More Hope and Faith

By Kerry O’Brien
Cove Monitor
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

NOTE:  For three days in the row, the Cove waters remain blue, as weather keeps the dolphin hunters from finding any dolphins to hunt.  Tia and Johanne will remain in Taiji, while Kerry, as noted in her blog below, heads back to New Zealand.  My deepest thanks to all three for their unselfish support for the dolphins!  — Ric O’Barry

 

Today, sadly, I leave Japan.  I had just one week free from my busy schedule of three teenagers and my work at home in New Zealand, so I thought one week is better than nothing.  I am so glad I came.

As difficult as it is to be here at times, I do love Japan and her lovely people.

I went back to the Taiji Whale Museum to say goodbye to all the beautiful ones held captive there.  To my surprise, quietly, in a corner, there were two dolphin trainers training Hope and Faith!  Those two pantropical dolphins were amazing.  Though it saddens me hugely to see dolphins have to perform to get food, it was remarkable to see how alert and with it they both are in their new outside, bigger tank. So it seems they will live for now and (unfortunately) be made to perform degrading and humiliating tricks to survive. 

The bottlenose dolphins in the next pool were performing tricks and launching themselves out of the pool to get the trainers’ attention to get food.  They must constantly be hungry, and tears filled my eyes behind my sunglasses as I took pictures.

The little striped dolphin (caught 25th Oct 2012), who was spy hoping and looking totally bereft with them in the same pool, was not there!  I looked all over the museum and could not find the dear little soul anywhere.  I asked several trainers, but they just blanked me, refusing to answer my questions, and I asked a well-dressed gentleman in the office who spoke English (The Curator?) – he actually denied he worked there – it was bizarre!

The dolphin did not look sick enough to me yesterday to have perished overnight, but who knows?  I have long given up trying to second-guess these particular people.  Perhaps they read my blog on SaveJapanDolphins.org this week and moved the dolphin out of the public eye?  I just don’t know.  It’s tragic whatever has happened.

I leave here today, carrying each dolphin in my heart – those who have perished and those still existing in in the heartbreaking conditions of captivity.

Thank you Save Japan Dolphins for the privilege of representing you, and to my buddies Tia and Johanna – both fantastic ladies and friends.  I will return when I can; I pray and always hope it will not be for much longer.

 

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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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