Stopping Captive Dolphin Facilities in Puerto Rico

Ric O’Barry and the team here at Dolphin Project have been quite busy as of late, what with new dolphinariums and captive facilities popping out of the woodwork with surprising and disturbing frequency – in places such as Thailand, the Maldives, and now: Puerto Rico.

The proposed Puerto Rican facility, slated for construction within the capital city of San Juan, will not only hold captive dolphins in woefully inadequate artificial environments, but will lure customers in on the false and psychologically manipulative assumption that dolphins can somehow cure ailing children suffering from autism and similar incurable diseases.

Dolphin Assisted Therapy, or DAT, has long been proven as being ineffectual  and damaging not only for the dolphins, but often for children and their families as well. Those with ailing loved ones who are willing to try anything will seek out DAT, often as an alternative therapy or in an act of last resort. The desire to try anything to assist a loved one is certainly understandable and something with which we can all sympathize. Yet, once again, the captivity industry is taking advantage of people’s love and trust by proclaiming that dolphins possess some kind of magical healing properties that any child may benefit from – providing that a substantial fee is paid in advance, of course. 

DAT is, in this sense, particularly insidious. It demonstrates that industry proponents, from the traffickers of live dolphins to the owners of the facilities, are benefiting unjustly at the expense of sick children and innocent dolphins alike. These people take pleasure in lining their pockets with money wrenched from the futile hopes of suffering families. The captivity industry cares exclusively for their bottom lines; these people should be stopped. 

Puerto Rico, which translates into ‘rich port’, does not need this blemish upon their beautiful shores. Dolphin Project has teamed up with Delfines Libres to prevent this abomination from ever coming into being. Contact the following officials and express your concern about the proposed facility and DAT:


Hon. Jorge Santini-Padilla
PO Box 9024100
San Juan, PR 00902-4100

Phone 787-724-7171, extension 3001

Fax: 787-725-5674

Email: [email protected]

President of the San Juan Municipal Legislature:

Elba Vallés Pérez

Phone: 787-480-2558

Email: [email protected]

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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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