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Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 13, 2014 09:01AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

10 Films That Will Change the Way You See Animals

Documentaries have the power to tell a story and get a different kind of reaction from an audience than words alone. For animal advocates who work on these films, showing us the actual individual lives of animals and how we’re impacting them is a powerful way to reach a broad audience and effect change for those we call our companions and those who are used and killed for food, clothing, entertainment or research.

From exploring farming practices and environmental issues to animals in entertainment, a few documentaries have had a wide reach and touched many of us, while others are just getting started:

Watch the videos:


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 13, 2014 06:03PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

A Big Blow for those against the creation of a Dolphinarium at Coral World in STT!

CZM allows Coral World to begin construction on dolphinarium before Army Corps OKs permit.

ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas Coastal Zone Management Commission voted Thursday to amend a permit issued to Coral World last year to build a dolphin exhibit.

The modification will allow the park to start construction on the land-based part of the project - a two-story multi-purpose building - even though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for the water-based dolphin enclosure has not yet been approved.

When the original permit was granted in 2013, it contained a special condition that said all applicable territorial and federal permits must be approved prior to the start of any construction activities.

In February, heavy equipment was brought in to clear the land where the building will be built.

In March, CZM Division Director Jean-Pierre Oriol said the CZM permit was issued after the governor signed it in November 2013, and Coral World sent notice that work would begin shortly after that.

He said it was only land clearing; however, at Thursday's meeting the story was different.

Coral World General Manager Trudie Prior said excavation had been done on the site.

CZM board member Sarah Simmonds asked why they began work when the permit conditions expressly forbid it.

"There was a certain lack of clarity on our part, and we went ahead and did some excavation," Prior said.

Prior said a different division within the Department of Planning and Natural Resources awarded the earth change permit, and she assumed that because the land-based project had the proper permits, Coral World could move ahead.

"We though we had clarity, that we were getting all the permits required for that part," she said.

Oriol said that Coral World representatives apparently had emailed notification that they were going to proceed with excavation, but it was sent to a non-working email address. Oriol said the email system the department used switched in April 2013.

Coral World did not get a "bounce back" message indicating Oriol did not receive the email, so they assumed notification had been properly made and proceeded with the work.

When Oriol found out they had started excavation, he stopped all work at the site based on the special conditions of the permit.

Work ceased and the area was fenced off and silt fences put in place to prevent erosion into Water Bay, according to Prior. Under the new modification to the permit's conditions, Coral World can move ahead on the land-based construction even if the Army Corps permit is not approved.

When asked about the status of the federal Army Corps permit, Prior said they have provided the agency with all the necessary documents and have just gotten word that the "extreme" backlog is lifting and within the last two weeks the Army Corps has begun to review the Coral World permit application.

"And this means they're getting close?" CZM member Winston Adams asked.

"We hope," Prior said.

A second request, to build a pedestrian passageway under the road and parking lot connecting Coral World's main complex to the new learning center building, was tabled for 30 days.

After the meeting, Prior said the next step is to award a contract for the construction of the building. The project already was put out to bid, she said.

Pretty sneaky dealings, IMO! But hey, they are personal friends of the Gov.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 24, 2014 08:59AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

The Plan to Prevent the Slaughter of Thousands of Whales

Read more: []

Public awareness of the awful atrocities committed against whales and dolphins has increased greatly in recent years, thanks in no small part to the ongoing work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the release of the 2009 documentary The Cove.

People were disgusted and appalled to discover that tens of thousands of dolphins and whales were being mutilated and slaughtered in one tiny fishing village in Japan every single year.

What is less well known, however, is that this is not an isolated incident, and atrocities just like Taiji are happening in other parts of the world as well.

The Taiji of the North

In the Faroe Islands, thousands of long-finned whales, dolphins and other small cetaceans are slaughtered every year. Many have termed the mass slaughter of these beautiful sea creatures as being the ‘Taiji of the North,” and this year Sea Shepherd has launched its biggest Faroe Island campaign to date. More than 500 Sea Shepherd conservationists have been directly involved in a campaign which not only seeks to directly prevent any animals from being murdered at sea, but also raises worldwide awareness of this disgraceful mass killing.

Each year, for hundreds of years, Faroes have taken part in a traditional activity known by locals as ‘the grind.’ Fishermen drive long-finned pilot whales towards the shore until they are close enough to be speared, pulled onto the beach, and have their spinal cords cut with a knife. In a single season more than 1,000 long finned pilot whales can be killed, in a massacre which leaves the waters blood red and the beaches scattered with dead bodies.

Operation Grindstop at Work

Operation Grindstop is combating the grinds with a multi-leveled plan, involving land and sea teams working in cooperation with each other. The 500 Sea Shepherd volunteers are covering 23 different landing bays, keeping watch to ensure that no whaling is taking place throughout the peak season from June to September. The onshore team are poised ready to take direct action to intervene should whales be driven towards the shore, and the offshore team are actively patrolling the coastline trying to deter whales from coming too close to danger.

As with all animal rights campaigns, direct action and intervention is only a part of the solution, and the Sea Shepherd volunteers working on Operation Grindstop are involved in global awareness campaigns, local education schemes and investigative work in an attempt to changes hearts and minds. Each day that goes by without a single killed whale is a victory for the team, and so far the operation has been a huge success in 2014.

Why Does the Killing Occur?

There are many cruel traditions around the world, and as a collective animal rights community, it is our job to raise awareness and put them to an end. This doesn’t mean vilifying those responsible for continuing age old practices, but instead showcasing the events and putting pressure on people not to support these actions.

An inside look into the issue in the Faroe Islands reveals that the situation is complex and contradictory. Many locals say it is an important part of Island tradition and culture, others claim it is essential for food, while others are opposed to it all together saying it is unnecessary in modern times.

Whatever the reason the islanders give for the continuation of this annual event, there can never be a justification for the annual slaughter of thousands of sentient beings. The animals can be thankful that the Sea Shepherd volunteers are watching out for them, and have so far prevented many deaths on the beaches of the Faroe Islands this year.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 25, 2014 11:54AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Stop Coral World: Write Emails!

July 23, 2014 by Laura Bridgeman

Plans for Coral World, a new dolphinarium in the US Virgin Islands, are steaming ahead, despite local and international backlash. The facility has secured all of the permits needed to begin construction save one: from the Army Corp of Engineers, ACE.

ACE is concerned with environmental impacts rather than animal welfare, so an emphasis on negative impacts to coral and water quality in the environment due to the facility is important.

We need YOU to send emails to Ms. Shannon C. White of ACE, including the following:

"Why has the Army Corp of Engineers ignored the numerous requests from the US Virgin Islands community to hold a public hearing on the permit request from Coral World to put a dolphin pen in Water Bay on St. Thomas? A public hearing is required to discuss the environmentally harmful effects of such a project."

Shannon White's email address:

Please send your email today.

See our previous blog on Coral World here:[], and for the current situation see here:[]

Coral World Plans to Enslave Dolphins

January 6, 2013 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

Ric O’Barry
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

People love dolphins. You would be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t. Unfortunately, this love is being manipulated by the captivity industry, transformed into a funnel for profits – billions of dollars worth. Now Coral World Ocean Park, a facility in the Virgin Islands, wants a piece of this unethical pie.

Coral World wants to bring up to ten dolphins to their facility as a part of their existing ‘swim-with’ program, which currently includes sea lions. They claim that these dolphins will have been bred in captivity, having never swum free in the ocean. Lee Keller, curator of Coral World, says that they will “build a natural and normal social group with these dolphins,” attempting to recreate what nature had intended.

I find the words ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ particularly ludicrous in this context. What is a dolphin that has never been free in the ocean? Confused, scared and stressed, most likely. Natural? Absolutely not. Who are dolphins that have been thrown into a confined space together, torn away from their familial bonds? Normal? Out of the question. Statements like these prove that Coral World is ready to say anything in order to get these veritable cash cows into their seapen.

There has been concern that these dolphins will be caught from the wild, as in Taiji, Japan, where many dolphins are slaughtered in the process. Fortunately, since the Virgin Islands are a territory of the United States, they will have a difficult time importing wild individuals due to existing laws. But we will keep a sharp eye out nonetheless. The Dolphin Project has also signed onto opposition initiated by the Humane Society of the United States in regards to the seapen being constructed in a coastal zone, which could damage the local ecosystem.

The greatest threat to dolphins remains our unawareness of who and what these incredible beings truly are. Dolphins are extremely intelligent, and perhaps are even more emotional than we humans. Research shows that dolphin’s brains are arranged to allow for more emotional information processing*. This could mean that their pain at being separated from their family, or being denied freedom of any kind, is in fact greater than what we could experience. What does this say about how we treat them?

It is doubtful that anyone at Coral World has read or considered this science. But the fact is that it exists. And the more people who know about it, the fewer will want to go to places like this. Reducing demand is the most important thing we can do for the dolphins. Please spread the word not to go to a dolphin show.

Sign and share this petition and #Tweet4Dolphins.

* Harry J. Jerison: The Perceptual World of Dolphins. Trykt i Schusterman & Wood (red.): Dolphin Cognition and Behavior: A Comparative Approach. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ 1986.


Quote of the Day:
"Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
--The Lorax, Children's book by Dr. Seuss

"The Humane Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals have stated that they believe that "the entire captive experience for marine mammals is so sterile and contrary to even the most basic elements of compassion and humanity that it should be rejected outright."


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2014 11:56AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 25, 2014 04:29PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,495

Sent under an email account that has my real name on it. That is extremely rare for me to do.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 25, 2014 07:11PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Much appreciated NoOne!!! THANK YOU!
And that heartfelt thanks goes to anyone else that sends the e-mail.

Did you know Coki Point just had a beach advisory recently in which it did not meet water quality standards and was not safe for swimming or fishing?
This was without any rainfall amounts impacting the bay.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 25, 2014 07:47PM

Registered: 8 years ago
Posts: 1,495

Without rainfall? Strange I wonder what is causing it...

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 26, 2014 07:12AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Could This Penalty Spell the End of Killer Whales Swimming With Trainers?
July 25, 2014 By David Kirby

Miami Seaquarium, the last U.S. aquatic park to let employees work in the water with whales, was hit with a fine for putting workers at risk of death.

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued the Miami Seaquarium a citation for allowing killer whale trainers to come into dangerously close contact with its sole orca, Lolita.

OSHA made a similar move against SeaWorld Florida after the 2010 killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound whale Tilikum.

Though Miami Seaquarium could challenge the violation in court, the penalty could herald the end of trainers performing water shows with killer whales in the U.S.

"The employer did not furnish (a workplace) free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm (from) struck-by and drowning hazards," OSHA said in the citation, which was issued July 10.

OSHA gave Miami Seaquarium until Aug. 26 to fix the violation by prohibiting trainers from getting into the water with the orca. The water park also must install physical barriers or require that a minimum distance be maintained between trainers on land and Lolita. The agency proposed a fine of $7,000.

The citation sprang from a complaint filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund last January.

"OSHA has enforced [orca safety protocols] against only one such facility, SeaWorld of Florida, and only then after a trainer there was killed by an orca," ALDF said in a June 11 letter to OSHA's Enforcement Department.

"Enforcement, which came too late for the deceased trainer, is still denied employees of other marine entertainment facilities," ALDF wrote. "Rather than wait for the next fatality, OSHA should intervene now."

Neither OSHA nor Miami Seaquarium has responded to interview requests.

The news heartened captivity opponents because it could deal a significant blow to Miami Seaquarium's business model. When SeaWorld halted all "waterwork" with killer whales in 2010, Miami Seaquarium remained the only U.S. facility where visitors could watch trainers swimming with, riding on, or leaping from the body of an orca.

According to ALDF, Lolita "has given numerous indications that she could similarly physically injure or kill her trainers. A video posted to YouTube on December 20, 2012, shows Lolita lunging out of the tank and snapping her mouth at visitors." Another video showed Lolita nearly heaving a trainer into the wall of her small tank. In the 1970s, Lolita grabbed a trainer and pried off his wetsuit.

ALDF said Lolita might be even more dangerous than Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of three people, because she performs in a far smaller pool, with fewer escape routes for trainers. “She lives in a less stimulating environment than Tilikum, deprived of both space and companionship,” according to ALDF’s complaint.

In 2010, OSHA hit SeaWorld with a "willful" violation in Brancheau's death and mandated safety abatements identical to those being imposed on Miami Seaquarium. SeaWorld has unsuccessfully appealed that decision.

"After SeaWorld lost their appeal, we confirmed that trainers were still treating Lolita like a surfboard—risking their lives in the process—and sent a fresh complaint to OSHA," said Jenni James, a litigation fellow at ALDF. "We didn't want Lolita and her trainer to star in a Blackfish sequel," she said, referring to the 2013 documentary about orca captivity.

Lolita, who was taken from her pod in Puget Sound 40 years ago, has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle to secure her release back into the wild.

"It makes sense that the OSHA standards should be the same across this misguided (and hopefully dying) industry," former SeaWorld trainer Samantha Berg said in an email. "On the other hand, I can't help but hurt for Lolita, confined for almost 44 years in that small, miserable pool. Human contact is about the only thing she's got. All the more reason to push for her release."

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 26, 2014 07:26PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Here is just one letter to Army Corp of Engineers, ACE. that I would like to share with you.

Concerning: Coral World Dolphin Exhibit Enclosure
File: SAJ-1976-89037

Dear Ms White:

I ask you please to facilitate as soon as possible a public hearing with the Army Corps of Engineers to air serious community concerns about the pending permit that would allow Coral World to build a dolphin pen on Water Bay in St Thomas, USVI.

A diagram of the site surrounding the proposed Coral World dolphin holding-tank clearly shows the shoreline fully engaged with other activities which produce run-off and congestion.

It follows that Water Bay's marine life is already so highly stressed that it requires strong water movement to keep it sufficiently flushed to remain healthy. The developers frankly admit that the fencing and wave barriers they propose would diminish that necessary movement of water, but they've not presented adequate information about the currents as they now exist or as they would be once the holding tank is in place.

Introducing a group of Bottle-nosed Dolphins into this area would produce masses of waste material, both feces and decaying fish parts, and Water Bay contains no native scavenger fish-species to devour this waste matter which would accumulate and change the bacteria level of the Bay. It would surely sicken and destroy other marine life and foster abnormal toxic algae growth that would smother and kill coral reefs and sea grass beds.

Clearly Water Bay's reefs would necessarily be impacted by this ill-planned development. Yet the developers claim there would be no damage to existing reefs as they sink the huge pen in place, a promise that seems impossible to keep. We all know it's easier to apologize after the damage is done than it is to ask permission to do it.

Coral world proposes relocating large heads of the endangered bolder coral Montastrea annularis which now lie within the proposed pen-site. They claim the endangered coral species found outside the perimeter of the pen (Acropra palmata and Dendrogyra cylindrus) will not be adversely affected by the development, but they present no references supporting this prediction. We trust they will be required to present such data, and will be required to participate in an Army Corps of Engineers Section 7 consultation.

For many years eutrification has been a problem in the waters surrounding Coral World. And in recent years, it's evident that our local waters are warming and producing unprecedented harmful algal blooms. So we trust that ACE will conduct extensive tests of water quality and water movement before approving the plan to enclose cetaceans in Water Bay.

And most important, we trust you will allow us a public hearing. We are an informed and conscientious community whose continuing fact-based opposition to this project simply can not be ignored.

With respect, Paula Myles

As a reference note from me/Alana33:
Coral World was allowed to bring the 2 Sea Lions into their exhibit because they said it would increase revenues which Trudy Prior has stated publicly has not made money in 14 years. The Import of the Sea Lions did not improve profits and they swim around and around in a small concrete tank, day after day unless trotted out to perform.

Neil Prior is a Millionaire many times over, Trudy is his wife and they do not need to keep these poor pathetic marine mammals in captivity to get even more EDC benefits and tax write-offs. It is sickening that money continues to talk and change hands just so the elite can continue to perpetrate what they want instead of what of is right and scientifically proven about the harmful effects on keeping these magnificent, intelligent, sentient, caring creatures in a dismal, sterile life of captivity for their own means.

Seriously if they were so broke (which they are not) then how can they come up with the Millions of dollars to transform this facility in their so called Dolphinarium with its own breeding pens.


Build a damn water park that all can enjoy if you've got that much money to spend. Then I can support them!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 31, 2014 10:17AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

"Compassion is the chief law of human existence."
--Fyodor Dostoevsky

Don't forget to write those e-mails to: Army Corps of Engineers re: Coral World's Permit application for the Dolphinarium which they have NOT YET APPROVED!

ACE is concerned with environmental impacts rather than animal welfare, so an emphasis on negative impacts to coral and water quality in the environment due to the facility is important.

Shannon White's email address:

Thank you!

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

July 31, 2014 10:48AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Profit From Oil or Protect Whales and Dolphins? Canary Islands, It’s Your Choice
by Jessica Ramos
July 30, 2014 4:00 am

The Canary Islands are central to the ongoing marine wildlife debate. The Spanish archipelago of 17 Spanish independent communities off the northwest coast of Africa is home to two high-profile captivity stories involving killer whales.

Now the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), along with other environmental groups, is calling for the Canary Islands to protect its wild whales, dolphins and rare marine animals after a company acquired a permit to drill for oil in whale and dolphin territory.

Canary Islands‘ Loro Parque

If Loro Parque sounds familiar, then you’ve probably heard of it in two killer whale captivity contexts.

In December 2009, Alexis Martinez, a 29-year-old orca trainer at Loro Parque — a zoo located in the Canary Islands — was killed by a killer whale. You may remember when his girlfriend, Estefania Rodriguez, tearfully recounted his death in the Blackfish documentary.

Alexis Martinez and Dawn Brancheau photographed together. Both victims of killer whale attacks in captivity. Source: ABC.Es

The Canary Islands’ Loro Parque has also been making headlines for the “Free Morgan” campaign. As the Mirror reports, Morgan is a killer whale who was born free, but is now confined in Loro Parque’s “concrete coffin” where she’s forced to perform circus tricks. She’s constantly photographed with scars, cuts, bad teeth (which are possibly so badly infected that they may become lethal) and bruises. While some of the markings are from bullying of other whales, a lot of it is also self-inflicted as she constantly bashes her head and body against her tiny enclosure in heartbreaking frustration.

WWF Says No to Oil Drilling

Captive marine animals in the Canary Islands aren’t the only ones with problems. As The Guardian reports, the company Repsol has plans to launch an oil exploration initiative in the Canary Islands, as early as October 2014. The WWF is urging the Spanish government to ditch the oil drilling and focus its efforts on creating a sanctuary for the region’s whales and dolphins.

Why are the Canary lslands so important? Close to a third of the world’s cetaceans, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, occupy the waters near Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The region is home to some of the world’s richest marine life.

If Repsol insists on moving forward in whale and dolphin territory, then the area’s animals would constantly be vulnerable to oil spills, contamination from the oil and booming noises.

The Spanish government had proposed creating a sanctuary for the cetaceans back in 2011. The government was growing concerned about the increasing whale deaths from noise pollution. As Newsweek reports, noise pollution is more than a mere inconvenience. Oil companies are filling the ocean with loud noises. The deafening drill noises is disturbing the whales’ social networks; they depend on calling to each other for finding food sources and sticking in their pods. The noises are also startling some of the more sensitive species to dive and swim recklessly when spooked.

The WWF and other environmental groups are asking the Spanish government to reexamine their own proposal. Apart from the threat to the region’s marine life, oil drilling can also negatively impact (eco)tourism.

The Guardian reports how Marcos Fraga, a Repsol spokesperson, explains that the company respects opponents, but that “the discovery of hydrocarbons would be good news for the country.” Uh-huh. Too bad that there’s no mention of how the discovery would be good news for the whales and dolphins.

Cetaceans Need Sanctuary

Companies are eager to keep us dependent on black gold for as long as they can. Let’s hope that the Spanish government follows its own advice. A third of all wild whales, dolphins and porpoises need that sanctuary.

It’s also about captivity. Morgan only fell into human hands because she was sick, alone and malnourished. Who knows if drilling noises in the ocean is what got her separated from her pod in the first place. We don’t need another free animal to be condemned to a life of captivity, and we certainly don’t need to lose another human life for entertainment’s sake.


Read more: []

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 01, 2014 02:10PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Here's an great link re: Dolphins and Orcas


Great video:


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2014 02:16PM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 01, 2014 09:13PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

It's a happy day for whales and dolphins!

Thanks to your help, the Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously Thursday night to introduce a bylaw to ban the breeding of captive whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium, the only exception being if a committee decides that the animal in question is in danger of extinction. The board also voted to conduct a study to determine whether whale and dolphin well-being is possible within the confines of captivity. Both moves appear to foreshadow an all-out ban of marine mammal displays at the aquarium, of which the mayor in Vancouver is still in full support. Now it's time to pat yourselves on the back!


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 05, 2014 09:56AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Bahamas Dolphinarium Ordered To Release Dolphins

The Bahamas are taking a huge step towards the protection of marine mammals.

A court in the Caribbean island has ordered that an illegal dolphinarium shut down and is questioning whether any dolphins should be allowed into the Bahamas for any purpose beyond research.

‘Blackbeard’s Cay’ is the name of the attraction that would have featured captive dolphins but was ordered to shut its doors before ever opening them. It would have been the fourth of its kind in the country, which profits mainly from tourism.

For the entertainment, its company owner, Blue Illusions Unlimited, secured eight dolphins from Honduras earlier this year but as the court ruled, they were brought into the country illegally.

The investigation was a result of the local activist group reEarth, which gathered 65,000 signatures in favor of freeing the dolphins and accused the country’s prime minister, the minister of agriculture and several others of breaking the law by giving Blue Illusions Unlimited permits. Justice Stephen Isaacs agreed with the group, noting that the whole project was done in secrecy, purposefully not releasing important information to the public. Finally, the dolphins were imported before the permits had been granted, which violated he Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“I am thrilled,” celebrated Sam Duncombe, president of reEarth. “We’ve been fighting this issue for 24 years and finally we’ve been able to bring one of the developers with dolphins in captivity to court over the circumvention of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”

In addition to having to release the dolphins from captivity, the court also ruled that the area that is now filled with sea pens be restored to its original state and Justice Isaacs questioned whether there is a need at all for dolphins to be imported into the country for entertainment or any kind of tourist attraction.

The company has the right to appeal the decision within the next few weeks but for now, animals in captivity can celebrate a landmark victory.

Read more: []

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 05, 2014 09:56AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Bahamas Dolphinarium Ordered To Release Dolphins

The Bahamas are taking a huge step towards the protection of marine mammals.

A court in the Caribbean island has ordered that an illegal dolphinarium shut down and is questioning whether any dolphins should be allowed into the Bahamas for any purpose beyond research.

‘Blackbeard’s Cay’ is the name of the attraction that would have featured captive dolphins but was ordered to shut its doors before ever opening them. It would have been the fourth of its kind in the country, which profits mainly from tourism.

For the entertainment, its company owner, Blue Illusions Unlimited, secured eight dolphins from Honduras earlier this year but as the court ruled, they were brought into the country illegally.

The investigation was a result of the local activist group reEarth, which gathered 65,000 signatures in favor of freeing the dolphins and accused the country’s prime minister, the minister of agriculture and several others of breaking the law by giving Blue Illusions Unlimited permits. Justice Stephen Isaacs agreed with the group, noting that the whole project was done in secrecy, purposefully not releasing important information to the public. Finally, the dolphins were imported before the permits had been granted, which violated he Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“I am thrilled,” celebrated Sam Duncombe, president of reEarth. “We’ve been fighting this issue for 24 years and finally we’ve been able to bring one of the developers with dolphins in captivity to court over the circumvention of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.”

In addition to having to release the dolphins from captivity, the court also ruled that the area that is now filled with sea pens be restored to its original state and Justice Isaacs questioned whether there is a need at all for dolphins to be imported into the country for entertainment or any kind of tourist attraction.

The company has the right to appeal the decision within the next few weeks but for now, animals in captivity can celebrate a landmark victory.

Read more: []

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
--Sydney Smith

Sorry, don't know why this got posted 2X's.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2014 10:02AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 06, 2014 08:59AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

GREAT NEWS: Vancouver Aquarium Will Stop Breeding Whales and Dolphins

Read more: []

Following months of public debate surrounding the future of the Vancouver Aquarium’s whales and dolphins, the Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to ban breeding them in captivity in most cases.

The move by the board amends a current bylaw “to prohibit the breeding of captive cetaceans in Vancouver parks, unless, in each particular instance, the captive cetacean is a threatened species and the Oversight Committee, the Board, and the Society [Vancouver Aquarium] agree that captive breeding is necessary for the survival of such threatened species.”

The board also directed the aquarium to establish a committee made up of animal welfare experts that will provide public oversight to ensure the well-being of cetaceans at the aquarium and will require it to prepare bi-annual reports on their status. It also called for the park staff and aquarium “to investigate and, where viable, implement alternatives to cetacean exhibits and continue to research cetacean rehabilitation and release.”

It’s not quite the victory those who have been fighting to end captivity for whales and dolphins at the aquarium had hoped for, but it’s still a welcome step in the battle to end the practice of keeping these animals in tanks.

For months animal advocates have been urging the aquarium to stop keeping whales and dolphins in Vancouver with calls that drew support from the public and experts, including Jane Goodall, who sent a letter to the aquarium earlier this spring, writing that confinement and captive breeding programs, including its partnership with SeaWorld, are “no longer defensible by science.” The mayor and a few park board members, most notably Constance Barnes and Sarah Blyth, also stepped up to support phasing out the aquarium’s whale and dolphin programs.

The aquarium is currently home to two female belugas, Aurora and Qila, two female Pacific white-sided dolphins, Hana and Helen, and two rescued harbour porpoises, Jack and Daisy, who are reportedly too young to breed. However, the aquarium also owns seven other belugas, who are on loan at SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium, who may still be used in breeding programs elsewhere.

After hearing public testimony at meetings and receiving thousands of letters from both sides of the debate, the board believes it reached a good compromise.

“I think we struck a balance between supporting the good work of the Aquarium and continuing the discussion of the ethics of keeping cetaceans in captivity,” said Park Board Chair Aaron Jasper.

“Every time we came back to the breeding program, we just felt that’s a program that might serve other purposes, but we were not convinced that it served the purpose of conservation, rescue rehabilitation or research. So that’s where we drew the line in the sand,” he told the CBC.

Aquarium president John Nightingale expressed disappointment with the board’s actions, saying it will be hard to stop animals from breeding and that whatever method the park board considers to mandate an end to it is not natural and will amount to animal cruelty.

Still, it’s much easier to argue that what’s cruel and unnatural is keeping them in captivity in the first place. Hopefully the aquarium’s change in policy will serve as an example for other facilities considering changes.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 09, 2014 05:17PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Captured and Enslaved: The Story Behind Lolita

This is Lolita. She is 20 feet long and weighs 7,000 pounds.
At only 4 years old, she was torn away from her family and ocean home during the largest capture of wild orcas in history.

Eighty orcas were corralled into sea pens, and seven were kidnapped from their ocean home and sold to marine parks as mere commodities.

For only $6,000, Lolita was sold to the Miami Seaquarium to be confined for human “entertainment.”

She is the sole survivor of the horrifying capture and has spent the past 44 years in the tiniest orca tank in the United States—a tank that also violates the Animal Welfare Act’s minimum size requirements.

In addition, the tank has has no shelter for Lolita to find reprieve from the blistering Miami sun. Orcas who are confined to tanks that have crystal-clear water and little to no shade often experience painful sunburns and blistering.

Orcas in captivity are sometimes covered with black zinc oxide to prevent sunburn, but the substance has reportedly also been used to cover up painful blisters on the skin of orcas who have already been sunburned.

With no mental, physical, or emotional stimulation, Lolita spends her days floating listlessly. She currently shares her tiny tank with a few dolphins but has no orca companions. Her former orca tankmate, Hugo, committed suicide after repeatedly smashing his head into the walls of the tank.

Repetitive harmful behavior is common, such as this orca banging his head on a landing platform at SeaWorld.

Held in a small barren tank with virtually no opportunity to engage in any natural behavior, Lolita exhibits abnormal repetitive behavior, such as bobbing her head:

Please see this link for the photos of Lolita:

But Lolita’s time spent enslaved at the Miami Seaquarium is hopefully coming to an end.

Her family, the Southern Resident orca population, has been classified as endangered, and the government has agreed with PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund that Lolita should be included in her family’s Endangered Species Act listing and receive the same protection from harm. This inclusion would open the door for her release from the Miami Seaquarium and her return to her home waters.

With your help, she can be released … spread the word!

Read more: []

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 10, 2014 07:03PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

A Message from PETA

Thank you so much for always being a voice for animals in need. Thanks to activists like you, we have some truly wonderful victories for animals to share with you!

Following three years of intense pressure from PETA, Southwest Airlines has announced that it is ending its 25-year partnership with the notorious marine abusement park SeaWorld. Southwest is the second major corporation to part ways with SeaWorld this year, following Taco Bell's lead.

More exciting wins for animals include:
The Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to introduce a bylaw to ban the breeding of captive whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium.

A suffering white pigeon who was being violently plucked and pecked at by a cagemate at the Waccatee Zoo in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been permanently removed from the enclosure so that she may heal.

The Mediterra Community Association, Inc., in Naples, Fla., has made the compassionate decision to halt a bowhunt that was scheduled to occur on its properties this August and instead look into less cruel methods of controlling local deer populations.

Mexico City is telling circuses that force animals to perform that the show must not go on. The members of the City Council voted unanimously to ban animal circuses, and after hearing from thousands of PETA supporters, Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera signed the bill into law. It will take a year for the ban to go into effect, but when it does, Ringling Bros. and all other circuses that abuse animals will have to cross Mexico City off their tour schedules!

We still have more work to do.

Twenty years ago, Honolulu saw one of the biggest circus tragedies of all time when Tyke, an African elephant, fled from the Neal S. Blaisdell Center prior to a performance and ran in a panic through the streets before being shot 86 times in front of horrified spectators and collapsing dead. Now the Blaisdell Center has announced that it plans to open its doors to animal acts once more. Please join PETA in urging the Blaisdell Center to put animal welfare and public safety first by leaving all wild animal acts out of the show!

Thank you for all that you do. Together, we're making a difference!


The PETA Team

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 14, 2014 07:03AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

How One Family Went From SeaWorld Fans to Foes in a Single Show

When park staff do nothing to help a beached pilot whale, these people take action

When Carlo De Leonibus and his wife took their daughter, Cat, to SeaWorld Orlando for her 11th birthday, they expected yet another exciting afternoon of whale and dolphin watching. SeaWorld was a regular destination for the Tampa-area family, and it had inspired young Cat to become a dolphin trainer when she grew up.

But after what they witnessed at Whale and Dolphin Stadium, Cat’s career plans have changed, and her family will not be returning to SeaWorld.

The show was a sort of low-rent version of Cirque du Soleil starring dolphins, short-finned pilot whales (members of the dolphin family), and tropical birds. In the midst of the entertainment, one of the small whales leapt up onto the “slide-out” area, where it became beached and unable to move back into the pool.

It was an ugly sight: The whale rocked and writhed, vainly trying to push itself back to the water. Many in the audience began shouting and even swearing, demanding that someone on staff do something to assist the poor animal that was clearly in distress


They waited and waited, but to De Leonibus’ astonishment, no one intervened, he tells TakePart in an exclusive interview. “The crowd was extremely furious. People were stomping their feet. Everyone wanted that dolphin to be helped,” De Leonibus recalls. “One man said he was going to go protest outside the park’s gates.”

De Leonibus had seen enough. The struggling pilot whale had been stuck for at least 10 minutes, he estimates, “though my wife and daughter think it was more like 20 minutes.”

The distraught father went to confront a nearby staffer, who “said everything was just fine, the dolphin was just playing,” he recalls. The worker casually told him, “We teach them to do that, to roll back in the water themselves.” But De Leonibus says, “He wasn’t even looking at the animal.”

De Leonibus was stunned by the ho-hum attitude of the staff. “They were laughing and smirking at our concern,” he says. “They acted like this is what dolphins do all the time.”

That’s when he returned to the stands, picked up his camera, and began recording the pathetic scene. His video (above), complete with the cries of a freaked-out audience, is now on YouTube with 18,413 views and counting.

“The dolphin! He’s stuck!” someone can be heard screaming. As the screaming continued and the whale floundered and flailed, the video shows other pilot whales make futile attempts to liberate their marooned tank-mate.

A thunderstorm was barreling in and the show was postponed. The crowd waited for it to pass. Another 10 minutes or so elapsed before two trainers finally walked over and pushed the whale back in the water, De Leonibus says. According to that account, the animal spent about 20 to 30 minutes in a stranded position.

Meanwhile, young Cat was growing more upset by the moment.

“I went up to where it was and began screaming at a trainer to help the dolphin,” she tells TakePart. “He said they leave them there to learn how to get down, but the dolphin was still stuck after 30 minutes and people were screaming louder and harder. I felt so bad for the dolphin, and kept pointing it out, but he wouldn’t listen. He told my dad, ‘We can’t do anything about it.’ ”

The family did not wait out the storm. They walked out, never to return. It left an indelible impact on the birthday girl. “I wanted to train dolphins and work with them. They are my favorite animals. They’re smart and seem really nice,” she says. But after this incident, “I would not go work for SeaWorld.”

Cetaceans hauling themselves onto slide-outs, unbidden by trainers, is nothing new; there are other online videos of stuck animals. Captive whales and dolphins who beach themselves for more than a few moments, especially pregnant females, can develop health problems. I wrote about this in Death at SeaWorld, and you can witness a pregnant dolphin voluntarily beaching herself here (also notice the difference between this behavior and that of the desperate pilot whale De Leonibus filmed).

“Whales getting stuck was a regular but relatively infrequent occurrence when I worked there,” says ex-trainer Jeff Ventre, an important figure in both Death at SeaWorld and the documentary Blackfish. Slide-outs “are a bit slippery, so the animals don’t damage their ventral surfaces, but this also means they can slide too far up and get stuck, Ventre tells TakePart. “The bottom line is that small cetaceans in captivity face unnatural health risks from various causes, including pool design.”

Courtney Vail, of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), concurs. “It’s clear that SeaWorld teaches slide-out behavior, for a variety of reasons: medical care, performances, public interaction, etcetera, so we cannot say this is natural behavior,” she tells TakePart. “Either they are conditioned to do this as a learned behavior, or they’re showing their own free will in choosing to strand, either for attention, boredom, or perhaps even to escape from aggressive poolmates. Either way, it is byproduct of confinement and certainly has potential implications for their health and welfare.”

When asked about the video over email, SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs responded, “Pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem. The younger animals are still inexperienced and sometimes it takes them a bit longer.”

Jacobs wrote that the animal in the video was a young pilot whale that was “saved by our animal rescue team when it beached in South Florida.” He explains, “After it was rescued and rehabilitated, it was deemed unreleasable by the federal government and became a part of our collection.”

A commenter on the YouTube video who seemed to have inside knowledge of SeaWorld wrote, “I never said it was normal behavior, but… It’s just something they seem to like doing and if they didn’t like it they wouldn’t do it so much.” When there’s lightning, the person added, “trainers leave the stage which may be the reason it took so long.”

If the lightning initially kept the trainers from coming to the animal’s rescue, then SeaWorld seems to have a double standard for staff and visitors, because the front of the metal stadium seating is exposed to the elements, including where the De Leonibus family sat.

WDC’s Vail does not want to overstate the situation, but adds: “I’m encouraged that the public is clearly focused on the plight of this one whale. They definitely know and feel something isn’t right. Their distress mirrors the potential distress of this whale, and speaks to our growing disaffection with captivity.”

For Cat and Carlo, “disaffection” is putting it mildly.
“I had no idea about SeaWorld before this incident,” he says. “I thought it was a rescue organization that took care of animals. I honestly thought they sent animals back to the wild.”

After posting his video, De Leonibus was contacted by DigitalJournal environmental writer Elizabeth Batt. “She told me all about captivity, how these creatures in shows are not released,” he says. “I had no idea SeaWorld employees could care so little or show no concern. To work there and show no compassion for an animal that was stranded and panicking is frightening to think about since they rely on SeaWorld employees to take care of them.”

Batt tells TakePart, “SeaWorld is supposedly a family-oriented business. What happened obviously upset Cat tremendously, and they didn’t care. If they preach to kids, then they should answer to kids.”

De Leonibus wishes he could get his hefty entry fees back, “to donate it for a cause to save these animals and help their natural habitat.” Meanwhile, he reaffirms, “my daughter no longer wants to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld and wants to work with animals in their own habitat, like a marine biologist would.”

And, he adds, “If there are any suggestions on careers where my daughter could work with dolphins outside of captivity, I’d love to know, because after what we saw, that’s her future goal.”

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 15, 2014 07:16AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Will SeaWorld’s Financial Woes Force It to Free the Whales?

August 14, 2014 by David Kirby

The company’s stock plunges as it admits animal rights protests are driving away customers.

he business of owning and training captive killer whales in the United States just became a lot less profitable.

SeaWorld rocked the financial world and thrilled animal rights activists on Wednesday when its stock price dropped by 35 percent to a record low after the company announced that attendance at its water parks this year has fallen 4.3 percent.

The company blamed its woes in part on protests against its orca shows and legislation introduced in California that would ban using killer whales for entertainment in that state. “The company believes attendance in the quarter was impacted by demand pressures related to recent media attention surrounding proposed legislation in the state of California,” SeaWorld said in a statement.

The idea that SeaWorld would regard Shamu as a financial liability would have been almost unthinkable a short time ago, despite the fallout from the documentary Blackfish, which scrutinized the company’s treatment of captive killer whales. In the wake of the film, a string of musical acts canceled performances at SeaWorld parks, and Southwest Airlines recently terminated its 25-year marketing partnership with the company.

Critics took heart from the fiscal collapse, which led many observers to wonder just how long the company can hold on to its iconic whales and still make money.

“I’ve been watching the stock price fall all day—it’s been shocking,” said Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute and a prominent captivity opponent. “SeaWorld should take this as a chance to do the right thing and change its business model. Otherwise the market will force it to change—and the company and the animals will suffer for it.”

Jeffrey Ventre, a former SeaWorld orca trainer featured in Blackfish and my book Death at SeaWorld, said he expected the company to rebound from the stock crash. “That said, the trend line for SeaWorld’s U.S. operations does not look good,” he noted.

The question now: What will SeaWorld do with its unpaid performers if its stock price continues to underperform?

Activists hope it will be forced to retire its killer whales to relatively tranquil sea pens, where they could live out their lives to the natural rhythms of the ocean without having to put on shows for tourists in exchange for dead smelt.

If the California bill, which has been tabled for at least a year, were to become law, those activists just might get their wish.

But SeaWorld likely has an alternative plan. The company has made no secret of its intention to build parks in China and the Middle East, where animal-welfare regulations are more lax and public opprobrium toward orca captivity is muted, at best.

“That’s where the corporation plans to take its circus,” Ventre said.

It would be a win-win for SeaWorld. The company could develop new, non-whale revenue in the U.S. and begin rehabilitating its sullied reputation here while also generating millions in profits by shipping its orcas overseas.

It’s too soon to tell what SeaWorld will do. But if its stock continues to tank, shareholders may press the company to free the whales.

“Four and a half years ago, SeaWorld had the opportunity to lead the captivity industry in a change for the better,” said Samantha Berg, another former SeaWorld trainer, referring to the killing of trainer Dawn Brancheau by an orca at the company’s Orlando water park.

“They chose to fight for their old business model instead of moving with the times,” Berg said. “They could have been on the right side of history. Maybe the financial pressure will finally force them to do the right thing. I hope so.”


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 16, 2014 02:38AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

The Dolphin-Killing Season Is About to Begin in Japan; Here’s What You Can Do About It

August 15, 2014 By David Kirby

Five years after ‘The Cove,’ activists are redoubling efforts to stop the slaughter.

As the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, approaches, activist Ric O’Barry is getting ready for a four-hour interrogation by Japanese police and immigration officials when he arrives in the country.

The grilling has become part a gruesome Kabuki that plays out every year as fishermen in Taiji herd hundreds of dolphins into a cove and slaughter them, sparing only a few young animals that will be sold to aquariums for six-figure prices. The mercury-contaminated meat from the dead dolphins, meanwhile, ends up in supermarkets and restaurants across Asia.

It’s been five years since O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer, focused the world’s attention on Taiji in The Cove, the Academy Award–winning documentary that has now been seen by millions of people in more than 45 countries, according to the film’s producers.

“It was and continues to be successful,” said O’Barry. “People all over the world have seen the movie. New people see it every day.”

O’Barry said that he and his Dolphin Project cove monitors will be in Taiji from Sept. 1 until the dolphin-killing season ends in March or April.

“I can’t share the details of what, where, and when,” he said. “Your article will be read by my detractors in Japan before I get in the country.”

As the countdown begins, TakePart is launching a new Cove campaign to draw attention to the continuing carnage.

Japan, O’Barry said, is where The Cove’s message needs to be heard the most.

“The success of the movie outside Japan doesn’t help those of us who are working inside Japan,” he said. “In order for the Japanese to step up, they would need access to information that we Westerners take for granted. They need to see The Cove more than any country on Earth.”

This will be O’Barry’s 12th consecutive year in Taiji, he said, “and I will continue to return until they stop or I drop.”

The film’s director, Louie Psihoyos, also said the film’s impact continues to be felt.

“Countries are now banning the import of wild dolphins for dolphin shows. Vancouver has banned the aquarium’s breeding program,” he said. “The National Aquarium in Baltimore is shutting down their displays. Southwest Airlines is repainting their orca-painted planes after announcing their breakup with SeaWorld.”

Most significantly, “Taiji is killing 60 percent less dolphins,” Psihoyos said.

The film’s influence has spilled over into the captive killer whale debate.

“The Cove and now Blackfish have spawned a movement that reverberates through the world today,” said Psihoyos, referring to the 2013 documentary about the treatment of captive orcas at SeaWorld. “Just this morning I awoke to the news that SeaWorld’s stock plummeted some 30 percent. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

The director’s organization, Oceanic Preservation Society, mailed copies of both documentaries to every board member at the top 10 investment firms holding SeaWorld stock. The company on Wednesday said attendance at its parks has fallen in part because of media attention surrounding proposed legislation in California to ban killer whale shows in that state.

“The idea is that once you see these films you can’t unsee them,” Psihoyos said. “And once you see a film like The Cove it’s impossible to hold stock in a company like SeaWorld without feeling like a whore.”

Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, believes the film laid the foundation for the continuing backlash against SeaWorld.

“Blackfish wouldn’t have hit the public as hard as they did if we hadn’t already had The Cove,” she said.

Courtney Vail, campaigns and programs manager at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, also praised the film but added a caveat.

“Despite all the international attention, dolphins and small whales continue to be subjected to extreme cruelty in Taiji,” Vail said. “But as more and more individuals within Japan become aware of and engaged in the issue, there is always hope for an eventual end to this cruel practice.”

Psihoyos acknowledged that his film doesn’t wield the power to stop the slaughter, but that doesn’t diminish its contributions.

“Some people think The Cove was a failure because they’re still killing dolphins in Taiji, but you never know where change will occur,” he said.

“It’s a totally different world than it was five years ago,” he added. “An informed public is the captive dolphin industry’s worst nightmare.”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/16/2014 02:40AM by Alana33.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 16, 2014 11:52AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Coral World Army Corps Permit for Dolphinarium: UPDATE on Public Comments

Some of you have asked for talking points to use in your Comments Letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers (per the email sent earlier this week).

Here are many of the environmental issues (the scope of this permit does not cover the ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity). You can choose some or all of these points in your Comments Letter and of course put them in your own words if you wish.

Talking Points for the Army Corps of Engineers re: Coral World Dolphinarium

Environmental Impacts

Cetaceans produce a significant amount of waste on a daily basis, which in the wild is normally not concentrated in a single location. If flushing of the proposed dolphin enclosure area through tidal flow and/or current is inadequate, then the waste from several cetaceans and decaying fish parts that these cetaceans do not consume during feeding can concentrate in an abnormal manner and accumulate around and through reefs. This material, consisting of organic debris, nutrients, and fecal coliform bacteria, can cause abnormal levels of algal growth, which can smother and kill corals and also sea grass beds. Biodiversity in such affected areas can decrease substantially – a study by Goreau (2003) suggests that this negative impact on reefs near open water dolphin pens has already occurred in Cozumel.

· The permit application cites only one study in its discussion of mechanisms by which dolphin waste will be eliminated from the enclosure: Sazima et al. (2006) which reports that dolphin waste is naturally consumed by certain fish species that associate with dolphins. The permit application implies that this fish consumption will reduce the dolphin waste burden inside and even outside the enclosure substantially. However, Sazima et al. (2006) was a study of wild dolphins, making the comparison an apples-and-oranges exercise.

In addition, the study focused on a different species (spinner dolphins) and an entirely different ecosystem (and hemisphere – the study was conducted in Brazil). While it is probable that some dolphin feces in Water Bay will be consumed by some fish, this is unlikely to be a major mechanism of eliminating waste from the enclosure or outside it, as 1) the waste will be concentrated in an artificial manner (see above) and 2) the fish species in Water Bay will not rely on dolphin waste as a food source, given that wild dolphins do not regularly inhabit this area and this type of scavenging relationship will have had no opportunity to evolve as a result.

· Coral World plans to relocate a large number of heads of the boulder coral, Montastrea annularis (which will soon be listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act), as they are found within the footprint of the proposed enclosure. Coral World claims that other corals outside of the footprint will not be affected, due to flushing of the enclosure area. These more distant corals are endangered (Acropora palmata) or about to be listed (Dendrogyra cylindrus), which emphasizes at a minimum the need for references supporting these optimistic claims (no references supporting these predictions of “no impact” are provided in the permit application) and potentially the need for focused studies examining how this concentration of wastes might affect the corals in Water Bay. An ESA Section 7 consultation will also be required.

· Coral World is also claiming that water quality overall in the area will not be affected by the dolphin enclosure, either during construction or operation. These claims again are difficult to evaluate without knowing more about the water movement in Water Bay and the effect on that movement from the fencing and wave barrier to be installed. The permit application acknowledges that the fencing and wave barrier will reduce water movement, but downplays its significance. The claim that other sea pen enclosures have not experienced water quality impacts is both incorrect and irrelevant. There are in fact other facilities (see, for example, Alaniz and Rojas 2007) that have had significant water quality impacts; and while some facilities may have had minimal impacts, the water movement (and thus flushing of effluent) in these other areas may be greater than in Water Bay. Coral World provided water quality information for several other facilities, but no water movement data – both are necessary to support any comparison between two different sites.

· Coral World acknowledges that eutrophication has been an issue in Water Bay in the past but implies that this is a minor and easily addressed concern, when in fact there is insufficient information in the permit application to support this optimism.

· The permit application claims that harmful algal blooms are rare in the Virgin Islands. The lack of harmful algal blooms in the Virgin Islands historically is not a valid predictor of their future occurrence, given that the occurrence of harmful algal blooms is increasing globally.[1]

· At a minimum, adequate references must be provided before a confident conclusion can be drawn regarding the suitability of this site for a dolphinarium in regards to water quality. The permit application mentions “a number of studies…in regard to dolphin enclosures” (p. 92) and water quality that have been conducted, but does not cite them – at a minimum, Coral World must provide these citations.


Alaniz Pasini, Y. and L. Rojas Ortega. 2007. Delfinarios. AGT Editor, S.A. and Comarino, Mexico City, Mexico.

Goreau, T.J. 2003. Dolphin enclosures and algae distributions at Chankanaab, Cozumel: observations and recommendations. Report of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, Cambridge, Massachusetts, available at:[]

Sazima, I., C. Sazima, and J. Martins da Silva, Jr. 2006. Fishes associated with spinner dolphins at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, tropical Western Atlantic: An update and overview. Neotropical Ichthyology 4:451-455.


[1] This is likely a climate change-related phenomenon – see, for example, recent reports from the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee’s Standing Working Group on Environmental Concerns at



Eutrophication - "Eutrophication is defined as an increase in the rate of supply of organic matter in an ecosystem.” - Nixon, 1995

Eutrophication - “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially phosphates and nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decompose, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing organisms deplete the water of available oxygen, causing the death of other organisms, such as fish. Eutrophication is a natural, slow-aging process for a water body, but human activity greatly speeds up the process.” - Art, 1993

Eutrophication - “The term 'eutrophic' means well-nourished; thus, 'eutrophication' refers to natural or artificial addition of nutrients to bodies of water and to the effects of the added nutrients….When the effects are undesirable, eutrophication may be considered a form of pollution.” - National Academy of Sciences, 1969

Eutrophication – “The enrichment of bodies of fresh water by inorganic plant nutrients (e.g. nitrate, phosphate). It may occur naturally but can also be the result of human activity (cultural eutrophication from fertilizer runoff and sewage discharge) and is particularly evident in slow-moving rivers and shallow lakes … Increased sediment deposition can eventually raise the level of the lake or river bed, allowing land plants to colonize the edges, and eventually converting the area to dry land.” - Lawrence and Jackson, 1998

Eutrophic – “Waters, soils, or habitats that are high in nutrients; in aquatic systems, associated with wide swings in dissolved oxygen concentrations and frequent algal blooms.” - Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, 2000

If you haven't already sent a letter (for such a major and controversial project) then you can include that in your Comments letter.

Mr. Edgar Garcia
District Engineer, Antilles Permit Section
400 Fernandez Juncos Avenue
San Juan, PR 00901

Please reference: Coral World Dolphin Exhibit Enclosure
File: SAJ-1976-89037 (SP-EWG)

Sorry, there is no email address for Mr. Garcia: to send Comments, they must be mailed.
Or e-mail: Shannon White's email address:
Coral World Dolphin Exhibit Enclosure
File: SAJ-1976-89037

Please send letter or your email today.

Fiona Stuart

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 20, 2014 09:54AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Bottlenose Dolphin Adopts a Baby Orphan of a Different Species

The marine mammal has been spotted nursing an abandoned common dolphin off the New Zealand coast.

Dolphin watchers discovered a rare occurrence recently off the New Zealand coast: A bottlenose dolphin adopted an abandoned common dolphin pup.

According to The New Zealand Herald, Kiwi made headlines five years ago when she lost her own baby, named Squirt, after getting stranded in a muddy inlet. Rescuers were able to return the mother to the ocean, but Squirt, which was nowhere to be found, was believed to have been eaten by an orca during the separation.

Since January Kiwi has been spotted swimming with a baby common dolphin, which has been given the name Pee-wee. Last week a group on a dolphin-watching trip in the Bay of Islands confirmed that some saw Kiwi nursing Pee-wee.

“It’s just so unusual,” marine mammal expert Jo Halliday told The New Zealand Herald. “The crew is ecstatic.”

Halliday believes that Kiwi hasn’t had another baby since Squirt, but the dolphin is producing milk.

“There’s so many things these guys are capable of doing. They may be able to switch on lactation on demand,” Halliday said.

Interspecies adoption among dolphins is not unheard of, but it’s rare. Scientists aren’t sure why, but Halliday thinks that the marine mammals are just inclined to help others during tough times. (Dolphin pups drink milk until about the age of six months, when they start fishing, a skill they likely learn by watching their mothers.)

According to Jenny Holland, author of the 2011 book Unlikely Friendships, interspecies adoptions are more common among domestic and captive animals, but they also occur in the wild. She told National Geographic that "mammals have the same brain structures, the same system, related to emotion that we have,” and that they “may take in another to relieve its pain, hunger, or loneliness.”

Kiwi's adoption of Pee-wee is yet more proof of the marine animals' intelligence and social nature, which have been well documented by scientists. Yet every year, Japanese fishermen in Taiji continue to slaughter hundreds of dolphins, sparing only some of the young ones to be sold to aquariums.

“Sometimes we don’t give them as much credit as they deserve for being complex, thinking, empathic beings,” said Holland.


Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 20, 2014 09:48PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

SeaWorld Gives Up Fight to Keep Trainers in the Water With Killer Whales

August 20, 2014 By David Kirby

The company acknowledges the continuing controversy over a trainer's death in 2010 has hurt its image and bottom line.

SeaWorld has abandoned its long-running challenge of a federal order that has kept trainers away from killer whales during performances at its water parks.

The order from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was related to the February 2010 death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau.

In a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, SeaWorld said it would not take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court. That decision follows a ruling by a federal appellate court denying SeaWorld’s challenge of the OSHA order.

“We have elected to not pursue further appeal,” SeaWorld stated in the filing. “In connection with this incident, we reviewed and revised our safety protocols and made certain safety-related facility enhancements such as revising training protocols used in show performances.”

“This incident has also been and continues to be the subject of significant media attention, including extensive television and newspaper coverage, a documentary and a book, as well as discussions in social media,” the company added. “This incident and similar events that may occur in the future may harm our reputation, reduce attendance and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

Last November, SeaWorld attorneys argued before a federal appellate court that the OSHA order, issued Aug. 24, 2010, should be overturned because close interaction between orcas and trainers was an integral part of the company’s business model.

In April, the court upheld the government’s safety mandates, which barred trainers from entering the water with orcas during shows, and ordering the company to maintain minimal distances or physical barriers between employees and the killer whales.
That left SeaWorld with one last legal option: the Supreme Court.

The long saga began on a gloomy February afternoon at SeaWorld Orlando when the 12,000-pound orca Tilikum—already involved in the deaths of two people—grabbed Brancheau, pulled her into the water, and rammed her to death.

After a six-month investigation, OSHA hit SeaWorld with the willful violation citation and ordered that trainers stay out of the water. SeaWorld had suspended so-called waterwork immediately after Brancheau’s death but made clear its intent to resume the practice.

SeaWorld appealed the OSHA ruling before a Labor Department administrative law judge in the fall of 2011. The following May, the judge reduced the citation from willful to serious but upheld OSHA’s safety mandates.

Some orcas, he wrote, had "pulled trainers into the water during (poolside) dry work" and engaged in "unpredictable behavior, including seizing trainers with their mouths, holding the trainers under water, and ramming the trainers while in the water."

SeaWorld then appealed to a special Labor Department commission, which refused to hear the case. When that failed, SeaWorld filed in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which sent the issue into mediation. After those talks went nowhere, the court heard oral arguments from both sides, eventually ruling against the company.

Last month, OSHA issued the Miami Seaquarium a similar violation, ordering trainers not to enter the water with its sole killer whale, Lolita. That facility has not yet said whether it will appeal.

But it is unlikely we will see trainers swimming with orcas at any U.S. theme park again.

From Alana33:
A small victory!
Unfortunately, this does not mean Sea World will rehab and release these Orcas in their possession back into the wild or even larger sea enclosures where they will have more space or freedom.

They now just want to build bigger, sterile, sensory depriving tanks than they presently have. They will probably continue to breed Orcas and Dolphins for sale for entertainment purposes UNLESS we reuse to patronize Sea World and these Marine Mammals exhibits,completely.

The only way to force them to do the right thing by these magnificent mammals is to hit them where it hurts: Their revenue.

If you haven't seen BLACKFISH, please watch it.

Re: 'Blackfish' Backlash: Fan Pressure Leads Willie Nelson to Cancel SeaWorld Concert

August 23, 2014 02:48PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Georgia Aquarium Just Won’t Give Up Trying to Get Wild-Caught Belugas

Read more: []

It’s been almost exactly a year since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) denied the Georgia Aquarium’s application for a permit to bring 18 wild-caught belugas to the U.S. for public display, but the aquarium hasn’t given up trying to get its hands on them and went to court yesterday seeking to overturn the decision.

The controversy started in 2012 when the aquarium tried to get a permit to import the belugas, who who were captured in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk between 2006 and 2011, making it the first request in 20 years from a facility in the U.S. to import wild-caught marine mammals for public display.

Had the permit been approved, they would have been transported here and split up under breeding and loan agreements between SeaWorld parks in Florida, Texas and California, and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.

Fortunately, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) denied the request over concerns that the move would further harm wild populations and that a few were still young enough to be dependent on their mothers, stating:

There are ongoing, legal marine mammal capture operations in Russia that are expected to continue, and we believe that issuance of this permit would contribute to the demand to capture belugas from this stock for the purpose of public display in the U.S. and worldwide, resulting in the future taking of additional belugas from this stock.

While the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) allows some exceptions for marine mammals to be captured and imported for public display, the agency didn’t believe the aquarium met the requirements for the permit it was seeking.

That should have been the end of it, especially considering the growing public opposition to keeping cetaceans in captivity, but officials with the aquarium are still baffled by the decision and believe they have a right to import these belugas. Even after being told what they want to do would further harm beluga populations and knowing how poorly they do in captivity, the aquarium has continued to make ridiculous claims that its efforts are being made in the name of conservation and have boldly stated that “maintaining a sustainable population of beluga whales in human care is essential to the survival of belugas everywhere.”

Last October, the aquarium filed a lawsuit to get the decision overturned and appeared at the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia yesterday to add more documents that would justify the permit and to get internal documents from NOAA about why it made the decision.

While the judge isn’t expected to make a decision for a few weeks, belugas weren’t without their advocates in court. The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Cetacean Society International and the Earth Island Institute were granted permission last April to intervene on their behalf.

While we wait to hear about their fate, there is some good news that could bring hope for wild belugas who remain in the Sea of Okhotsk. Earlier this month, the NMFS announced that a petition requesting that the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River beluga whale population be granted greater protection as a depleted stock under the MMPA warranted consideration.

The petition was filed last April by the Animal Welfare Institute, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Cetacean Society International and the Earth Island Institute, which argued that this population is the only source of whales for the live trade and that further captures would put their future survival in jeopardy.

According to a statement from AWI, the organizations that filed the petition hope that a “depleted designation under the MMPA will stimulate research and conservation efforts by the United States and foreign governments, conservation organizations, the scientific community, and funding institutions to help recover these belugas and protect their habitat.”

The agency is working on a status review that should be completed by mid-November and will be accepting public comments until September 2.


Petition To Designate Sakhalin Bay-Amur River Beluga Whales Stock as Depleted Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act; Finding

A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 08/01/2014


This document has a comment period that ends in 10 days (09/02/2014) Submit a formal comment

PDFDEVPrintPublic Inspection
Publication Date: Friday, August 01, 2014Agenciesbig grinepartment of CommerceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationDates:Information and comments must be received by close of business on September 2, 2014.Comments Close:09/02/2014Entry Typesilly smileyroposed RuleAction: Notice of 60-day petition finding; call for information.Document Citation:79 FR 44733Page: 44733 -44735 (3 pages) CFR:50 CFR 216Agency/Docket Numberbig grinocket No. 140429386-4386-01RIN:0648-XD27Document Number:2014-18225Shorter URL:[] Docket Info
Docket NumberNOAA-NMFS-2014-0056Docket NamePetition to designate the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River stock of beluga whales as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal Protection Act Public Comments19 comments

Notice Of 60 Day Petition Finding; Call For Information.

NMFS received a petition to “designate the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).” NMFS finds that the petition presents substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted and will initiate a status review promptly. NMFS solicits information from the public that may contribute to the status review.


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