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Posts from the ‘Dolphins & Whales’ Category

SeaWorld Becomes a Laughing Stock

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You know your company is in trouble when everyone starts laughing at you. That's what's happening to SeaWorld now that the activists have been joined by the hacktivists. And for SeaWorld it's no joke.

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The Two Arguments of the Taiji Hunters

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Where the dolphins are shipped after they're captured at Taiji

The latest dolphin drive hunt at Taiji is now "over".

Over, that is, for the dolphins who are dead – 41 according to Sea Shepherd. And over for the people who massacred them and are busy pocketing their profits. But certainly not over for the 52 dolphins who were taken captive and are now being shipped around the world to marine circuses and hotels where tourists will pay hundreds of dollars to "swim with dolphins" and thousands of dollars for quack "dolphin therapy" sessions.

And anything but over for the 140 or so dolphins who were driven back out to the ocean. Most of them will die from their injuries or from being orphaned or separated from their pod and with no idea where to go, what to do, or how to live on their own.

Last week, as U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy joined the chorus of criticism, the Taiji hunters and the Japanese government responded with two main arguments. One of them is contemptible nonsense; the other is something we need to think about.

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Blackfish, CNN and SeaWorld’s Silence

Blackfish-1-102313If you haven't seen Blackfish yet, be sure to watch it on CNN tomorrow evening. The movie by Gabriella Cowperthwaite uncovers much of what SeaWorld has tried to cover up about the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau – and about the many other trainers who have been killed or injured at SeaWorld and other marine circuses.

Kudos to CNN for its part in producing Blackfish and for airing this remarkable movie. But I do have one issue with them . . .

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Rescuing Foggy the Humpback Whale

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Foggy and Grommet are well known to whale-watching boats off the coast of Nova Scotia. The two humpback whales are rarely seen apart from each other.

Last week, when Christine Callaghan was leading an outing from Pirate's Cove Whale Watch, she saw Foggy caught in a mass of fishing equipment. She was completely immobilized. Callaghan writes:

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Navy Dolphins Scout for Mines in Croatia

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Last week, six dolphins took off from their HQ at the U.S. Navy's Marine Mammal Program in San Diego on a flight to Zagreb, Croatia. Their mission (whether or not they chose to accept it): Find unexploded bombs and shells off the coast of Dubrovnik.

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Shamu’s Exercise Machine

SeaWorld is planning to install exercise machines for the orcas it holds captive at its marine circuses.

Orcas like Tilikum, SeaWorld’s biggest killer whale, who has killed three people and now spends most of his time languishing motionless in a small tank, could get some longer-distance swimming time.

Should we give SeaWorld a thumbs-up for this?

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Want to Sell a Book about Dolphins? Call Them Dumb!

dolphins-090913(Sept. 12, 2013: Note: Justin Gregg has responded to this post, saying that he was seriously misquoted in the London Sunday Times article we reference below. So I've added his response at the end of the post.)

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Major Victory for Belugas

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It's being hailed as a very significant victory for the anti-captivity movement. Today, the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) denied the Georgia Aquarium's application to import 18 beluga whales, captured from the ocean, and share them around the country with other marine zoos and circuses.

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Top Predator in Action

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SeaWorld likes to talk of them as being part of "our family" – as though the top predator of the ocean can somehow be adopted and treated like a baby by a bunch of businessmen who wouldn't last five minutes if they were dropped into the ocean.

But the photo here shows the immense power of a killer whale. It's one of a series on the Daily Mail, where you see this 8-ton orca leaping 15 feet out of the ocean in pursuit of a bottlenose dolphin in a chase that apparently went on for two hours.

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The Dolphin Who Escaped

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She spent the first 10 years of her life in the ocean off the coast of South Korea with her family. Then, captured accidentally in a fishing net, from which she should simply and promptly have been freed, she was instead sold to the Pacific Land Aquarium, where she spent three years in a tiny underground pool, forced to do tricks to entertain customers in exchange for food.

Finally, the Mayor of Seoul stepped in and ordered Sampal the dolphin and her two pool companions at the aquarium to be released.

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‘Hey you, Double-Squeak Clickety-Click!’

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A new study explores how dolphins use their individual signature whistles (equivalent to their “names”) to stay in touch with each other. Not only do they call back and forth with each other’s “name”; but when one dolphin calls out the signature whistle of another, the other one will swim over to see what’s up – like two friends shouting out to each other in a crowd.

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SeaWorld Hits Back at Movie ‘Blackfish’

blackfishmovie-071613SeaWorld is clearly worried about the movie Blackfish, which opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, and across the country over the next month. The hugely profitable company has just written to movie critics all over the country in an attempt to stem the tide of rave reviews and the accompanying scathing indictments of the marine circus business.

The film offers a devastating view of SeaWorld – and by extension all the other marine circuses – in what is a riveting investigation of the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at the hand, or rather mouth, of Tilikum, the depressed, angry, probably-psychotic killer whale, who finally turned on her, dragged her under the water, and literally tore her apart.

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More Dolphins Go Tail Walking

dolphin-tailwalk-070713Call it a fad or a fashion, the latest craze, a new wrinkle, or just what the kids are doing these days.

In the world of dolphins who live in and around the Port River in Adelaide, Australia, the latest craze is tail walking.

It all started when an injured dolphin called Billie was taken to a theme park for veterinary treatment, and spent some time watching other dolphins learning a particular trick from their trainers.

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SeaWorld Hit with Another Violation

seaworld-orlando-061213SeaWorld Orlando has been ordered by the federal government to pay a fine of $38,500 for a "repeat violation" of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) order regarding safety of the staff who are in close contact with the nonhuman animals.

According to OSHA, SeaWorld has been ignoring a federal court order and continues to operate a workplace that can "cause death or serious physical harm to employees."

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Dolphins as Midwives – the Latest Scam

Adam-Barringer-Heather-dolphin-assisted-birth-sm-052913What to say about the hapless, happy couple who flew from South Carolina to Hawaii in hopes of having a "dolphin-assisted birth"? It takes the scam known as dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) to a whole new level.

Heather Barringer, who’s due to give birth in July, and her husband, Adam, say they’ve been led to this after experiencing "signs" all through her pregnancy.

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Orca Family Cares for Disabled Calf

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This young orca is missing her dorsal fin and her right-side pectoral fin. That means she can't navigate well, and can't catch food on her own.

You might imagine that the other killer whales in her family pod would have had to abandon her and do what's best for the pod overall. But it seems that what's good for the pod overall involves looking after the youngster, even if this slows them all down a bit.

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India Bans Dolphinariums

dolphinariums-india-052013Good news, for a change! The Government of India has issued a nationwide ban on keeping dolphins in captivity.

The ban had been under consideration for several months, during which time a coalition of animal protection organizations in India worked with experts around the world to provide the evidence as to why dolphins should not be kept in captivity.

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Orcas Race Boat

This may be the first ever video of orcas racing a boat for so long – an hour in this case.

The boat was carrying scuba divers and the dive master called everyone back when he spotted the orcas approaching. Laura and Rich Howard captured the video.

(Best turn down the audio. The music is dreadful and quite unnecessary. Another version is here, but the video is not as good and there's lots of shouting.)

Are There ‘Better’ Ways to Kill Dolphins?

A new study by four scientists is arguing for more "humane" ways of killing the dolphins at the annual Taiji massacre in Japan. (That's the massacre that was portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie The Cove.) What they are saying could set back the entire movement to bring an end to this horror. Here's why.

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Dolphin Funeral Procession

Tourists on a whale-watching expedition off the coast of California were hoping for something like a dolphin stampede. Instead, they found themselves witnessing a funeral.

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