived at this point?
This week’s slaughter was also very traumatic, not just for me but for one lonely striped dolphin. He was spared from ending up on the end of the butcher’s knife. But now he is living a life in a tiny aquarium with three other dolphins right next to a tank of performing dolphins. Loud speakers blaring every hour, being forced fed dead fish, and having humans walking around at all times. This dolphin was constantly shaking and in distress from all these new elements.
I have to return home to my 5-year-old son and get back to being a full time single mommy. Get up early everyday like I do here, and, instead of watching boats go out, I will be walking my son to class. Instead of looking through binoculars for hours at a time for any sign of the boats, I will be folding laundry, cleaning house, or doing homework.
Even though I am returning home, my heart will be in Taiji. Because I know there are so many unfortunate souls out here that will never return home. They will never swim in the open ocean, and they will never see their families again. Each and every dolphin came straight out of the bloody Cove and has a heart-breaking story behind those beautiful eyes. Every dolphin out here has seen and felt pain that most people can’t even imagine.
The banger boats tied up in Taiji harbor. Photo by Ruth Williams.
It’s going to feel wonderful to return home and feel my son’s little arms around my neck, and know how much he loves his momma. Being a mother is one of my greatest accomplishments. It has tested my heart and soul on every level, and he is the most important thing in the world to me.
But being a dolphin activist is the second most important thing to me. I’ve never felt so much passion for anything else. People don’t understand why I care so much but I don’t understand why they don’t?
These animals, just like thousands of other animals, are abused, mistreated, and murdered everyday at the hands of man. Very few people take a stand and try and be the voice for the voiceless, but I will fight till the day I die. I will return every year, and I will bear witness to these horrific events so these dolphins deaths and families are not taken in vain. I hope to encourage my friends and family to join in and stand up for these innocent creatures.
Most of all I want my son to grow up and be a compassionate human being to all animals. We as a society have put up these blinders on our children to “protect” them from seeing bad things. But this does nothing good for them and the environment in the long run.
I hope my time here has encouraged others to stand up and get involved. It doesn’t matter as to what your profession, education, religion, or ethnicity is, we are all humans, and we all share this planet. We have an obligation to help these animals that have done nothing wrong to us. We have to do it now before it’s to late.
Make your life have meaning so when you leave this planet you know you made a difference, and your family can be proud.
Cheers! Thanks for all the support!
- Happy 47th Birthday Dolphin Project! - April 18, 2017
- BREAKING: Taiji’s Drive Season Over - February 28, 2017
- 2016: What A Year It Was! - December 15, 2016
- Dolphin Sabbatical Project: A Social Experiment for Captive Dolphins - June 17, 2016
- Statement on Morgan by Ric O’Barry - June 9, 2016
- Op Ed: Is it Okay to Go Back to SeaWorld? - March 31, 2016
- Addressing the Confusion about Angel - March 26, 2016
- Exclusive: Message from Ric O’Barry - February 8, 2016
- What Will 2016 Hold For Dolphins? - December 15, 2015
- The Finland Four - November 28, 2015
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$.
- Tread for Taiji 2017 Virtual Race
- VIDEO: Dolphins Wild and Free in the Big, Blue Sea
- Join us on Japan Dolphins Day
- Exclusive: Is SeaWorld’s Orca Kasatka Losing Her Battle with Chronic Illness?
- Marine Mammal Commission Poised for Elimination
- Two More Species of Dolphins Added to Taiji’s Hunts