Dolphin Base #tweet4taiji

As a Cove Guardian, it was not only my responsibility to report on and document the daily drive hunt and slaughter, but to also monitor the daily activity at Dolphin Base. For me, Dolphin Base is one of the saddest places to see, like the Taiji Harbor pens that hold captive dolphins, it is basically a floating sea prison.

The next three photos give you an idea of what Dolphin Base looks like from left to right. When I say floating sea prison I really mean it. There are a total of 9 pens floating behind the Dolphin Resort Hotel in Taiji that hold captive dolphins and whales, which also happens to be down the road from the Whale Museum which also holds many captive dolphins and whales.

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Far left pens, the one in front held captive bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales. The pen in the back with the black tarp once held beluga whales obtained in a trade with Russia for bottlenose dolphins.

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The middle sea pen, is the largest of all the pens at Dolphin, and is also an entertainment pen. During my time in Taiji there was 5 bottlenose dolphins in this pen.

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On the right there are 6 captive pens, which held bottlenose dolphins and pacific white sided dolphins.

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An idea of what the dolphins go through when the ocean is rough and windy.

I had previously seen photos of dolphin base prior to my visit to Taiji, but once again nothing really prepares you for the experience of seeing this with your own eyes. The first time I walked up to Dolphin Base, my heart broke seeing the conditions these dolphins are forced to live in day and day out. You realize just how small these captive pens are, how many dolphins are crammed into them and you continue see the dolphins listlessly float at the surface or continuously swim in the same direction and breach in the exact same spot over and over again. To me this cries out boredom, depression and frustration. Not being able to leave, not being able to fend for yourself and being completely dependent upon the trainers who were also responsible for the rest of your family members being slaughtered. These dolphins to some people may be considered the “lucky” ones, since they were chosen by the killers and trainers for the captive entertainment industry and avoided slaughter. But honestly what is better death or life of imprisonment? I leave with this question and some photos which I took of the course of my time as a Cove Guardian at Dolphin Base of the poor innocent souls destined to live out their lives performing tricks for dead fish.

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False Killer whale – notice how you can the ribs of this whale from malnourishment

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Bottlenose dolphins – on the dolphin breaching you can again see the rib cage of this dolphin

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Bottlenose dolphin being ignored while trainers prepare dead fish that this dolphin will have to perform tricks correctly for in order to eat.

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Pacific white sided dolphin performing being conditioned or trained for your entertainment, but for them simply to just get some dead fish

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Spy Hoping to see what is going on in the other captive pens. The bottlenose dolphins behind this pacific white sided dolphin were being fed/trained at this point.

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Bottlenose dolphin sent by a trainer to the opposite side of this pen to hold this position until told otherwise by a trainer. Heartbreaking.

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Pacific White Sided Dolphin continuously breached in this corner of the pen, along with the 3-4 others in this sea prison

After reading this post and seeing these photos I hope that all of you will think twice before visiting Sea World, Marineland Canada or any other similar Dolphinarium or swim with dolphin program. Chances are that if you do go, these may be the dolphins you will see or ones that were also taken from their life of freedom in the ocean after having witnessed their family slaughtered. These dolphins are then broken in, conditioned or trained to perform tricks for food. Please do not support captivity! Dolphins are dying in Taiji to entertain you and many brave people are fighting to put an end to these atrocities. If you support the captive dolphin industry they you are also supporting the dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Instead please be a voice for the voiceless!

For the dolphins and whales of Taiji held captive and those that were slaughtered needlessly.

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Checking in on the dolphins at Dolphin Base

Dolphins Out Perform Surfer

Surfer Trent Sherbourne set out to surf some Australian waves, only to be out performed by some dolphins!

What an incredible experience and surprise it would be to find yourself not only sharing the surf with a pod of dolphins, but to also have them jump out of the water right in front of you.

This moment was captured back on land by a self taught photographer, Matt Hutton, who was lining up his last shot of the day, while experimenting with a new lens.

As a dolphin lover and photographer … this would an incredible experience and such a rare moment to capture! This photographer was definitely at the right place at the right time! His photos turned out to be amazing … Enjoy!

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For the Dolphins!

Sea World Under Scrutiny Again #endcaptivity

With the recent release of the highly anticipated documentary, Blackfish, which provides a critical look at the family orientated Sea World’s treatment of whales,  two other videos released on youtube provide further insight into Sea World’s treatment of the dolphins and whales.

Distressed Pilot Whale at Sea World: Sea World find itself under fire after trainers failed to help a distress pilot whale stuck on a slideout ledge for approximately 25 minutes. The video was caught on camera by an audience member, who has stated that his views of Sea World have been changed forever.

Peta released this statement after the release of the video: “Audiences should be horrified by every video taken inside SeaWorld,” PETA wrote in an emailed statement Monday. Whether they show a pilot whale stranded on a concrete ledge in front of a shocked crowd, an orca killing his trainer, or intelligent, sensitive whales forced to swim day in and day out in tiny circles for a reward of dead fish, these videos are a potent reminder that SeaWorld keeps marine mammals trapped in concrete tanks that bear no resemblance to their habitat in the wild, with no room in which to swim, no family groups, and no stimulation.”

Take a look at the video below and draw your own conclusions on the treatment of whales and dolphins at Sea World.

Dolphin Escapes Tank at Sea World: During a public feeding of the dolphins at Sea World, one dolphin jumped out of the tank and landed on the concrete. “I do not have children, but this is not something I would want them to see on a family vacation.” – David Kirby (deathatseaworld.com) Not only is a situation like this extrememly dangerous for the dolphin itself, as you can see in the video from the blood on the concrete, it is also an extremely dangerous situation for spectators. If a child or adult was nearby and had been injured when the dolphin jumped out of the tank, then I can assure you there would be a media storm covering this story.

If you are contmeplating or even planning a trip to Sea World in the near or distant to future, then consider this: Sea World is not a place for education on dolphins and whales. The daily shows at dolphin & whale stadium and Shamu stadium are simply that a show, designed to entertain and have absoltely no educational benefit. The dolphins and whales of Sea World and conditioned to perform tricks for your entertainment receiving dead fish as their reward and in no resemble the natural habits of a dolphin or whale in the wild.

“There is as much educational benefit in studying dolphins in captivity as there would be in studying human beings by only observing prisoners in solitary confinement.”. Jacques Cousteau

 

Help @THEMikeGarrett Fight Marineland Canada

Marineland Canada is an infamous captive marine mammal park located in Niagara Falls Ontario Canada, which has one of the worst records in the world for deaths of orcas, dolphins and beluga whales. Details of animal abuse and neglect were brought forward by 15 employees in 2012 in a widely published expose in the Toronto Star newspaper. Marineland has a 50 year history of systematic abuse of animals, people, the environment and the legal and political systems. (Source)

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Recently activist, Mike Garrett @THEMikeGarrett has been served with a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit by Marineland. This lawsuit follows several weeks of Mike standing on public property and offering leaflets to people exiting Marineland Canada. At the very beginning of this peaceful action of public protest the owner of Marineland, John Holer, was captured on video threatening Mike with violence in an attempt to intimidate him from exercising the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In their claim against Mike, Marineland has made numerous false and unproven accusations about his activities near the park. Along with monetary damages they seek to limit his abilities to engage in peaceful and legal opposition against Marineland.

Unfortunately, Marineland is a giant corporation that has limitless resources and is picking on an average citizen who chose to stand up and fight against the ongoing atrocities of Marineland. Mike needs help to retain proper and competent legal representation to fight Marineland on behalf of all of us. If we choose to allow Marineland to successfully sue Mike, then unfortunately this means they can and most likely will do this to anyone else who choses to stand up for their beliefs and fight to shut down Marineland.

For anyone who believes that this is just cause, believes that we all have the right to stand up for our beliefs and wants to be a voice for the countless animals and marine mammals at Marineland Canada, then please consider helping Mike by donating whatever you can.

While I do not know Mike personally, I know what he wants to stand up and fight for and I support him 100% in his fight against Marineland!

For more information and how you can help Mike visit: http://www.gofundme.com/3o192g

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For all the animals and marine mammals captive at Marineland Canada.

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The Real Sea World 2

Approximately 20 dolphins were spotted hunting on the Moray Firth in Scotland.

Amateur photographer Alister Kemp, 47, was  watching from the shore and managed to captured a series of amazing and stunning  shots. Alister, from Evanton in Ross-Shire, said: ‘I  took these pictures when the salmon were returning to the river to spawn during  low tide.

The pod of 20 dolphins had been  laying in  wait for the annual ‘salmon run’, where they can be guaranteed a tasty snack as  hundreds of fish swim from the sea back to freshwater  to spawn. Once the dolphins have got a fish they will  throw it out of the water and then you will see them leap out after  it.

“I have taken hundreds of pictures of the  dolphins over the years but I think these could be my best so far. Sometimes I have waited two to three hours  to see them but I have also been there at just the right time to spot them, when  the tide has just started to come in.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342865/Heres-I-learned-Tom-Daley-Bottlenose-dolphins-acrobatic-display-leaps-water-diving-grab-salmon.html#ixzz2XnkZxSqn

Why spend hundreds of dollars to go to Sea World when you can watch an amazing display such as this in the wild. This is the REAL SEA WORLD!

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For the dolphins!

 

 

Thoughts for the Day

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Only 69 days until Sept 1, 2013 and the start of the annual Dolphin hunt and slaughter in Taiji.

Please check out www.japandolphinsday.net to join an event near you or host your own event.

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Marineland’s Last Remaining Orca #OPSID

Killer whales are highly social; some pods are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. Killer Whales are notable for these complex societies. Only elephants and higher primates, such as humans, live in comparably complex social structures. It is because of these complex social bonds and society that one should wonder why we attempt keep Killer Whales in captivity.

Captivity is about separation and exclusion. It is about the destruction of families and communities. For wild caught animals, many watch their parents and family killed in front of them at a young age so that they won’t be able to put up a fight to defend them from capture. For the animals bred in captivity at Marineland, those parents routinely watch as their offspring suffer and die in infancy.

There are no heart warming stories at Marineland, Niagara Falls, Canada. There are endless sad stories, but none may be more pressing and sad than that of Kiska. Marineland’s last remaining Orca, Kiska was wild caught from Iceland in the 1980’s. At Marineland, Kiska is the longest serving resident and she has seen dozens of Orcas come and go – and estimated 14 other Orcas die. Of those 14, 5 of them have been her own children. The oldest surviving just 6 years. (Source)

Since the removal of Ikaika back to SeaWorld she has spent her days alone. Ex-trainers have spoken publicly about their concern for her and Marineland itself have gone on public legal record establishing their concern for the health of their lone Orca held in solitary. (Source)

Kiska’s story is the story of captivity. She has survived, but at what cost? Her life has been painfully sad, she is alone and completely dependent upon humans – humans who are only interested in her as an “asset.”

There is no human need to hold other animals in captivity. There is no human need to gawk at or to turn other animals into mere commodities and spectacles. Marineland Animal Defense fights to remove Kiska and all of the other animals at Marineland and to ensure there are no more captives!

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Kiska alone in her tank.

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Dolphin Birthday Cake

This amazing birthday cake was made for me by a coworker/friend! She did such an incredible job that I had to share it.

The Dolphins on the cake were edible but I couldn’t bring myself to eat them so I decided to save them instead!

If you have a dolphin loving friend this is the perfect idea for a birthday cake! I absolutely loved it!!

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Cruelty of Dolphin Captivity – Sensory Deprivation

Is captivity more stressful for dolphins than other animals?

Yes, dolphins are sonic creatures—their primary sense is sound.

If you go to the zoo, take a look at the reptile exhibit and find a snake. You’ll see that the snake is given more consideration than the dolphins at Marineland. You’ll see that the snake has got tree limbs to climb on, he’s got rocks to hide from the public if he wants to, grass—there’s always something natural about the snake’s habitat.

But if you look at the habitat of a captive dolphin, you’ll notice there’s nothing there. It’s just a blank, concrete box. Is that stress? Of course it is.

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Why can’t marine parks create better environments for dolphins?

It’s really not what’s best for the dolphin; it’s about getting people to come and watch a show, and then getting another group of people to watch the same show.

The dolphins are separated from the natural rhythms of the sea: the tide, the current, the sounds of the sea, the things we take for granted. All of that is missing. That is what we call sensory deprivation. That makes it more stressful for them than other animals in captivity.

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Don’t forget that ….

Dolphin Smile

For the dolphins!

Myths – Dolphin Captivity

Myth – Dolphins are happy in captivity.

Truth – Dolphins look as though they are smiling because that is the way their faces are shaped. Captive dolphins are constantly on display with nowhere to hide and are forced to perform shows every single day. Dolphins are denied their freedom to travel, and in many cases are taken from their families and homes in the ocean. Would you be happy if you were a captive dolphin?

Myth – Captive dolphins are safe from predators and don’t have to look for food like would in the wild.

Truth – Inmates in prison are safe from being burgled and are fed each day. But do you think they are happy? The main difference between a jail cell and a aquarium tank is that on is filled with water.

Myth – Captive dolphin display have educational value.

Truth – The only thing captivity teaches is that it is okay to imprison animals and force them to perform for our entertainment. In captivity, a dolphin’s natural behavior are repressed. In the wild dolphins do not jump through hoops or drag people through the water with their fins. Captivity presents a completely false image of everything a dolphin is!

Myth – Children establish a connection with dolphins in captivity that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.

Truth – many children care about dinosaurs yet they have never see one. Through photos, videos, stories, tours to see wild dolphins and animations, children can develop love for dolphins without their having to suffer in captivity. Do you think your child would dolphins to suffer if they knew the truth?

Myth – Rescued dolphins have a good home in captivity.

Truth – Dolphins found injured or stranded need medical care and rehabilitation. However, they should not afterwards be forced into a life of servitude and display; they should be released back into the wild. If this is not possible they should be sent to a sea pen where they can live out their lives in privacy and a mostly natural environment.

“Dolphin shows are nothing but a display of human dominance over animals. They are as educational about dolphins as Mickey Mouse is about mice.’ Ric O’Barry

Dolphin exploitation continues to this day because the public remains unaware of dolphin suffering. Now that you are aware, please do not fund the suffering dolphins and other small whales by purchasing a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with dolphin program.

For more information please visit Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

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For the dolphins!

Scientists See Cruelty in Killing Method Used in Japan’s Dolphin Hunt & Slaughter

In a new peer-reviewed study, scientists assess the killing method employed by the dolphin hunters of Taiji, Japan, by watching video recorded surreptitiously in 2011 by a German dolphin-protection group, AtlanticBlue.

Here’s the researchers’ not-so-surprising prime conclusion: This killing method does not conform to the recognized requirement for “immediate insensibility” and would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world.

Here’s the abstract of the paper: “A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the ‘Drive Hunt’ in Taiji, Japan” Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2013 (DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2013.768925) Andrew Butterworth, Philippa Brakes, Courtney S. Vail & Diana Reiss

Annually in Japanese waters, small cetaceans are killed in “drive hunts” with quotas set by the government of Japan. The Taiji Fishing Cooperative in Japan has published the details of a new killing method that involves cutting (transecting) the spinal cord and purports to reduce time to death. The method involves the repeated insertion of a metal rod followed by the plugging of the wound to prevent blood loss into the water. To date, a paucity of data exists regarding these methods utilized in the drive hunts. Our veterinary and behavioral analysis of video documentation of this method indicates that it does not immediately lead to death and that the time to death data provided in the description of the method, based on termination of breathing and movement, is not supported by the available video data. The method employed causes damage to the vertebral blood vessels and the vascular rete from insertion of the rod that will lead to significant hemorrhage, but this alone would not produce a rapid death in a large mammal of this type. The method induces paraplegia (paralysis of the body) and death through trauma and gradual blood loss. This killing method does not conform to the recognized requirement for “immediate insensibility” and would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world.

Here are questions from Andrew C. Revkin (NY Times) and Diana Reiss’s responses: (source)

Q. Can you tell me in a few words what this analysis means to you in the larger context of human/animal relations?
A. Dolphins are a cognitively and socially complex species that exist in their own societies in the seas. To see any animal treated in this way is shocking. Given what we know scientifically about the awareness, sensitively, cognitive and social prowess of dolphins, this treatment is unjustifiable and unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately. In the larger context of human and non-human animal relations, the methods used to herd dolphins and then kill them is off-the chart in terms of any concern for animal welfare. At a time when most countries are concerned for the conservation and welfare of dolphins and whales it is strange and disturbing to see a modern country like Japan continue to ignore scientific knowledge and concern for these species. In most modern countries these mammals are protected but sadly we see these exceptions. Our scientific knowledge needs to transcend cultural and geographic boundaries and these species need global protection. 
Q. One of the standard replies from Japan on this issue (whether with whales or dolphins) is that we, for example, cherish bison but eat bison burgers. Is there a distinction?
A. You cannot compare bison to dolphins in the cognitive domain. However, bison are not killed in this inhumane manner.  Nor are lab rats. In cases in which animals are domesticated for food, most modern countries are striving for better animal welfare practices that minimize pain and suffering during the killing process with the goal to render an animal unconscious quickly before it is killed. This is not the case in the dolphin drive hunts. These are not domesticated animals; they are wild dolphins that are captured within their social groups, mother and young, and slaughtered using a technique that actually prolongs death, pain and suffering.  The herding procedures themselves are inhumane and may include forced submersion as the dolphins are dragged by their tails to shore to be killed. This is not to say that dolphins should be killed. They should not.

In an interview last month with the journalist David Kirby, Mark Palmer, the associate director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, estimated that the dolphin hunters of Taiji killed nearly 900 dolphins and pilot whales this season and kept nearly 250 to sell for alive to the aquarium trade (which is booming in the Middle East and Asia).

This video is not suitable for children and may be disturbing to some adults:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzOw5IBmqWk&feature=youtu.be

For the dolphins!!