Lonely Taiji Dolphin in Captivity Captivates the World

The following writing is by Stephanie Feinstein (animals.change.org)

While the Taiji dolphin killers were off celebrating the holidays, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians were spending time at the Dolphin Base Resort, about a mile away from The Cove. This is where the dolphins who are not slaughtered go to become tourist attractions, sometimes shipped to marine mammal parks around the world.

Dolphin trainer-turned-activist Ric O’Barry recently said, “I’m more upset with the trainers than I am with the men who are killing the dolphins.” What the Cove Guardians found on December 30th is the perfect example of why O’Barry would feel this way.

They thought they were filming a filthy, but empty, pool at the Dolphin Base. The water was so stagnant that the small tank was ringed with green algae. But then they discovered there was actually a dolphin in the water. Just one, with a yellow buoy as his only company.

“Initially, I didn’t think anything could be more sickeningly heartbreaking than the sight of a depressed dolphin floating on the surface holding a buoy much like a child would cling to a teddy bear,” wrote Libby Katsinis. “However, when this dolphin tried to interact with the camera and was encouraging playfulness with the buoy, I stood corrected.”

The sad footage of the dolphin (now known as Misty to the public) went viral, and emails and calls flooded Dolphin Base, including over 1,500 messages sent by Change.org community members. Sea Shepherd Founder and President, Captain Paul Watson, personally offered $5,000 for Misty’s release.

Unfortunately, a Dolphin Base veterinarian said Misty was not for sale; he’s condemned to a life swimming with tourists … if he survives. Although the dolphin allegedly was isolated because of a lung infection, the vet maintained that the conditions of his tank were fine. Staff at the base also told Sea Shepherd they wished the phone calls and emails would stop.

Not likely.

Sea Shepherd joined forces with Save Japan Dolphins, Ric O’Barry’s organization, to keep advocating for Misty. Media from around the world reported the story, keeping Dolphin Base’s cruelty in the limelight.

Late on January 3rd, under cover of darkness, Misty was moved (with his yellow buoy) to a cleaner tank with about five other dolphins. Sea Shepherd credits the international pressure over the past week for this step in the right direction.

But, of course, it’s only one step. Misty and the other dolphins at Dolphin Base are still being kept in inhumane conditions, exploited for human entertainment. Join Sea Shepherd and Save Japan Dolphins in keeping the pressure on to save Misty from a life of misery.

Ask Dolphin Base to sell Misty for rehabilitation and release back into the wild.

Photo credit: Sea Shepherd/YouTube


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