Posts Tagged With: captivity

Taiji – Hell on Earth for dolphins

DSC_0079The beauty of Taiji, Japan is undeniable. There are views here that will literally take your breath away. No photo can do it justice. A couple of mornings ago the Cove Guardians all headed out to a lookout to watch for the gut wrenching “drive formation” of the hunting boats. While walking down the stairs we all had to stop to admire the gorgeous sunrise that was occurring. The orange glow was illuminating the rocky cliffs as it appeared on the horizon. I personally have never seen a sunrise so beautiful. The beauty here is evident and amazing.

The part that is hard to comprehend is the absolute horror that takes place amongst it all. I have been in Taiji as a Cove Guardian for six days and witnessed four slaughters. Three of those four slaughters resulted in dolphins being taken captive as well as being murdered. Monday, January 21, 2013, a family of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins were destroyed by this annual hunt. On this particular day the abuse and disrespect for these animals was appalling. The trainers were present once again for the capture process. They originally selected 27 for a life of slavery in the captive industry. The stress and violence of the hunt and capture resulted in the death of two dolphins before they could even be thrown into the sea pens. How can the Mayor of Taiji say that this hunt is humane and ethical when animals selected to actually survive die in the process? When these poor souls died at the hands of those who claim to “love” them, their loss was not mourned for even a moment. The dolphins that were first considered slave-trade quality were simply thrown onto a boat and hauled away to the butcher house. Their sacrifice was never considered by the killers or the dolphin trainers. They simply joined their slaughtered family members in a pile of waste and death.

Everyday that the hunts take place and the dolphin families are ripped apart shows an absolute lack of compassion and respect. This lack of compassion and respect is not a statement about Japan and the Japanese people. It really bothers me when “supporters” make hateful and racist comments about Japan and the people that live here. These hunts involve a handful of people when compared to all of the country’s population. The fishermen, trainers, buyers, and the few individuals who knowingly eat dolphin do not represent the entire country. The individuals that are a driving force in this annual atrocity live all over the world. Every European or American that takes their family to SeaWorld is responsible. Every hotel or resort owner that enslaves dolphins for tourists seeking a thrill while on vacation is responsible. The dolphin trainers across the globe who KNOW the extent of intelligence and self awareness that these animals have are responsible. The hunts occur to satisfy a demand for captivity. Eliminate the demand and you can end the source of supply.

I say it all the time and I will keep saying it until marine mammal captivity is eliminated, DO NOT BUY A TICKET TO A DOLPHIN SHOW OR SWIM WITH DOLPHIN PROGRAM. Do not support any hotel, resort, or business that profits off the lives of these animals. Every ticket purchased is encouragement for these fishermen to go out with their boats to hunt dolphins.

Thank you for reading.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Cove Guardian, Dolphins, Sea Shepherd, seaworld, Taiji | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seaworld causes a devestating injury to orca whale

Seaworld is once again proving why they should be closed down and why orcas do not belong in captivity. On September 20th, an orca named Nakai hit a portion of the pool with his face during a show at SeaWorld San Deigo. The injuries are horrific and the fact that SeaWorld continued with the show is absolutely appalling. A piece of his chin that was the size of a dinner plate was retrieved from the bottom of the pool. SeaWorld trainers and management are saying they did not realize the extent of the injury and therefore did not stop the show. I would think that ANY injury would be just cause for stopping a show. I am not sure how these “highly” trained cetacean experts failed to miss the exposed bone coming out of Nakai’s face. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be more disgusted with SeaWorld and their supporters, but this incident has shocked me into a whole new level of disgust and absolute hatred.

Nakai’s injury proves why Orcas do NOT belong in captivity.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Orca, seaworld, Whales | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Another season of blood and death in Taiji

I was hoping for a blood-free weekend out of Taiji, Japan. I was hoping the fishermen would continue to come back to the harbor without any dolphins, but this weekend marked the first deaths in the 2012-2013 dolphin hunting season. A pod of pilot whales were found on Friday and driven into shore. The nets were dropped and the family of about 25 or 26 were all trapped, awaiting their fate. They were held overnight in the cove to allow trainers to come select the animals that they wanted to buy. Three of the pilot whales were chosen for a life a captivity yesterday. The rest of their family, about 21-23 others, were all slaughtered and dragged to the butcher house.

I cannot believe how shocked I still am after a slaughter has taken place. I have been following the dolphin hunts in Taiji for a couple of years now, but it is still a somber and dark day for me when a family of these peaceful creatures are killed. It is senseless and barbaric and such a shameful moment for those involved. My heart goes out to the 3 juveniles taken into captivity this weekend. They were first chased into the cove by boats and trapped there, then separated from their pod by loud and forceful humans, and finally they had to listen as their mothers and family members were all killed. What a tragedy they should never have had to endure.

Currently, there is a pod a bottlenose dolphins trapped in the cove with a second one still trying desperately to get away. I am sending my hopes and thoughts to those innocent animals and I truly hope they get away and do not face the same fate as the pilot whales and the pod trapped already.

 

Thank you for reading.

Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Georgia Aquarium’s Shameful Permit Request

I discovered this weekend that the Georgia Aquarium has applied for a permit to obtain and import 18 wild beluga whales. These whales have already been caught in Russia and now the captivity industry simply needs to get them into the United States in order to start making money off their lives. The Georgia Aquarium has a great deal of interest in this especially since the death of a baby beluga whale at their facility only days after it was born. The issue that is creating the need to import these wild animals is genetic diversity. The captivity world is running out of breeding options and therefore must create bogus and false statements in order to apply for import permits. One such reason they give surrounds conservation. Conservation? Seriously? Taking wild animals out of the ocean and placing them into an entertainment park is supposed to enhance conservation? I cannot believe the captivity industry thinks people are going to buy that line. If it was conservation they wanted then instead of spending $2 million to research how to bring wild animals into the US, they would spend that money on protecting the wild populations and our oceans.

The other reason they claim to need these wild animals is for research. The research angle always makes me laugh because there is no true and significant research that can be conducted on a captive marine mammal. In captivity these animals cannot eat, swim, play, socialize, or even just exist naturally. It is shameful to even put themselves into a category with true scientists that study animals in their natural habitats.

Since word of this permit application got out the GA has been trying to convince their fans and the public that what’s being said isn’t true and they are basically victims in this. So, here is what I have to say about that.

Georgia Aquarium, the accusations against you are not inaccurate or false. It is simple. The GA has acquired wild belugas from Russia and wants to import them into the United States. It does not matter who took them from the ocean first. These were wild animals and you have decided to purchase them as if they are property to be bought and sold as pleased. There will be no true research done on them at a captive facility, including yours. Captive animals do swim, eat, socialize, or behave like a true wild animals. They swim in artificial water, eat dead fish that are filled with medicines to help with the ailments related to the stress captivity causes, they do not have a natural family group to socialize with and they cannot ever swim the distances like those of their wild counterparts. Your facility is using these animals for profits and entertainment. I do not care if you attempt to hide behind a 501c3 status. If it was education you were truly interested in you would not charge the astronomical amount of $169.95 per adult, senior, or child to interact with belugas. Please do not attempt to fool those of us who know exactly what the captivity industry is all about. One day everyone will see all of you for what your really are and it is then that marine mammal captivity will become another dark spot on human history.

Please take a minute to sign this petition to help these belugas.

http://www.change.org/petitions/noaa-don-t-let-the-georgia-aquarium-import-wild-belugas-to-the-us

 

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Whales | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Another death in captivity, but it isn’t just SeaWorld at fault

Once born into a life at SeaWorld, Jozu did not stand a chance.

There has been yet another death in the pools of marine mammal captivity. In 1994, a false killer whale was born into a life of captivity in SeaWorld. As with most captive animals, she faced a short life full of sickness and ailments. She was named Jozu and was said to have chronic health problems throughout her life. Jozu only made it to the age of 17. In the wild, female false killer whales live an average of 62 years.

When I read stories like this I find myself going through a string of emotions. I am always sad for the animal because their life here is gone. They are no longer existing amongst us and I find myself wondering if their soul has been reborn into another life that is now wild in the ocean. As I am thinking about this life that is gone I realize I am angry with SeaWorld for allowing it to happen. They bring these animals into the world knowing that they will never live to see a day anywhere close to what they should naturally. They know about the species and what they require in order to survive and yet they still allow captive breeding and condemn these animals to an early death. It is in these moments that I wish I hadn’t been banned from all of SeaWorld’s social media pages so I could write to them publicly and tell them how I feel while exposing the truth to their “fans”.  Although, it was those messages that originally got me (and several other fake profiles) kicked off their pages in the first place.

Then, I seem to realize that even though the people at SeaWorld are guilty of many cruelty crimes involving animal exploitation, there is another group at blame.  Every single person that supports SeaWorld or any other marine park is also responsible for Jozu’s death. This continued ignorance is what drives the industry. And perhaps it is not always unintentional ignorance. We have become a VERY complacent society who thinks they have a great deal of entitlement owed to them. We look around and see bad things and just look the other way or tell ourselves its just part of life. For example, anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows about the pet population crisis. The shelters are bursting at the seams with homeless pets and yet there is still that person who will go spend $1000 on a pure bred animal and justify the action by saying, “I wanted it”. People breed their own cats or dogs because they can or want their kids to see the birth. It stems from this idea that because you were born into the human species you have domain over every other creature and if you want it, you can have it. And you will just walk by the pet shelter with your pure bred dog because you’ve become completely complacent to the faces in the window.

This is exactly what is happening at SeaWorld. People simply do not care or think about the existence of those animals. People feel that they have the right to go look at dolphins and whales at a park. Or they say that since they were born in captivity it doesn’t matter.  They get to go to the park for a day with the family and watch these animals perform a bunch of unnatural circus tricks and then go home. That is where the thought ends. They don’t go home and think about that animal still sitting in the same pool full of chemically altered water. They don’t think about the dead fish the animals get only when they perform their silly tricks. They don’t think about the medicine stuffed into the fish to help the animals cope with stress and health issues. They aren’t sitting in the stands cheering and clapping, listening to the announcer and the music and wondering how all that noise effects a creature whose strongest sense is sound. They simply go to SeaWorld, watch the shows and then go home and tell their friends and family about their big family day out.

Money and power and entitlement and complacency. That is what makes SeaWorld go round. A simple internet search will teach you that False Killer whales naturally swim in groups of 10-20 members, which then belong to a larger pod consisting of hundreds of animals. You can learn about the average life span which is about 58 years for males and 62 for females. You can learn about their strong social bonds which have resulted in mass strandings. These are not things you learn at SeaWorld and none of these natural attributes were a part of Jozu’s life. She was deprived of all the things her wild cousins have, including a life that should have lasted into her sixties.

And while these animals are floating around in glorified swimming pools, getting sunburns at the surface, with no life beyond tricks and swimming in circles, Stephen Schwarzman (CEO of the Blackstone Group) is home in his 20,000 square foot, 35 bedroom estate. A home that is bigger then the orca tanks at SeaWorld. Yes, he is responsible for the sad life of every animal at SeaWorld, as well as the death of Jozu, but if you’ve bought a ticket then so are you.

Stop with the complacency. Stop supporting SeaWorld. Stop supporting captivity. Together we can close their doors for good.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yup….SeaWorld Still Sucks

Sully, the pilot whale dies after being forced into a life of captivity.

In 2009, a pilot whale became beached near Aruba. People of course showed up to “help” and the pilot whale, now called Sully, was taken to a local aquarium. It didn’t take long for SeaWorld to discover the animal and offer to “adopt” the whale. Of course SeaWorld would take him because they had determined he was “non-releasable” and he could bring in money for them despite the fact that he was a wild animal.

SeaWorld can no longer take wild animals from the ocean but they can acquire them through a rescue. So Sully was flown from the Caribbean Islands to SeaWorld San Diego via a FedEx plane. He survived with SeaWorld for only a couple years. Sully died on May 23, 2012 from complications due to a sunburn. In the wild, whales and dolphins only spend time a fraction of time at the surface and spend over 80% of their time below the water exploring, playing, and eating. In captivity the animals have nothing to do but sit at the surface and float and are therefore exposed to the sun day in and day out.

It is just another reason to not keep marine mammals in captivity and another part of their life that is not natural.

Yup…SeaWorld still sucks and they are still killing animals and sentencing others to a life behind concrete and glass, one “rescue” at a time.

 

Thanks for reading.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Whales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

An Update to Morgan’s Timeline

I have made a couple of updates to the timeline about Morgan.

You can click here to go to the timeline and see the new updates at the bottom.

Thanks for reading!

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Orca, Whales | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Waters in Taiji….for now

Blue waters in Taiji, Japan

The 2011-2012 dolphin hunting season has finally come to a close in Taiji, Japan. For those of us that follow the daily occurrences within that small village, that news was not only wonderful to hear but also could not have come at a better time. On February 26th, last Sunday, news came out that the fishermen had slaughtered 98 Pantropical Spotted dolphins. It was heartbreaking to hear that news so when the fishermen started taking the poles off their boats and the doors to the butcher house started coming down I was elated and relieved. I read about the Cove from time to time last year. I knew what was happening and could tell others about it, but this was my first hunting season where I followed every detail every single day. I have been borderline obsessed with reading the updates that would come in from those on the ground in Taiji. And I have to tell you, it was exhausting. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. I am so happy the season has ended. Although, the 2012-2013 hunting season will begin in less than 7 months. The annual kill numbers are decreasing and I will post the numbers from this season soon.

For now, remember the dolphins that lost their lives in that small cove. Remember, the ones who were sent to live in tanks for the rest of their lives after they watched and listened as their families were killed. Remember that at the end of the day, when everyone goes home and has dinner or goes out with friends, those animals are still trapped behind glass, concrete and nets. There are animals all over the world that are being held in un-natural waters, being fed an un-natural diet, and are living un-natural social lives. All for entertainment and all for profits. Remember what fuels the dolphin drives in Taiji and DON’T BUY A TICKET.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Devestating Day in Taiji

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

I was out with friends yesterday when I used my phone to go online and check on the status of the banger boats in Taiji. Shocked and devastated is an understatement of how I felt when I read the boats had returned and that the fishermen had killed 98 dolphins. 98…..98 dolphins were killed. I couldn’t believe it. I actually refreshed the page and then looked at several other pages to make sure that the correct number had been released.

98 Pantropical Spotted dolphins were brutally slaughtered in the Cove on February 27. None were taken for captivity. The lives stolen from this world included mothers, babies, and juveniles. Tim Burns who is in Taiji as a Cove Monitor with Save Japan Dolphins described the day’s events.

“Today as I watched the pod being pushed into the Cove, I could see many juvenile dolphins.  After splitting the pod into two groups, the hunters began the slaughter.  The first wave was driven, pushed, and in a few instances tail roped and dragged under the tarps.  After about 15 minuets the second group was just as brutally corralled under the tarps. I noticed one swim back out from under the tarp, as it was partially paralyzed.  It could only swim in one direction.  The hunters just allowed it to swim out in front of the tarps for about 5-10 minutes.  Once there was no fight left, he was tail wrapped and pulled back under.”

Thankfully this hunting season is coming to a close early so the killings will soon end. I am sure that is why the fishermen decided to take the lives of so many dolphins in one day. They showed their blatant disregard for life and their disrespect for other sentient beings in this world. I went to bed that night and dreamed of Taiji and the dolphins that have died there. I know I will go there myself one day soon and be a witness and a voice to those who are voiceless.

Pantropical Spotted dolphins

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Oceans, Sea Shepherd | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taiji

The first week of February did not end well in Taiji, Japan. The cove turned blood red as the fisherman slaughtered 30 striped dolphins. Their lives and families were ripped apart in just one afternoon. Thank goodness the following week was a little better for the dolphins of Japan. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the fisherman caught no dolphins.

However, on Tuesday, February 7, the waters again turned red with the blood of Risso’s dolphins. On this day the trainers were also at the Cove working with the fisherman to claim the lives they wanted for captivity. Two Risso’s dolphins were taken that day for a life of imprisonment, but not until they had to witness the deaths of their family members. The count was 22 Risso’s killed. 2 Risso’s bought by the trainers.

Tuesday was also an interesting and stressful day for the Cove Guardians who are in Taiji with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The police held the CG and ended up restricting the use of all hand held radios. They had been using the same radios for two years so it appears the police of Taiji are once again just getting desperate to find ways that the protesters are breaking the law.

This week also ended in a sad and tragic way. The fisherman found a pod of striped dolphins on Saturday. They drove them into the Cove and slaughtered all 30 adults. After the family was dead, they drove the juveniles and babies back out to the sea. They have no pod or mothers to keep them safe, so their fate will ultimately be death. They will starve or get taken by a predator. Tim Burns of Save Japan Dolphins was at the Cove this day:

“Now the Taiji dolphin hunters have driven these young dolphins from the open sea to land, killed their entire family in front of them, and condemned them to die at sea.”

This killing season only has 7 more weeks until it ends. As of Sunday, February 12, the fisherman have reached their quota for Risso’s and striped dolphins. They cannot hunt those species anymore.

We’ll see what this new week brings for the dolphins of Taiji. But whatever happens there will be 14 Cove Guardians standing by to witness it all.

Cove Guardians in Taiji, Japan

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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