New Dolphin Prison in the Bahamas

By Ric O’Barry
Dolphin Project


I’ve recently been at several demonstrations, as recorded in these blogs, in Canada and in Belgium, urging the closing of dolphin parks that should have been closed long ago.

Yet, even now, with a great deal of publicity and public education about the dangers of captivity to dolphins, new proposals spring up.

Fortunately, there are activists around the world who are working to stop these new proposals, which is far easier than closing down a facility that has been built and is worth untold millions of dollars.

Activists Sonya Alvino and Sam Duncombe of reEarth have succeeded in putting a temporary halt on a dolphin facility planned for Blackbeard’s Cay in The Bahamas.

They were able to highlight legislative breaches that violated development and animal protection laws in The Bahamas, resulting in the government rescinding three business licenses pending a full investigation.

This new Bahamas facility plans to import 8 dolphins from Anthony’s Key in Roatan, Honduras, for the typical “swim-with-dolphin” scheme.  Partnered by Carnival Cruise Lines, they will become an exclusive excursion for Carnival Cruise passengers who will be ferried to the island for a 3 – 4 hour period, of which only one hour will actually be spent with the dolphins in the water.

Needless to say, dolphins under stress are not good matches for a major tourist attraction.  Dolphins are captured by horrendous measures, either driven into coves or chased and netted at high speeds.  Captivity separates dolphins from the two most important things in their lives:  their families and their freedom.  Tourists have been bitten and rammed by dolphins.  Yet, the dolphinarium and the cruise line can expect to charge hundreds of dollars to gullible tourists for their 3-4 hours with a dolphin that would rather be elsewhere.

Captive dolphins don’t “swim” with tourists because they like to – they have to be trained to do it, through food deprivation.

The head developer, Samir Andrawos, leaves a checkered history behind him in St Maarten where he was unsuccessful in developing a similar venture.

reEarth has secured close to 65,000 signatures on their petition against this facility, but still need more to counter the plan to attract the 4 million tourists who travel to The Bahamas on cruise ships annually. 

Please help the dolphins by signing the petition here.

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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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