An Award for Our Friends
By Ric O’Barry
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute
As you know, our many efforts at Earth Island's Dolphin Project to Save Japan Dolphins are making some headway.
The number of dolphins being killed in Taiji has declined each year for the past four years. We hear from our friends in Japan that the market for dolphin and whale meat is steadily declining, so the Taiji dolphin hunters are able to sell fewer and fewer dead dolphins.
So many of you have helped and supported this effort, and I want to thank you, on behalf of all of us at Earth Island's Dolphin Project, for your volunteerism, your donations, and your good wishes. When we stop the dolphin hunts -- and I think it is a matter of "when" not "if" -- you will be a part of our victory for the dolphins. We can't succeed without you.
One couple has done an extraordinary job as volunteers for us in helping organize the ongoing Cove Monitoring program in Taiji. They have gone to Taiji themselves for weeks on end, making sure we at Earth Island and the whole world knows what is happening with the dolphin hunts. They've contributed excellent photographs, video footage and blogs to document the hunts. They have also recruited, trained, and mentored volunteers to help us be a presence in Taiji for six months of the year, which is just amazing. Virtually all of our monitors have raised funds to travel to Taiji or have dug deep in their own pockets to fund their monitoring. None more so than our two friends, Tim and Carrie Burns.
I had the pleasure last week of attending Earth Island’s Party for the Planet, an event celebrating Earth Island’s 30th birthday and the 100th birthday of David Brower, who founded Earth Island. While in town at Earth Island’s Berkeley offices, we also had several strategy meetings to discuss the next few months of our campaign, with the new hunt season in Taiji beginning on Sept. 1st.
(By the way, we will soon be posting announcements on these blogs about events happening on Sept. 1st, including for those interested in joining me in Taiji on the first day of the hunt and those having events all around the world on that day in front of Japanese consulates and embassies.)
Tim and Carrie came all the way from Florida to meet with us to help start organizing the Cove Monitoring for the hunt season (Sept. 1st to March 31st most years, although the hunters have stopped the drive hunts at the end of February for the past two years).
So, at the Party for the Planet, I asked Tim and Carrie to accept an award from all of us at Earth Island's Dolphin Project for their work in organizing and building an extraordinary volunteer team for monitors halfway around the world in Taiji. My thanks and thanks from the dolphins!
The award was a very fine bronze dolphin sculpture by my friend and favorite dolphin sculptor, Bud Bottoms of Santa Barbara, who does wonderful dolphin sculptures, including the beautiful dolphin family fountain at Stearns Wharf in downtown Santa Barbara, CA. More of Bud's work can be seen on his website:
Again, my thanks to Carrie and Tim, and all the many volunteers who are working to protect dolphins around the world. You folks are the greatest!
Photos by Mark J. Palmer. Sculpture by Bud Bottoms http://budbottoms.com/.
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