Powerful Message from a Grieving Dolphin

Whale watchers aboard Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari had an unexpected and heartbreaking encounter with a pod of bottlenose dolphins yesterday. A deceased dolphin calf was being carried by an adult bottlenose dolphin on its back.

This video sends a powerful message and it is a window into a dolphins heart. This animal is laboring under the strain of carrying the deceased calf on its back and is probably keeping it near the surface so the departed dolphin can breathe. Dolphins do not normally swim with their dorsal fins sticking out of the water continuously like this bottlenose did.  This poor grieving mother dolphin takes us, without words, to a place where as one of our passengers said in the video “humans and dolphins are not so different.”

The pair were surrounded by other dolphins, almost as if they were being protected, during this profoundly sad time. The dolphin was seen an hour later by another boat still carrying the calf.

For the dolphins!

The Dam Guardians – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who is well known for their attempts to stop whaling ships in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, now wants to stop Oregon’s killing of sea lions that eat endangered salmon in the Columbia River. The Dam Guardians of Sea Shepherd, in Astoria on Sunday, photographed and video-taped Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technicians as they captured and branded  38 sea lions at the East Mooring Basin.

The fact is the sea lions take less than 4% of the salmon runs. Whereas, habitat loss, hydroelectric dams, hatchery fish and harvest are responsible for the bulk of wild salmon declines. The sea lions will be branded with hot irons, hazed with rubber bullets and explosives, and killed by lethal injection or shotgun for eating less than 4% of the salmon at the dam. All of this mayhem, conducted on the dime of taxpayers, takes place while commercial, sport, and tribal fisheries are allowed to take up to 17% of the same endangered salmon and the dam itself claims approximately 17% of adult salmon.

About 1,400 sea lions have been branded at Astoria since 1997 as part of a general population study. Numbers branded on the animals are used to identify sea lions  that go upriver to feed on endangered salmon at Bonneville Dam, where  the fish are vulnerable while waiting to go over the fish ladder.

You can follow the Dam Guardians on twitter: @DamGuardians and on Facebook Sea Shepherd USA

Also check out: http://www.seashepherd.org/dam-guardians/

“Palm Sunday for some is supposed to be a peaceful holiday. We woke to the sounds of sea lion screams coming from Pier 36. We scrambled to get dressed, get our equipment, and get down to the docks. We were astounded by the sight of 30 + beautiful sea lions, in sheer terror, climbing upon eachother and crying out in fear. Trying to escape their human captors. Sea Lions literally filled the trap, and… the weight was causing the cage to sink. The sea lions sitting on the docks were also upset. Little ones were swimming up to see their friends in the trap. Matt from O.D.F.W. would bang on the bottom of the trap with a stick and the only way out of the trap was to go into the squeeze cage. Where they would be held tightly against their will, their movements restricted while seering hot irons were pressed into their flesh. The sea lions don’t understand this type of behavior and the way that these humans were treating them. I don’t think the humans understand how it would feel if this was being done to them. The sea lions do not know things like what would drive a man to put them, in a cage and traumatize their family. They do not understand cold hearts that will press seering hot irons into their flesh because these humans do not want to share the fish with wildlife A woman was screaming “Don’t hurt the babies, Matt, how do you sleep at night?” We talked to tourists who heard the sea lions and this woman screaming. They flocked to the pier, and walked away with the truth about what is happening to our oceans, and to marine wildlife on The Willamette and Columbia River. I noticed they would come with smiles on their faces and left looking disturbed. With horror and tears on their faces.   With tears streaming down our face, we refused not to look away. We documented this horror for over six hours.” Ellie Buchanan Sea Shepherd USA
  601099_539960852693793_1352651390_n   542570_529463687076843_1046342363_n
Photo credits: Sea Shepherd USA

Sharks, A Whale & Eco-Pirate – Must see documentaries!

Sharkwater: For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. riven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas. Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world’s shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

The Whale: tells the true story of a young, wild killer whale – an orca – nicknamed Luna, who lost contact with his family on the coast of British Columbia and turned up alone in a narrow stretch of sea between mountains, a place called Nootka Sound. Orcas are social. They live with their families all their lives. An orca who gets separated usually just fades away and dies. Luna was alone, but he didn’t fade away. There weren’t any familiar orcas in Nootka Sound, but there were people, in boats and on the shore. So he started trying to make contact. And people welcomed him. Most of them. This contact did not turn out to be simple. It was as if we humans weren’t ready for him. THE WHALE celebrates the life of a smart, friendly, determined, transcendent being from the other world of the sea who appeared among us like a promise out of the blue: that the greatest secrets in life are still to be discovered.

Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Watson: “Eco-Pirate” tells the story of a man on a mission to save the planet and its oceans. The film follows professional radical ecologist, Captain Paul Watson as he repeatedly flouts the law, so that he may apprehend what he sees as the more serious law-breakers: the illegal poachers of the world. Using verité sequences shot aboard his ship as a framing device, the documentary examines Watson’s personal history as an activist through archival footage and interviews, while revealing the impact of this relentless pursuit on his personal life. From the genesis of Greenpeace to sinking a pirate whaling ship off Portugal, and from clashes with fisherman in the Galapagos to Watson’s recent headline-grabbing battles with the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica, the film chronicles the extraordinary life of the most controversial figure in the environmental movement; the heroics, the ego, the urgency of the world’s original eco-pirate.

For the oceans!

Thought for the Day

Ghandi quote

“I know that some members of the captivity industry have made the point that in captivity these animals are fed fish and they don’t need to deal with the stress of capturing their own prey. But in fact, being fed dead fish can be a stress. In the wild, they really enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with each other and catch prey and travel with their companions, and basically work for their prey. In captivity, all of that stimulation is taken away. There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that dolphins and whales — both wild-born and captive-born — exhibit a lot of psychological abnormalities in captivity.” Lori Marino. Behavioral neuroscientist at Emory University

What the Captive Marine Mammal Industry Doesn’t Want You to See!

Here are three films the captive marine mammal industry does not want you to see!

The Cove: Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

A Fall From Freedom: The first comprehensive film to reveal the long and sordid history of the captive whale and dolphin entertainment business. Many of these marine parks and aquariums are directly or indirectly responsible for the death of thousands of the very animals they use for public entertainment. Premature deaths. Trainer injuries. Illegal practices. Educational misrepresentation. Government incompetence. Secret deals. These and many other issues are presented, and documented for the first time in this powerful documentary, narrated by actor Mike Farrell.

Blackfish: Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.


Wild & Free vs. Captivity & Imprisonment

In the wild vs. in captivity ( information credited to – the Animal Welfare Institute http://awionline.org )

In The Wild… In Captivity…
Each day, dolphins travel up to 40 miles and orcas travel up to 100, feeding and socializing with other members of their pods. Pods can contain hundreds of individuals with complex social bonds and hierarchies. Cetaceans are housed in small concrete or glass enclosures with no chance to swim for very long or dive deep distances.

Sometimes they are housed alone without opportunities for socialization, or they are forced to be with other animals and even species with whom they would not naturally have close contact.

Dolphins are naturally energetic, playful and inquisitive. When tasked with entertaining tourists all day, with nowhere to escape, dolphins often become bored, frustrated and aggressive.
Cetaceans spend approximately 80-90% of their time under water. They have the freedom to perform natural behaviors on their own terms. Dolphins are forced to perform artificial activities such as “walking” on water, jumping through hoops, and nodding their heads on cue.
Whales and dolphins eat a variety of fish, squid and octopi species, as well as smaller mammals.

Orcas and others work in groups, utilizing complex strategies to locate their prey. Some dive thousands of feet in search of food sources.

The animals are given a staple diet of dead fish, often as positive reinforcement during training, with no opportunities to utilize their sophisticated hunting techniques.
Cetaceans live in complex societies with their own cultures and dialects, maintaining close family ties with grandparents, aunts and uncles. Some remain in the same pods for life. Individuals are violently removed from the wild, with no hope of ever being reunited with their families. Captive animals are withheld forever from the wild gene pool.
Whales and dolphins live in a world of sound.

They rely on echolocation as their main form of communication and use sound to find mates, migrate, communicate, stay at or return to a favored feeding area, nurse, care for young, and catch and escape prey.

Animals are forced to listen to filtration systems, pumps, music and people clapping and yelling on a regular basis.

Their concrete and/or glass enclosures also manipulate sounds, so even if two individuals are housed together, their communication is warped.

Cetaceans are surrounded by other sea life and are an integral part of the marine food web.

Whales and dolphins have evolved for millions of years in the oceans, and in most cases, they are the top predators.

Artificial captive environments are sterile and lack stimulation. The animals’ water is chemically treated with chlorine – though they still suffer from bacterial infections that can be deadly.

The highly chlorinated water can also cause irritation and even blindness.


  • Activities like beaching themselves in aquatic shows contrast with dolphins in the wild that  never would beach themselves. Scientists believe that this is extremely harmful because dolphins resting on their bellies over a hard surface, will eventually damage their internal organs.
  • By withholding food, some trainers coerce dolphins into repetitive and unnatural behaviours, performing ‘tricks’ for the public. Hunger forces the dolphins to ignore their most basic natural instincts. They are even trained to beach themselves, despite the danger of doing so.
  • The mortality rates and abnormal behaviours of captive dolphins prove that a lack of stimulation causes them terrible stress. Swimming listlessly in circles is just one common indictor of boredom and psychological distress.
  • Space is also an issue – pools are miserably small for large, far ranging animals that would swim up to 50 miles a day in the wild. The shallow waters expose dolphins’ delicate skin to painful sunburns.
  • Dolphins in the wild spend approximately 80% of their time deep below the surface exploring the depths of the ocean. The need for continuous movement of Wild dolphins is one of the reasons that critics of captivity are using as arguments to request the release of dolphins in captivity.
  • Many dolphins do not survive the trauma of capture. Of those that do, 53% die within three months of confinement. Captive dolphins also suffer and die from intestinal disease, stress-related illness and chlorine poisoning.
  • ‘Swim with dolphins’ programmes cannot guarantee the safety of people interacting with dolphins, even those bred in captivity. These powerful animals are often stressed from being in a confined space. Unsurprisingly, accounts of deliberate and inadvertent human injuries caused by captive dolphins include broken limbs.
  • Dolphins in captivity are not trained, they are conditioned to perform “tricks” from being starved and only fed twice daily and generally only when performing “tricks”


A very informative video about Dolphin & Whale captivity.

After watching this video – Take the Pledge Not to Buy a Ticket to a Dolphin Showclick here

Help the Marineland Whistleblowers

Marineland whistleblowers need your help!

To date, 15 ex-employees have bravely spoken out about Marineland’s poor treatment of animals; and now the corporation has taken legal action against two. On Oct 17th, Christine Santos was fired after not signing a document that included a statement she’d never seen animal abuse at the park. Shortly thereafter, Marineland served a $1.25 million defamation lawsuit against the former trainer for telling the Toronto Star a killer whale was sporadically bleeding from its tail. Kiska, Marineland’s lone killer whale is now without her most trusted trainer. On Feb 13th Marineland launched a separate suit against Phil Demers citing $1.5 million in damages, with more suits expected.

If you are able to please consider making a donation by clicking here  Any and all proceeds will be provided solely for the expenses incurred in defending any whistleblowers and any unused proceeds will be dedicate tot he continued avocation for Ontario’s captive animals.

Tweet Storm for Marineland Whistleblowers March 20, 2013 click here  for the Facebook page and more information

Spread the word: Tweet storm for #marineland #Whistleblowers on March 20 #SaveMarinelandAnimals

Support Marineland Whistleblowers by signing this petition: Save Marineland Animals

Watch this informative video – Behind the scenes at Marineland – Phil Demers former Marineland Trainer

For all the animals of Marineland!

Opertation Infinite Patience 2012-2013


To read the most recent and past Cove Guardian reports please click here

Facebook – Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians

Twitter – @CoveGuardians

Email – coveguardian@seashepherd.org if you are interested in becoming a Cove Guardian for next season

cove guardian logo2


For the dolphins!

Thought for the Day – Captivity

Dolphin Smile

“What’s wrong with captivity?  The capture, bring them into a concrete chlorinated box, reducing them to circus clowns and then selling this as educational to the public.  And I think it’s extremely dangerous. This issue for me is not just about the dolphins. There’s about a thousand in captivity and it’s more about the millions of people who go and see the show, go and see Shamu. They’re learning, it is educational, they’re learning, however, that  it’s okay to abuse nature. That’s what they come away with that these – it only serves – the Shamu experience or the captivity experience only serves to perpetuate our insidious, utilitarian perception of nature and it’s an issue about education. To teach a child not to step on a caterpillar or a butterfly is as important to the child as it is the butterfly. And that’s what’s wrong with it. – Ric O’Barry


Please click here for more information on Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

Shallow Water Deep Secret


The documentary, The Cove, is in part responsible for what some people call “the 180” I recently took in life. Finally getting up the nerve and deciding to watch The Cove was a life changing experience for me. Prior to the release of this documentary I was completely unaware of the annual dolphin drive hunt that takes place each year in Taiji Japan.

I’ve heard many people say that they simply do not want to watch The Cove, because it’s sad and they do not want to see the slaughter of dolphins. To those people who are afraid and unwilling to watch this documentary, I say just take an hour and half out of your life, watch it and become educated! People watch violence in movies all the time, but when it comes to real life, there are many people who do not want to believe it actually happens. Don’t turn a blind eye to what really happens, take the time, and watch The Cove! I guarantee it will change your perspective on dolphin captivity.

This is a brilliant documentary and the lengths the individuals involved in the film were willing to go to expose the dolphin slaughter is amazing! For instance, going out in the middle of the night and hiding high definition cameras in rocks to record video from vantage points that would have never have been seen before. Sending free divers into the waters of the Cove to place under water cameras and sound recorders. The Cove is a combination of Mission Impossible and Ocean’s Eleven. A team made up of people with special skills, filming what was believed to be the impossible! Mission accomplished and ingeniously done!

For myself, The Cove was a catalyst for change in my life. I have since become more involved, by following the various campaigns currently on the ground in Taiji, who bear witness to the annual slaughter.  I have chosen to take a stance against the dolphin slaughter, by informing others of what is still happening in Taiji and will one day stand at the infamous Cove in Taiji to be a voice for the dolphins. And I will certainly never visit another aquarium, Sea World, Marine Park or swim with dolphin program again, if I had known what I know now I would have never visited any of these places in the first place.

Highlights of The Cove:

  • Taiji appears as the Twilight Zone (in the words of Ric O’Barry) – the town appears to love dolphins and whales – there are dolphin and whale statues throughout the town, everywhere you look in Taiji there is an image of a dolphin or whale – when in reality they are responsible for the mass of slaughter of dolphins and whales each and every year
  • The Dolphin Smile – is natures greatest deception – while that dolphin performing tricks for your entertainment has a smile – take a look at its eye and you will see the true sadness that hides behind the smile
  • Only in Taiji can you go to a Dolphin Show and eat dolphin meat at the same time – that’s right they serve dolphin meat at the show. So while you are sitting there watching dolphins perform tricks your entertainment, you may also be eating that dolphins family member.
  • Taiji is the largest supplier of dolphins to marine parks and swim with dolphins programs around the world – each dolphin can sell for up to $150,000
  • The majority of Japanese people are unaware of the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji – when one Japanese lady was interviewed in the film her response was “You’re lying? Are they eaten? Really, it is hard to imagine people eat dolphins.”
  • Dolphin meat is distributed as whale meat and is not properly labelled – people think they are getting whale meat from the southern hemisphere when its really from the waters of Taiji
  • The last 10 minutes of the film are when you see the real horror of Taiji – you literally see the water turn from blue to red, you can hear the dolphins cry as they are inhumanely slaughtered and see the true brutality of the dolphin killers. Each of these dolphins fight with everything they have and you watch as these innocent beings struggle to take their last breath and die
  • One of the most powerful parts of The Cove is in the last five minutes, when Ric O’Barry walks into the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting with a TV attached to his chest, showing every person in the room the reality of the dolphin slaughter each and every year in Taiji

The Taiji dolphin slaughter resumes every year in September … unless we stop it!

“Any single person can make a difference if he allows his passion to be expressed through action” Margaret Mead

Here is an extended clip of The Cove.

The Cove is a 2009 documentary film that analyzes and questions Japan’s dolphin hunting culture. It was awarded the (82nd) Academy Award  for Best Documentary Feature in 2010. The film is a call to action to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices, and to inform and educate the public about the risks, and increasing hazard, of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat. The film is told from an ocean conservationist’s point of view. The film highlights the fact that the number of dolphins killed in the Taiji dolphin drive hunting is several times greater than the number of whales killed in the Antarctic, and claims that 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed in Japan every year by the country’s whaling industry. The migrating dolphins are herded into a cove where they are netted and killed by means of spears and knives over the side of small fishing boats. The film argues that dolphin hunting as practiced in Japan is unnecessary and cruel. The documentary won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. It was selected out of the 879 submissions in the category.

For the dolphins!