captured dolphins

Before the 1960′s, when the TV series Flipper became popular, trained sea creatures such as dolphins were a very rare occurrence. Richard “Ric” O’Barry was a dolphin trainer at Miami Seaquarium and helped to capture five wild dolphins that would be trained to star in Flipper. He carried this on for 10 years until Kathy, who was the main dolphin to star in Flipper, died in his arms; he strongly believes she committed suicide when she didn’t resurface for air. It was this one event that completely changed his stance on what he was doing. He suddenly realised that imprisoning and training these beautiful and intelligent creatures for human entertainment was abhorrent. On Earth Day of 1970, Ric founded The Dolphin Project which is an organisation dedicated to educating people about the plight of dolphins in captivity. This organisation rescues and rehabilitates dolphins and releases them back to the wild. As well as this, Ric leads an international effort to stop the hunting of dolphins and the trafficking of dolphins to theme parks such as Sea World. He has written two books: Behind the Dolphin Smile and To Free a Dolphin, and also appeared in the documentary, The Cove.

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BREAKING NEWS TOKYO (AP) — “Game of Thrones” star @Maisie_Williams wants everyone to stop buying tickets to marine shows. She says it’s the best way to stop the capture and killings of dolphins in Japan.

Williams spoke Friday in the small Japanese town of Taiji, made famous in “The Cove,” a 2009 Oscar-winning film that documented the dolphin hunt and starred Ric O'Barry, the dolphin trainer for the “Flipper” TV series.

Williams is the latest celebrity trying to save dolphins. Others include Brian May of Queen, Sting and Daryl Hannah.

She hopes her influence on social media, with 4 million Instagram followers, will help educate people about Taiji, including Japanese.

Williams, global ambassador for O'Barry’s Dolphin Project campaign, says only a handful of Taiji fishermen are benefiting from the practice. (x) (x) (x)

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The coastline of California, an area known as Big Sur

Big Sur, California is one of the most visually striking places in the world. The dramatic cliff faces that overlook the wide ocean views are equitable to a spiritual or magical experience–especially during golden hour through to sunset. Capturing aerial views of dolphins surrounded by lush ocean blues is a moment I will cherish forever. The peace and beauty along the HWY 1 coastline is unmatchable. This entire aerial video was filmed using the DJI Inspire 1.

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The Dolphin Readaption Center

Locals living near the Dolphin Rehabilitation Center in Kemujan, Karimun Jawa, are lending their support to the center’s team, who aim to return to the wild dolphins accidentally caught by fishermen or used in the entertainment industry, by getting involved with their programs.

The center is the first permanent facility in the world to rehabilitate and release dolphins back into the wild and was set up to help dolphins illegally captured in the area readapt again to their natural environment.

The initiative comes under the jurisdiction of the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the ministry of forestry (PHPA) and is run by the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), named as the official partners of the program.

Local fishermen have been enlisted to help monitor released dolphins by reporting their sightings of those that have been freeze-branded, a method in which a branding iron of a simple symbol is applied with liquid nitrogen to the top of the dolphins’ dorsal fins.

“Every dolphin will get a different logo, and the branding lasts just over a year,” American dolphin expert and program team member Lincoln O’Barry said.

He remarked that since these dolphins would be staying around the area, people would be coming across them and this was an easy way for reporting their sightings. GPS transmitters would also be used to track released dolphins.

We only have one boat, but there are hundreds of fishermen in the area, so when we distribute pictures of the logos to the fishermen, and when they are out there, they’ll be our eyes and ears out on the water, and they can say ‘Yeah, we saw ‘the star’ [dolphin] over here or ‘the moon’ over there’, and that’s an easy way to identify them.”

He said they had briefed all the fishermen and organized them into groups of 30 with one person appointed in the groups for everyone to report their sightings to.


Most dolphins that end up in fishermen’s nets or are captured for the entertainment trade in Indonesia have come from Karimun Jawa where there is a resident pod. The problem of widespread dolphin captures from the Karimun Jawa area caught the attention of the directorate general of forest protection and nature conservation of the forestry ministry (PHPA) last year, and JAAN was approached for help in returning them to the wild. JANN called in the O’Barry’s to lend support and expertise.

The site for the center was selected based on its close proximity to the captured dolphins’ original habitat after JAAN and the National Park staff conducted a survey of the area.

“We’re only returning the dolphins that were captured from here — we are not adding dolphins to the population here,” explained Den Haas, who is originally from Holland.

Since construction was completed on the sea pen at the end of February, Den Haas noted that temporary permits would be extremely difficult to get for dolphins that in the past would have ended up in the entertainment trade after a rescue loophole was used to get them from fishermen who would say the marine mammals had been caught in their nets.

“If any dolphins are accidentally caught and are wounded they would have to be brought to the sea pen, because it’s the official rehabilitation pen for dolphins, so by having the sea pen here, nobody can take in dolphins under the guise of ‘rescue’ again,” she said.


Many locals recognize the benefits of their involvement in the program. Ali Muarif, who helped build the sea pen for the dolphins in the program, called its month-long construction period an interesting learning time for him, saying that he had to make it strong and of good quality for its purpose.

Ali was appointed by the National Park to represent the park on the team as full-time help. Since March, he has been maintaining the sea pen daily, ensuring no debris is caught in the netting and it is safe and secure for when the first dolphins finally arrive.

Originally from the Kemujan area of the island, Ali has grown up often seeing dolphins in the local waters, and said his mind would be more at ease if the friendly marine mammals taken from Karimun Jawa could be returned home.

“I still come across them often [in the open water]. It’s important to have them here to draw tourists to our area. Dolphins are beautiful and good creatures that deserve to be in the wild and I’d rather see them in the ocean than locked up in some enclosure,” Ali said.


Via Ric O'Barry’s Dolphin Project