THAILAND WARNED! Don’t Traffic in Live Dolphins
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
Environmentalists have warned the Thai government that new proposed dolphinariums, Pataya Dolphin World and Safari World , featuring dolphins caught in the wild, threatens both the health of wild dolphin populations and Thailand’s reputation as a Dolphin Safe country.
“International live dolphin traffickers are supplying dolphinariums around the world with live dolphins ripped from their families in the wild,” stated Richard O’Barry, Director of the Dolphin Project. “These traffickers care nothing for the good of the dolphins – all they care about is the huge amount of money they get for capturing wild dolphins and selling them to other countries. Traffickers may supply Thailand dolphinariums from the Solomon Islands, Russia or Taiji, Japan, or even Thai waters, resulting in wild dolphins condemned to lives in small tanks and in depletion of wild dolphin populations.”
A live dolphin can be sold for as much as $300,000 or more. Dolphins are sought for oceanariums and for “swim with dolphins” tourist attractions.
“Thailand is an international destination for tourists to experience that country’s wild places and beaches,” added O’Barry. “There is no reason why Thailand needs to take on this headache of importing a few live dolphins for the benefit of international traffickers. We hope the Fisheries and other Departments of the Thai government reject permits for dolphin imports and reaffirm Thailand’s strong support for the protection of wild dolphins.”
Ric O’Barry is in Thailand in conjunction with screenings of the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove, which depicts the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, and the support of the international captive dolphin industry for the hunts. O’Barry is the star of the documentary and will follow up the screenings with answering comments and questions from the audience.
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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$.
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