NGOs work tirelessly to rescue thousands of captive dolphins and reintroduce them to the wild.
Honey, the bottlenose dolphin, caught the attention of the entire world in 2018. The cute dolphin was left in a small, murky tank, and sadly, she has died.
“The world’s loneliest dolphin” and a few other animals were left behind at the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium after the closing of the park in 2018. Financial struggles put an end to the popularity of the aquarium and the situation got worse when earthquakes and tsunamis struck the area in 2011. Honey, 46 penguins, and hundreds of fish and reptiles were left at the mercy of just one employee.
Honey was really lonely and all she did was swim in circles in her dirty tank. She was all by herself with nothing to keep her happy or stimulated.
“In late February of this year, we reached out to our Japanese colleagues once again in attempts to purchase Honey in order that she could be retired in peace and dignity,” the organization explained. “These conversations ended in early March when it became apparent Honey was unlikely to survive. Later that month on March 29, Honey died in her tank.”
It was a tragic ending for Honey. The poor animal was left to die. There’s no other explanation for this tragedy.
“While tragically, she wasn’t able to escape the manmade enclosure she suffered in, Honey will remain the face of dolphin captivity for many years to come.
The Dolphin Project is one of the initiatives the Japanese started to rescue the dolphin. It is a dolphin welfare, rescue, and rehabilitation organization from California.
The organization tried really hard to rescue the dolphin, but they weren’t able to reach an agreement. Because of this, Honey died alone in her dirty home. Many other animals share the same destiny.
The Dolphin Project
The organization has been trying to rescue dolphins in the US, Haiti, South Korea, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Brazil, and Columbia. Richard O’Barry founded it on Earth Day in 1970 with one simple goal. Employees work really hard to rescue animals.
The cuties are taken to a sanctuary and some of them are reintroduced into their natural habitat. It’s a long process and not every animal regain their natural instincts to survive in the wild.
The Dolphin Project hopes to end dolphin exploitation and slaughter. They educate people about dolphin captivity and hopefully, other dolphins will have better luck than poor Honey. The organization has had much success in the past decades.
Here are some of their accomplishments:
- Rescued and reintroduced dolphins back into their waters
- Made Mexico pass a law in 2002 to ban the captivity of dolphins for dolphinaria
- Founded Camp Lumba Lumba, the first dolphin rehab and release center located in Kemujan, Karimun Jawa, Indonesia
- Shut down Marine Park Dolphinaris in Arizona
- Put an end to Indonesia’s traveling dolphin circus
The Dolphin Project had a big mission in 2003. They tried to shut down the cruel and controversial drive hunts in Taiji. Honey was captured during one of these monstrous hunts.
The Taiji drive hunts
Honey and other terrified dolphins are driven into a cove and they are captured for performance in aquariums and marine parks. Some of them are killed for their meat. The Dolphin Project was determined to put an end to the brutal practice.
The Cove exposes the dark side of the Taiji hunts. There’s nothing positive in those hunts and the documentary raised general awareness. It won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Dolphin captivity controversy
Dolphins are smart and social creatures who like to play. They aren’t “designed” to be kept in captivity. Such an intelligent animal should not be forced to live in a small pool without any source of stimulation.
Dolphin captivity is wrong on so many levels:
- Dolphins swim up to 100 km in wild waters. Being stuck in a pool makes them aggressive.
- Cute dolphins have a signature whistle inside their pods or families. Putting a dolphin in a marine park with dolphins they don’t know is horrible as they aren’t able to communicate.
- Dolphins need stimulation and pools can’t offer that. Do you know that captive dolphins are given ulcer and anti-depression medications? That’s how captivity works.
- Depressed dolphins try to “beach” themselves on the pool deck because they don’t want to live.
- Marine park workers keep captive dolphins hungry enough so they can be instructed during a performance. Swim with the dolphins? That’s how they do it.
- Captive dolphins are forced to eat dead fish
- Tanks don’t provide deep-dive and dolphins are exposed to the sun. This gives them blisters and sunburns.
- Chlorinated tanks irritate dolphins’ eyes causing irreversible damage.
How you can help?
You may be just a human in this world, but your tiny impact can contribute to a greater cause. The Dolphin Project needs all the help it can get. There are many other organizations with similar missions.
You can join their projects or provide an outside impact:
- Education is important and you can spread the truth about captive dolphins
- Boycott marine parks and businesses that use animals to entertain visitors
- Make a donation to rescue projects
- Sign petitions to change laws on captivity
Together we are stronger and now is the perfect time to make a change in this world. Animals need our help because they are powerless in the fight against captivators. Be the voice for those who can’t speak and make this world a better place.