By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Dolphin Project


While I was in Taiji this past week, I had a chance to visit the notorious Taiji Whale Museum.  This museum is right around the corner from the killing Cove where thousands of dolphins are slaughtered brutally every year.  Outrageously, the Taiji Whale Museum, run by the town of Taiji, helps capture dolphins for the international trade in live dolphins for dolphinariums around the world.  While the Taiji dolphin hunters get around $500 or so for a dead dolphin when sold on the market for meat, the Taiji Whale Museum will get more than $150,000 (and rising) on the international market for a trained live dolphin, and so the Museum actually subsidizes the bloody dolphin drive hunts.

We call this international trade Blood Dolphin$.

While visiting the Taiji Whale Museum and checking out the tanks, I again encountered one of the worst tanks there – I’m pretty sure it is the smallest dolphin tank in the world.  This tank now plays host to two spotted dolphins that are listless and hang at the surface of the tank as if they were dead.  It is a horrible situation in a horrible facility!

See Leah Lemieux’s video: 

We have nicknamed these two poor dolphins “Sad” and “Lonely.”  They will soon be dead, if their conditions are not improved.  (Ironically, the Japanese label in this tank notes that these two dolphins are of a species that is rare in captivity, because they do not do well in captivity!)

You can help shut down the smallest dolphin tank in the world!

The Taiji Whale Museum is a member of the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA).  JAZA in turn is a member organization of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).  WAZA maintains ethical standards for their associated zoos and aquariums all around the world.  WAZA is based in Switzerland.

Call or e-mail them NOW!

Dr Jörg Junhold, WAZA President
Gerald Dick, PhD 
Executive Director

WAZA Executive Office
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland

Phone +41 (0)22 999 07 90
Fax +41 (0)22 999 07 91

[email protected]

Ask WAZA’s President and Executive Director to:

(1) Demand that the Taiji Whale Museum release the two dolphins (Sad and Lonely) back into the wild and close down the smallest dolphin tank in the world permanently.

(2) Ensure that, at a minimum, the Museum moves Sad and Lonely to the bigger sea pens and close down their small tank permanently.

(3) If Taiji Whale Museum refuses to take action, WAZA should expel them along with any other aquariums violating WAZA’s stated opposition to the dolphin drive hunts and their code of ethics for captive cetaceans.

Sign the peition!


The Taiji Whale Museum does not need to keep Sad and Lonely in this tank, nor should WAZA be certifying aquariums that grossly violated WAZA’s stated opposition to the Taiji dolphin drive hunts and their ethical standards for dolphin tanks.

WAZA should shut down the smallest dolphin tank in the world!  It is about time they show that they are being responsible for the animals that they keep.

Please spread the word to your friends and family.  Thank you for your efforts on behalf of Sad and Lonely!

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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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