Jedol and Sampal are Free – We Have Proof!

By Ric O’Barry
Dolphin Project


I’ve released a number of captive dolphins back into the wild.  One of the biggest lies being told by the likes of SeaWorld and others in the dolphin abusement industry is that dolphins in captivity can never be released back into the wild.

Jedol and Sampal, however, beg to differ.  Both were being kept in captivity in aquariums in Seoul, South Korea, and Jeju Island.  Thanks to the efforts of the Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, and the outstanding nonprofit Korean Animal Welfare Association, three bottlenose dolphins – Jedol, Sampal and Chunsan – were removed from their captive tanks and placed in a sea pen in May 2013 to be acclimated to the ocean and to be fed live fish, which they would have to catch.  I provided the protocol and helped with consulting in the release, but the KAWA group and other Koreans did most of the work.  And their work paid off.

Sampal actually decided the sea pen was too confining and fled through a hole in the net early in June.  Jedol and Chunsan were released after a few months in July 2013.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

So, can captive dolphins survive in the wild, if properly released and evaluated?  You bet they can.

Here are several photos taken by Dr. Kim off the island Jeju, showing both Jedol and Sample on April 15th – just two days ago.  You can tell them from the freeze brand on their dorsal fin.  It is imperative to freeze-brand the dolphins so that they can be identified after the satellite tag falls off.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

I am very excited about these photos.  It’s a big deal.  It is absolute proof of our success in the rehab and release of Jedol and Sampal.  They are making it in the wild ocean again.  The protocol works!

My thanks to the Koreans and especially to KAWA for keeping me informed.  There are other dolphins in Korea and in other countries that should be returned to the ocean.  It is the least we can do for them, having stolen them in the first place.

Protocol for Releasing Captive Dolphins

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kim and the Korean Animal Welfare Association

Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

About Ric O'Barry

View All Posts

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


Lost your password?