One Sad Orca
One Sad Orca
By Mark J. Palmer
International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute
Like Ric and many others, I have seen my share of cruelty and animal abuse over the years. It is never pleasant, or really understandable. The constant battle to make a buck, or a yen, just seems to drive humanity right out of people.
When I first went to Taiji with Ric O’Barry, we were staying in a local hotel that backed up on the infamous Taiji Whale Museum. We could see the tanks and blocked-off cove with captives from the windows right outside our rooms in the hall. The Museum is a weird assortment of very desultory captive dolphins of many species (all ripped from their pods in the killing Cove just around the headland, within a ten-minute walk) and the bones and implements of whaling. The museum shop sells whale meat to the tourists.
The saddest thing for me was a lonely orca, kept in a large cove netted off from the other cetaceans, the one representative of the species. There were silly shows on a daily basis, in which the orca would swim around, wave its tail or flipper at the crowd, jump, and do other tricks for the public. The rest of the time, which was most of the time, the orca stayed at the surface, its head underneath the wooden pier from which its trainers would come to feed it and make it go through the tricks. Often, it would swim in a wide circle around its cove, but always ending up at the same place. It would be hard to imagine a more dead prison for a wild animal.
Sometime last year, the orca was transferred to the Nagoya Aquarium, probably netting the Taiji Whale Museum a great deal of money. (Four dolphins from Taiji were sold to Egypt this last August for $300,000 each, so you can imagine what a much rarer trained orca would bring to the dolphin traffickers.)
I received a call today from Ric: One of our dolphin activist friends in Japan told him the orca had died at the Nagoya Aquarium. Another victim of the dolphin slave trade.
One sad orca is out of its misery, but more will be caught to take its place.
Photo by Mark J. Palmer.
Quick Ways to Help
* Sign the petition HERE to tell world leaders to Stop the Japan Dolphin Slaughter.
* Block the sale of dolphins from the Solomon Islands to China. Send an e-mail to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip firstname.lastname@example.org
*Click Here to Join the Ric O'Barry Dolphin Project Facebook Page.
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