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

December 17, 2014 01:27PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

This is a different post from the usual but thought I'd share.

Victory! Mexico Moves to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses
Alicia Graef
Dec 16, 20144:2014 5:30am

Wild animals in entertainment are winning big this month with an announcement that Mexico’s Congress has passed legislation banning their use in circuses throughout the country.

The move comes just months after lawmakers in the nation’s capital, Mexico City, passed a ban that will go into effect next year. According to the AP, circuses will now be required to report the animals they have and make them available to zoos interested in taking them in, while violators will be subject to large fines. In a statement, lawmakers noted that “the use of animals in circuses provides no educational value to viewers” and has no value to conservation.

The bill, which now just needs the signature of President Enrique Peña Nieto to become a law, was passed by a sweeping majority and makes Mexico the 29th country to act to end circus animal suffering with a nationwide ban. While the president hasn’t said anything about signing it yet, reports add a promising note that the bill was introduced by an allied party.

Mexico, however, isn’t the only nation to act. Right on the heels of this victory, officials in the Netherlands finalized a ban put in place in 2012 that will go into force in September 2015 bringing the number of nations to act to 30.

Animal advocates and organizations including Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has long been working on ending circus animal suffering, are applauding the recent changes and hope more countries will follow.

“The ban is Mexico is a landmark in ending the suffering abuse of animals in the name of entertainment. The world is changing and we are seeing progressive legislation to end the use of wild animals in circuses sweeping the world. Surely it is time for countries like Britain and United States to catch up and do the same,” said Jan Creamer, President of ADI.

Two years ago the UK announced a bill that would ban the use of wild animals in circuses, but despite widespread public support it’s been continuously blocked with the fourth attempt to shut it down made earlier this month.

In the U.S., Rep. Jim Moran reintroduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) this past summer, which would end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses over concerns about their welfare and the safety risks they pose to us.

While a number of cities and states in the U.S. have already taken action and passed ordinances prohibiting wild animals and cruel training tools, including another recent victory in Oakland banning bullhooks, supporters argue the issue needs to be addressed on a federal level because the mobile nature of circuses makes it difficult for law enforcement and inspectors to follow up on incidents and violations of the Animal Welfare Act, of which there have been many.

For us, entertainment shouldn’t mean causing wild animals to endure a restricted life of confinement and abuse at the hands of those who want to continue to profit from their suffering. We know far too much now about what these animals need and how life in a circus can never be humane to let their exploitation continue.

How to Help Wild Animals in Circuses in the U.S. and UK

Please sign and share ADI’s petition urging the Prime Minister to ensure that the UK makes good on its promise to ban wild animals in circuses.

Please also sign and share the petition urging Congress to act to end circus animal suffering in the U.S. by passing TEAPA.
Here's the link to sign the petitions:

Now if only the US and other countries would follow suite and ban the importation and sale of wildlife.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2014 01:32PM by Alana33.

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

December 17, 2014 09:35PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

I'd like to thank everyone that has followed these posts. Wow!
I'd like to thank everyone that has PM'd me, emailed, called me, spoken to me, interacted and has had a growing awareness of the plight of the conditions these magnificent creatures must endure in captivity.

I want to wish you all the best in your lives and hope the future is better for all. Especially, for the animals of our planet, whether wild or domesticated. We still need to do more!

Keep on! Please!

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

December 19, 2014 10:52AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078


It is well known — for some time now, that dolphins speak and communicate with each other; not just a language, but also a precise code; a kind of language including their dialect of origin. Recent studies on bottlenose dolphins, have shown that these mammals have a repertoire of about 14 sounds that articulate with each other, to send messages to members of their group and to those of other species.

Studies of free dolphins in waters off the Bahamas, showed that bottlenose dolphins and striped dolphins communicate with each other even though they belong to different species, even changing from time-to-time into their own “dialect”.

Dolphins speak with their group using a particular “dialect” that develops over the years and becomes a vehicle of recognition between specimens within the same community. They’re also able to change their “language” when they need to speak with other groups or other species.

Generally, dolphins communicate using two languages or acoustic signals: the sounds (frequency 20kHz) – vocalization signals, and ultrasound (frequency between 20 and 200 kHz) — sonar or echolocation signals. The two vocalizations are very different; the former is innate, and produced on the occasion of a specific event which in general, reflects the emotional reaction of the dolphin to an external stimulus.

In courtship, when dolphins are afraid, or mad, or when they are stressed for example, these super intelligent mammals emit frequencies from 20kHz. These are spontaneous shouts, immediately perceptible, easy to issue, and easily understood. The sonar signals from 20 to 200 kHz are far more difficult to learn and understand.

The sharing of perceptions/evocations arising from sonar signals are learned over time and require that the community has formed a sonar common language — a connection of sounds and acoustic images that can be applied to the entire community. It can be assumed therefore, that the language sonar of a group requires a long learning period by its younger members, because it contains many elements of a typical and exclusive community. In short, dolphins have to live through a long learning period before forming a group with whom they can share language.

This training and learning – slow and complicated, allows them to navigate the jungle of sonar signals from other group members, which they need in order to learn to listen and speak the same language. This occurs in the open sea as a normal process of learning. Although lengthy, this is part of the normal process of say, the growth of puppies, who upon reaching adulthood, are able to communicate perfectly with the other members of the group.

One highly negative effect of captivity for dolphins, is the variation of language in individual animals and the transformation of the issue of sounds. It has been observed that when comparing the vocalizations of bottlenose dolphins in the open sea, to their captive counterparts in a tank, the latter often display a lower frequency and are much less articulated.

This reduction in vocalizations is due in part to the effect of the echo caused by the walls of the pools where the dolphins are confined. Yet despite assurances of many water parks that dolphins do not suffer in their environments, this echo phenomenon is well-known in closed environment.

Overall, dolphin vocalizations are mainly reduced — by up to 30%, as a base frequency, negatively impacting social relations inside the tank. Captive dolphins are forced to “speak” their entire lives with a lower voice, to avoid damaging group relations inside the tank.

This process of having to create a way to “communicate” with each other, is completely unnatural and becomes the cause of tremendous stress and social conflicts. The stress induced from this, causes a considerable reduction of the dolphin’s immune defenses when the animal is confined in a tub. For this reason, a dolphin needing to be released into the sea after some time in captivity, requires a period to “reshape” his voice and to learn to effectively communicate again with his fellow dolphins.

Communication issues are among the growing list of things like sound deprivation, ulcers, skin cancer, isolation, boredom that affect dolphins in captivity.

Damage Caused by Echo in Captive Dolphin Communication - November 16, 2014

Luca Giovagnoli DVM, graduated from the University of Parma in Veterinary Medicine. He is a Veterinary Medicine Surgeon and expert in Homeopathy, Homotoxicology and Integrated Medical Disciplines, and has conducted many research studies in Italy and other European countries, as well as the United States.

His interest has been focused on the studying of wild and domestic animals — whether by applying conventional veterinary medicine or the homeopathic approach. In particular, he resonates strongly with homeopathic approaches, refining its techniques and knowledge by applying these principles to the care and protection of many species of animals.

Luca is the author of many scientific papers and practices in Ancona, Italy, where he runs a veterinary clinic. He joins the Dolphin Project as it's resident Veterinarian.

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

December 19, 2014 11:22AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Bottlenose Dolphin Adopts a Baby Orphan of a Different Species

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.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2014 11:23AM by Alana33.

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

December 19, 2014 09:53PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Help Animals Imprisoned by SeaWorld
Help imprisoned Orcas at SeaWorld
In marine parks and aquariums, dolphins and other sea animals routinely die prematurely from stress and other captivity-related causes, and SeaWorld has an abysmal record.

SeaWorld continues to jeopardize the safety of humans and animals alike despite numerous tragedies—including the deaths of many orcas and the death of a trainer who was seized by a frustrated orca, thrashed around violently, and held under water to drown.

The intelligent, social ocean animals kept in the pitifully small tanks at SeaWorld are denied everything that is natural and important to them. In the wild, dolphins swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean, but captive dolphins are confined to small tanks in which the reverberations from their sonar bounce off the walls, driving them insane. Some of these animals were violently captured and torn away from their homes in the wild, and many are forced to learn and perform circus-style tricks. According to whistleblower tips from trainers, withholding food from animals who refuse to perform is a common training method, and because of the intense boredom and aggression caused by captivity, orcas gnaw on the metal gates and concrete corners of the tanks and damage their teeth.

The only thing that people learn from visiting a SeaWorld theme park is how miserable life is for the animals confined there. Children see mere shadows of animals, defeated beings who do not engage in natural behavior and cannot live as nature intended. Marine parks teach all the wrong lessons: that it is acceptable to imprison animals; to deprive them of freedom of movement and thought; to forbid them the chance to establish their natural territory and explore; to breed and separate them as we, not they, please; and to watch them go insane from boredom and loneliness.

You can help the animals imprisoned by SeaWorld today. Please take a moment to ask SeaWorld to immediately set in place a firm and rapid plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment.

Please keep all correspondence polite, as anything less will hurt our efforts.

Send this message to:
Jim Atchison


Dear [Decision Maker],
*(Edit Letter Below)

[Your Name]

Link for petition: []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2014 09:54PM by Alana33.

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

December 20, 2014 08:33AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Panama Jack to End ‘Official Sun Care’ Partnership With SeaWorld[/b
November 20, 2014

This time, it is skin off SeaWorld’s nose. Panama Jack has ended its stint as the park’s “Official Sun Care” Partner, which spanned more than a decade. With no sunscreen partner to speak of, maybe SeaWorld execs will start to understand how the sunburned orcas feel?

Panama Jack’s sponsorship officially ends on February 28, but the company has already removed SeaWorld’s logo from its website. The sunscreen giant said that it made the decision for business reasons, and it isn’t hard to see why. SeaWorld’s stock dropped 50 percent in 2014, and attendance, profit, and revenue have plummeted as well. Its shareholders are suing the company for allegedly misleading them about the impact that Blackfish had on attendance.

Panama Jack joins a long list of companies that have cut ties with SeaWorld, including Alaska Airlines, Hyundai Motor America, JetBlue,, Southwest Airlines, STA Travel, Taco Bell, United Airlines, Vacation Resorts International, and Virgin America.

It’s time for AAA to join their ranks. E-mail AAA and ask the company to stop promoting marine-mammal abusement parks.

Read more: []

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

December 20, 2014 08:50AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

The Top Six Ways SeaWorld Ruined Christmas
December 2, 2014

SeaWorld will find nothing but coal in its Christmas stocking this year. Attendance is down, SeaWorld’s stock has tanked, and the documentary Blackfish is still making waves. Corporations such as Virgin America, STA Travel, Taco Bell, and Southwest Airlines have severed their ties to the company, and shareholders have slapped it with a lawsuit. SeaWorld won’t even enter its float in this year’s Rose Parade.

The public is finding out that SeaWorld is the worst Grinch of all:

In some wild populations, orca calves stay with their mothers for their entire lives. At SeaWorld, orca mothers and their babies are separated so the mothers can be turned into breeding machines and churn out future performers. The youngsters wail in anguish as they are forcibly taken away, and their mothers can do nothing but despair as their babies are separated from them forever.

Wild orcas swim up to 100 miles a day and dive as deep as 1,000 feet. In SeaWorld’s tiny tanks, which are the equivalent of concrete bathtubs, all they can do is swim in endless circles in their own diluted urine.

At least 37 orcas have died at U.S. SeaWorld facilities from causes ranging from severe trauma to intestinal gangrene, and 62 bottlenose dolphins have died at SeaWorld parks in the last 10 years alone, including 16 stillborn babies.

See: lives_stolen-infographic-1205

4. Five orcas who were kidnapped from their ocean homes and families have lived in SeaWorld’s cramped tanks for decades.

5. Corky was kidnapped from her family in 1969 when she was only 3 years old and has suffered seven forced pregnancies. None of her calves survived more than 46 days. Her last stillborn fetus was found at the bottom of her holding tank.

6. Even though wild orcas and dolphins are naturally devoted to their young, captivity can leave them utterly unable to cope. Mothers sometimes attack and kill their newborn calves.

Give the orcas, dolphins, and other animals the best gift of all by refusing to buy a ticket to SeaWorld and spreading the word far and wide.

Read more: []

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

December 20, 2014 09:12AM

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Dolphin With Dolphin Pox Still Forced to Perform at SeaWorld
July 30, 2014

An anonymous whistleblower who regularly goes to SeaWorld parks to gather video evidence of abuse has posted new photographs of a dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Cove who appears to be suffering from an infection of dolphin pox. Even though the lesions were clearly visible to anyone who came in contact with the animal, SeaWorld was still forcing the dolphin to perform.

SeaWorld Orlando isn’t responding to the media, but if the park does issue a statement, it will likely say that wild dolphins can contract dolphin pox as well. However, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research found that “tress, environmental conditions and general health appear to play a major role in the clinical manifestation of dolphin pox.”

It would be tough for the park to argue that confining dolphins to cramped tanks filled with chemicals, forcing them to perform confusing tricks for a “reward” of dead fish, and depriving them of their families, their social lives, and freedom of movement don’t seriously damage their mental and physical health.

This is just one more reason to let them go free.

Read more: []

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

December 20, 2014 09:20AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

9 Times SeaWorld Lied to Your Face
November 6, 2014

SeaWorld worked long and hard to create the illusion of being a conservation organization that housed happy, healthy marine animals. Luckily, Blackfish—the groundbreaking documentary about the abusement park—shattered many of the lies that SeaWorld has been spewing for years. While there’s no hiding from the truth now, SeaWorld is still hoping that people will buy into the myths it’s fabricated.

Here are some of the most shocking lies that SeaWorld expected you to believe. Are you smart enough to see through them?

1. Collapsed dorsal fins are normal.
All the captive adult male orcas at SeaWorld have a collapsed dorsal fin, and the company has said that this is a common and naturally occurring problem. But the truth is that this only rarely happens to wild orcas (only 1 percent), and when it does, it’s a sign that they’re injured or sick.

2. SeaWorld respects the bond between a mother and child.
In the wild, orcas stay in their family pods their whole lives. The company has said that it doesn’t separate mothers from their calves—but SeaWorld declares that calves are full grown at 4 years of age and moves them to a different location, away from their mothers, at this time. SeaWorld claims that this maintains a “healthy social structure,” while it’s actually the complete opposite of how orcas live in the wild.

3. SeaWorld cares about a “healthy social structure”.
SeaWorld insists that it promotes healthy social structures among the orcas it holds captive. In reality, the orcas are kept close together in cramped tanks, which causes stress and anxiety, which often lead to aggression and fights. When a fight or an attack occurs in the wild, orcas are able to flee—in captivity, they have nowhere to escape to.

4. The orcas at SeaWorld are mentally stimulated.
The orcas at SeaWorld would have to swim about 1,500 laps a day in their cramped pools to equal the approximate 100 miles they’d swim every day in their ocean home. Their desperation and boredom lead them to display psychotic behavior such as gnawing on the concrete sides of their tanks, which breaks their teeth.

5. SeaWorld prioritizes wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation.
SeaWorld tries very hard to appear as though it’s concerned with wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation. However, over the past decade SeaWorld has contributed less than 1 percent of its profits to conservation efforts.

6. Captive orcas’ life spans are equivalent to those in the wild.
Granny, a wild orca who was spotted off the coast of Canada in May 2014, is 103 years old. Other wild orcas have been known to live as long as 90 years—only five of the captive orcas at SeaWorld are more than 30 years of age. Most of them die in their teens, with the median age being 9 years old, and not a single captive orca has ever died of old age.

7. It’s safe for trainers to be in the water with orcas.
An orca at SeaWorld named Tilikum was forced to perform in circus-style shows, despite having already been involved in the deaths of two people. Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at SeaWorld, became the third person to die—a death that could have been prevented—when she was killed by Tilikum on February 24, 2010.

8. SeaWorld’s stock is fine.
After Blackfish unveiled the ugly truth behind the abusement park, stock in the company took a huge hit, plummeting by 35 percent. SeaWorld also saw a 13 percent drop in attendance, and its market value dropped $1.7 billion. Despite SeaWorld’s claims that its attendance was down only because of bad weather and “a shift in the Easter holiday,” it’s clear that many people no longer want anything to do with the torture that SeaWorld calls “entertainment."

9. Increasing the size of the tanks will make a difference.
After its stock plummeted and its attendance dropped, SeaWorld released a media statement saying that it was going to expand the orcas’ tanks—despite the fact that it had yet to apply for the permits required to build the new tanks. The expansion plan, which is now expected to conclude in 2018, includes tanks with a maximum depth of 50 feet and a length of 350 feet. In the wild, orcas dive up to 1,000 feet and swim up to 100 miles a day. This expansion will affect only the paying guests—it’ll make virtually no difference to the orcas who are trapped at SeaWorld. The company’s plans are nothing more than an effort to distract us from something that we all know to be true: A bigger prison is still a prison.

Keep the momentum going against this deceptive company that cruelly holds orcas hostage, and please share this information with your friends and family.

Read more: []

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

December 29, 2014 12:56PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Let’s make West Coast swordfish dolphin-safe
Act Now: Urge fishery managers to clean up the California drift gillnet fishery
Drift gillnets are banned in many parts of the world because they indiscriminately catch all sorts of marine life, including whales, dolphins, sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and other species of fish. Yet a drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish still operates off the coast of California. It’s time to begin transitioning this fishery to more selective gear. In the meantime, strict limits need to be in place to reduce the number of vulnerable animals incidentally killed by drift gillnets.

In March, West Coast fishery managers will make a critical decision on the future of drift gillnets. As regulators consider what course this fishery should take, we must make clear to them that it is unacceptable to harm iconic and endangered species to catch a luxury seafood item such as swordfish. We want dolphin-safe swordfish.

Please act now. The Pacific Fishery Management Council needs to hear from you. Ask them to uphold their reputation as leaders in responsible fishery management. Help us to make drift gillnets a thing of the past.

Take Action: see link to sign petition:[]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2014 12:58PM by Alana33.

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

January 01, 2015 11:16AM

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Posts: 12,078

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

January 01, 2015 12:38PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2015 12:57PM by Alana33.

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

January 01, 2015 01:06PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

The truth about Dolphin captivity:


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

January 01, 2015 02:32PM

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This says it all.

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

January 02, 2015 05:36PM

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PETA Shareholder Resolution Offers Bailout Plan for SeaWorld
December 16, 2014

In the wake of SeaWorld’s announcement that employees at the parks will be laid off as well as the departure of CEO Jim Atchison, PETA has a solution to stop the company’s downward spiral and regain its lost favor with the public: retire the orcas it holds prisoner to coastal sanctuaries.

As stockholders, we have the right to submit shareholder resolutions telling the company what changes we want to see—and we want the orcas and other marine mammals at SeaWorld’s parks retired from forced performances and returned to the ocean in large coastal sea pens where they can be rehabilitated.

The coastal sanctuaries, in the form of sea pens or netted-off bays or coves, could include whale-watching centers where visitors could observe the orcas in their ocean environments and learn about the animals’ natural behavior. Whales would have space to explore in a stimulating environment and the opportunity to hunt for their own food, and they could even interact with other sea life through the pen’s barrier. Family groups would be preserved, and incompatible animals would not be forced to interact.

In addition, SeaWorld could fill its park space with rides, state-of-the-art augmented or virtual reality marine mammal exhibits, and other experiences that would allow visitors to learn about marine life without paying to see imprisoned animals.

The parks and the orcas are both in dire need of a bailout plan. If SeaWorld accepts PETA’s shareholder resolution, it could be the lifeline the company needs. And it is certainly the one the orcas need.

Read more: []

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

January 05, 2015 02:49PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Awesome Orcas

Orcas in the Wild

Orcas, or killer whales, are marine mammals that are found in all the oceans of the world, especially the freezing waters of the polar regions. They are easily recognized by their distinct black and white markings and their large dorsal fins. Males can reach 9 metres in length and weigh over 5,000 kilograms; females are slightly smaller, weighing between 1,500 to 3,500 kilograms, with an average length of 6-7 metres.

Orcas live in an aquatic habitat, and spend a large portion of their time travelling. In a single day, an orca may swim as far as 160 kilometres, reaching speeds of more than 50 km/hour. The home range of a group of orcas may vary from over 1,000 square kilometres to over 100,000 square kilometres. For example, individual whales have been identified in Monterey Bay, California that had previously been identified in Alaska. Orcas spend the vast majority of their time underwater and typically dive 30-60 metres below the surface.

Orcas are highly social animals and they spend their entire lives in close-knit family groups called pods, which consist of 1-3 maternal groups. A calf is born into a pod that may include her mother, grandmother, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. A calf remains in very close physical proximity to her mother, although other pod members help in the care and raising of the calf. Even upon reaching sexual maturity, both male and female adult whales will stay with their family pod; only death or capture can separate members of a pod.

The diet of an orca whale is often geographically or population specific. Orcas are carnivores and eat a wide variety of prey, including salmon, shark, squid, sea turtles, sea otters, penguins, sea birds, seals and sealions, manatees, dolphins, and even other whales. Orcas hunt cooperatively, working together as a group, and using different hunting strategies that are passed down to younger members of the pod. Orcas find their way around underwater and hunt their prey using echolocation. They create a "sound" picture by making a rapid series of clicking sounds and listening for the echoes that bounce back from the seabed, other whales, boats, prey animals, or other objects. Using sonar, whales are capable of identifying the shape, density, distance and location of objects.

Aside from clicks for echolocation, orcas also make a variety of calls that resemble high-pitched squawks, whistles and squeals. Biologists have determined that different pods of orcas have discrete calls, or 'dialects'. These calls are an important part of the social lives of orcas, and may contain information about the identity of the whale, including age, sex, and physical condition, as well as location and emotional state. Play behaviour, including breaching, diving, rolling, tail thrashing and spy-hopping, are also important social activities.

Orcas have no natural predators, and are not routinely hunted by humans. The biggest threat that orcas face in the wild is chemical contamination of their marine habitat.

Orcas in Captivity

Orcas have been kept in captivity since 1961. At least 135 whales have been captured from the wild since that time, and the vast majority of them (86%) are now dead. In fact, the average length of survival in captivity is under six years, despite the fact that in the wild, female orcas may live as long as 80 years, and males as long as 50.

Orcas have also been bred in captivity; many of those pregnancies result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the calf shortly after birth. Of 69 pregnancies in captivity since 1968, only 29 calves have survived.

Currently there are 45 orca whales in captivity, in only 6 countries around the world - Japan, Argentina, Spain, France, Canada and the United States. As we learn more about orcas in the wild through long-term studies of wild populations in natural habitats, it has become clear that there are serious problems with keeping these animals in captivity. These include:

Space. Orcas live in a vast ocean environment, easily swimming over 100 kilometres in a day. In captivity, these whales are confined to pools that are dramatically smaller than their natural habitat. For example, the Marineland pool in Ontario is only 23m x 7.6m, and is only 6.7m deep. The US minimum standard required for an orca in captivity is a tank with a 14.6m diametre and 3.7m deep. No whale is capable of exhibiting normal behaviours in a tank of this size.
Exhibit Design. Complex filtration and purification systems are required to maintain clear, clean water is marine park tanks. The pools are designed for the enjoyment of the spectator, not the needs of the orcas. Captive orcas are forced to live in permanently chlorinated water, and are exposed to the constant noise of filtration pumps.

Food. Orcas are top predators in the wild, and have developed sophisticated hunting strategies, many of them cooperative. In their wild habitat, a great deal of their time is spent travelling and foraging. In captivity however, orcas are given no opportunity to hunt live prey; they are fed a diet of frozen fish, and often, they are required to perform tricks for their food.

Acoustics. Orcas create 'sound' pictures of their habitat using echolocation. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive about their environment. In captivity, many of their reasons for vocalizing are unnecessary. There is no opportunity to locate and track prey, and the super-clean, sterile tanks offer nothing to navigate or investigate. As well, there is no need to communicate acoustically with other whales using contact calls because of their physical proximity.

Social Behaviour. In the wild, orcas live in family pods for their entire lives. Much of their time is spent socializing, including vocalizing and playing with other pod members. In captivity, orcas are often held in tanks with whales from different pods, or indeed, from different oceans. Even worse, some whales are completely socially isolated from other whales. For example, Marineland, in Ontario, kept a young male orca isolated in an indoor holding pen for more than four years. Calves born in captivity, if they survive, are often separated from their mothers at as young as six months of age, despite the intense social bond they share.

Abnormal Behaviour. Living in an unnatural habitat creates unnatural behaviours. Orcas in captivity exhibit many behaviours - such as repetitive behaviours, lethargy, refusal to eat, self-inflicted injuries (eg. slamming their head or body into the wall of the tank) and aggression between whales or towards trainers - that teach us nothing about the natural behaviour of wild whales.

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

January 06, 2015 03:30PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 2,405

The fired CEO of SeaWorld has scored a whale of a severance plan: worth $2.6 million.

CEO Jim Atchison will swim away with a $2.6 million parting gift after being replaced at embattled SeaWorld (SEAS), according to the company’s most recently filed proxy statement. Specifically, the regulatory filing says Atchison will get $2.4 million in a cash severance payment, $40,268 value in the continuation of his health care plan and $10,000 in outplacement services. That’s not to mention the consulting contract Atchison is being given and appointment to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, where compensation information was not disclosed.

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

January 07, 2015 08:10AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Watch This Video of Rare and—Rarely Seen—Killer Whales
A Sea Shepherd ship encountered a pod of elusive "Ecotype D” orcas in the southern Indian Ocean.


January 06, 2015 By David Kirby

David Kirby has been a professional journalist for 25 years. His third book, Death at Seaworld, was published in 2012.

A pod of killer whales that live in waters so remote they are almost never seen has been caught on video, providing marine scientists with new information about the mysterious marine mammals.

The video of 13 “Ecotype D” whales was shot in the southern Indian Ocean on Dec. 26 by crew members of the Sea Shepherd ship the Bob Barker. The environmental group is engaged in an extended chase of a Nigerian vessel, Thunder, that deploys giant gill nets to poach Patagonian toothfish, better known as Chilean sea bass.

“We watched in awe as the 13 killer whales, including a small juvenile and a large male, used the six-meter swell to surf across the bow,” Erwin Vermeulen, Bob Barker’s chief engineer, said in a statement. “For almost an hour the surf-show continued and was accompanied by bow riding, tail-slaps and breaches.”

Sea Shepherd said it was the first time the Ecotype D killer whales were filmed, though that claim was disputed by Ingrid Visser, an orca scientist from New Zealand’s Orca Research Trust. In an email, Visser said the ecotype was filmed in 1955 and again “a few years ago.”

The Ecotype D orca is distinguished by its large, bulbous forehead and extremely small white ovals—or “eye patches”—behind each eye. The population was first identified when a pod was stranded in New Zealand in 1955 and was not seen again for 50 years, according to Sea Shepherd.

“It is believed that there have been approximately 13 sightings to date,” said Sea Shepherd in its statement. “DNA retrieved from the 1955 stranding revealed that Ecotype D's genetic differences point at a divergence from other orcas about 390,000 years ago. This makes Ecotype D the second oldest orca type, and second most genetically divergent.”

The term “ecotype” refers to animal populations that are physically and ecologically distinct from other populations. In some cases, they may be different species or subspecies, so scientists use the term until they can gather more definitive information. There are believed to be eight or nine orca ecotypes in the world.

“Type D killer whale is the most different-looking killer whale that we know of; it could easily be a new species of killer whale, which would make it a candidate for the largest undescribed species of animal we have left on the planet,” Robert Pitman, marine ecologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in an email.

Pitman, who reviewed the Sea Shepherd footage, said the ecotype had only recently been recognized as distinct. “Although it has been photographed a few times, it has never until now been recorded on video,” he said. “Very exciting!”

So why are the whales so elusive?

Their distribution is limited to “some of the most inhospitable ocean waters in the world,” Pitman said. “Few have had the stomach to look for whales in the turbulent Southern Ocean.”

You can also check this link: []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/2015 08:24AM by Alana33.

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

January 07, 2015 11:06AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078



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

January 10, 2015 03:23PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Coming to Your Dinner Plate: Dolphin-and-Whale-Safe Seafood
After decades of delay, the U.S. will ban the import of fish caught in ways that harm marine mammals.

January 07, 2015 By David Kirby

That tasty piece of tuna on your plate may well have been caught at the cost of the life of a dolphin or a whale.

About 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported from countries that do not require fishing operators to avoid killing marine mammals trapped in their nets. An estimated 650,000 whales, dolphins, and other ocean animals perish each year as the bycatch of commercial fishing gear. Such equipment includes gill nets and long lines that stretch up to a mile, with hundreds of hooks baited with fish that marine mammals eat.

That could soon change.

The United States government has finally agreed to issue a warning to the roughly 122 nations that export seafood to this country: Catch your fish in a manner that doesn’t harm whale and dolphin populations, or you cannot sell those products in the U.S.

The government’s move was the result of a lawsuit filed last July by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Turtle Island Restoration Project. On Tuesday, the three groups announced that the government had agreed to settle the legal complaint, which was brought before the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York.

“The U.S. government agreed to adopt new rules that ensure seafood imported into the United States meets high standards for protecting whales and dolphins,” the groups said in a statement. “The long-delayed regulations will require foreign fisheries to meet the same marine mammal protection standards required of U.S. fishermen or be denied import privileges.”

Experts believe most countries will comply with the regulations.

“This market is very lucrative, so it’s not really in their interest to abandon it,” said Nina Young, foreign affairs specialist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. “I would hope they would do their best to reduce their bycatch. We’re certainly interested in working with countries to achieve that end.”

The Marine Mammal Protection Act, passed in 1972, was amended in 1994 to establish standards for how many marine mammals could be killed as bycatch by U.S. fisheries. Today, marine mammal bycatch must be a small fraction of the numbers needed by each species’ population to sustain growth, something known as the Potential Biological Removal level.

Although American fishers have been placed under the world’s strictest bycatch regulations, foreign fishers operate without such limitations.

Under the terms of the settlement, the National Marine Fisheries Service has until June 1 to propose rules on imported fish and fish products, requiring foreign fishers to adhere to the same restrictions imposed on U.S. operators. The agency must issue final regulations by Aug. 1, 2016.

“What this settlement says to the government is that you guys have completely ignored this provision for more than 40 years, and it’s time to actually start doing something about it and make the provision matter,” said Sarah Uhlemann, senior attorney and international program director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

The United States imports about $30 billion worth of seafood each year, much of it from China, India, and Latin America.

“There are places that don’t even track how many marine mammals are caught in their fishing gear, and they certainly don’t have the strong standards that the United States has,” Uhlemann said. “So I do anticipate that this is going to have a very wide-ranging effect on every nation that exports to the U.S.”

How will the new regulations be enforced?

Uhlemann said the process would likely be similar to that required by a federal law, passed in the 1980s, on the import of yellowfin tuna caught in the eastern Pacific.

“That law says the U.S. shall ban imports that don’t meet marine mammal protection standards and requires countries to provide reasonable assurance that their catch complies with U.S. standards, usually through a certification process,” Uhlemann said.

Young said the government shares that goal.

“We’re playing catch-up on the international front—we need to enact a proposed rule that will better reflect what we are asking our own fishermen to do,” Young said. “It’s a matter of leveling the playing field internationally. We have our fishermen, who are highly regulated, and now we’re asking our trading partners to step up as well.”

Why did it take so long for the government to agree to act?

“We deal with developed nations and undeveloped nations, and the complexion of the fisheries are very different,” Young said. “It goes from somebody who has a small net in a coastal village to large trawlers in the middle of the Pacific. So crafting something that’s fair to all those individuals is a daunting task. In some cases, countries are going to have to start over from scratch.”

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2015 03:29PM by Alana33.

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

January 10, 2015 03:32PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

This High-Tech, Biodegradable Fishing Net Could Help Save Dolphins and Whales.

A Spanish inventor hopes to replace abandoned "ghost nets" that kill marine mammals and other sea life.

November 20, 2014 By Zachary Slobig

A biodegradable fishing net lined with radio frequency identification chips promises to dramatically reduce the number of abandoned “ghost nets” that kill thousands of marine mammals and account for an estimated 10 percent of ocean plastic pollution.

Alejandro Plasencia, a Barcelona, Spain–based product engineer who grew up in the Canary Islands, calls his fishing net project Remora, inspired by the symbiotic relationship of the remora fish that attaches itself to sharks.

The net is treated with the biodegradable additive d2w, which the manufacturer claims would cause the polymer to begin to break down after four years. The net is studded with ultrathin RFID transmitters to pinpoint its location so it can be quickly repaired rather than abandoned.

A smartphone app would let fishing boat captains keep track of their nets. Plasencia’s main target is the commercial tuna operators who use the “purse seining” method of fishing, which deploys gigantic nets—some measuring more than a mile wide and 700 feet deep—around entire schools of fish.

“We wanted to find a cheap, simple, unobtrusive piece of technology that would work with the existing systems and cause less negative impact,” said Plasencia. “It wasn’t until we started working with printed electronics to embed the chips into the material that our prototypes went from very chunky to much lighter RFID devices.”

The idea is to encourage fishers not to discard their nets at sea, where they can continue to kill fish, dolphins, and whales for decades.

“In Belgium you get paid to turn in your nets, for instance, but in the Netherlands you have to pay because it’s considered industrial waste,” said Plasencia. “That’s why some fishermen dump them in the sea.”

It’s mostly an invisible problem, say conservation advocates, and there’s been little pressure on industry to innovate.

“Six hundred thousand tons of fishing equipment is lost yearly, according to the U.N., and if you walk on any beach, the majority of debris is fragments of net,” said John Hourston, director of Blue Planet Society, a U.K.-based commercial fishing watchdog group.

The nonprofit organization Healthy Seas, for instance, removed some 32 tons of netting from the North Sea this year. “It’s like picking up a cigarette packet in London—it’s a minuscule amount.”

Innovations like Remora, says Hourston, are long overdue, though the commercial viability and the effectiveness of the biodegradable additive need further scrutiny.

Plasencia estimates his production cost to be 15 percent to 20 percent higher than nets currently in use, but fishers would save money by being able to easily locate the nets for repair.

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

January 12, 2015 08:55AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

5 Signs That SeaWorld Is About to Sink
Catherine Gill
Jan 11, 2015

In some cases, an impending outcome is pretty clear. Like when the victim in a horror film runs away from the predator, but instead of heading outside or somewhere safer, they corner themselves upstairs. Or when you’re driving along the highway with still some road to cover until your destination and your gas light pops on, but you decide that your car must have a “reserve tank” with plenty of gasoline to get you home.

The point is, with certain situations there are clues leading to the obvious fate. You can do what you want to prolong the consequences that are bound to happen, but in the end you can’t stop certain things from occurring when they are inevitable.

SeaWorld’s actions have caused what is likely to be their demise. Not only that, a series of recent events has really got everyone thinking that the end is near for the sea aquarium franchise. The signs are apparent, and SeaWorld is taking a huge nosedive. Here are five undoubted signs that SeaWorld is about to sink.

1. The CEO resigned.

When the captain of the ship jumps overboard, you know things are not great and that a crash is imminent. If that is not telling enough, the former SeaWorld CEO, Jim Atchison, is also getting a huge $2.6 million dollar severance. He is staying on-board as the company’s vice chairman and collecting a severance that is worth more than double his annual salary plus his bonus. Could he be ringing the company dry one final time before SeaWorld’s perceptible shut down? We don’t know, but the humongous payout going to Jim Atchison alone has got to be a huge hit for a company that is trying to stay afloat.

2. Stocks are down.

SeaWorld’s stocks continue to dive to all time lows. In fact, the value of the company’s stocks have plummeted by 38 percent since the beginning of 2014. News of the stock plunge has been making waves in the financial community since SeaWorld’s last disappointing quarter (in a string of many). The marine park’s stocks dipped lower than Wall Street was expecting, each batch in 2014 dropping equaling a total 41 percent decrease for the year. Ouch.

3. Forced to downgrade.

SeaWorld is downgrading in order to cope with consequences of Blackfish and other activist pressure. Although the earnings and share prices have declined, the company is taking action to cut expenses by $50 million. Significantly reducing expenses is likely the only way that SeaWorld can stay above water. They are also laying off a boatload of employees. Layoffs began in December and will continue into 2015.

4. Attendance is low.

Consumer presence is down and is expected to keep dropping. As a matter of fact, earnings fell by 5.6 percent in the third quarter. That means that compared to the same period the year prior, approximately half a million fewer people patronized SeaWorld. Due to the drop in patrons, earnings also fell — by a significant 28 percent. If people refuse to attend, the writing is on the wall. You don’t have a sea park without visitors.

5. Stars are trash-talking.

Following Blackfish, celebrities and public figures did not hide their disdain for SeaWorld. Actually, not only are famous voices deciding against ever supporting sea parks like SeaWorld, they are also urging their fans to do the same. A famous voice is very powerful, especially to young followers, meaning a generation of individuals that are against the idea of captivity is fast approaching. When the “public eye” doesn’t like you, it is just a matter of time before the populace sends you to walk the plank. When even Josh Groban is throwing shade, that is never a good sign.

There are other options available for the franchise that do not include holding majestic animals hostage and will still bring SeaWorld a profit, maybe even more so. If this marine park were to change its model to include wildlife conservation instead of cruel captivity, it could possibly open up to a whole new genre of consumers – maybe even including the activists!

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

January 13, 2015 07:41AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Hi Lan,

This is an inter


Activist sees public shift on dolphins in captivity

SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — Ric O'Barry feels the tide turning in his long quest to change the public's mind about dolphins in captivity.

He went from being a dolphin trainer on the beloved "Flipper" TV series in the 1960s to a notorious activist featured in the 2009 documentary "The Cove," which shows the killing of dolphins in Japan. His methods and protests against keeping dolphins on display often have been unwelcome as dolphin shows are popular and lucrative.

But in the wake of "The Cove" and the documentary "Blackfish," it seems O'Barry's desire to see all dolphins swimming free may have gained mainstream traction.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced last year that it was exploring the feasibility of an oceanside sanctuary where its eight dolphins could retire.

Elected officials nationwide also have taken up the issue of marine mammals, including dolphins. In November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a non-binding resolution stating that whales and dolphins have the right to be free from life in captivity, and the city council of Malibu, California, issued a proclamation in February proclaiming that all whales and dolphins swimming offshore have the "right to their own freedom and lives."

"Validation! I was right! I feel great about that," O'Barry, 75, said recently at his South Miami bungalow. "Yeah, finally! It only took 50 years but they finally get it. They don't belong in captivity, they're admitting that."

O'Barry's still considered an extremist, though, in an industry that questions why healthy dolphins with trainers who care for them would need sanctuary.

"I'm not sure when someone says a dolphin should retire that you're taking care of their mental and physical needs," said Rita Irwin, president-elect of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, which includes over 60 marine parks, zoos and aquariums worldwide.

Irwin also is the CEO of the Florida Keys-based Dolphin Research Center, which in the 1990s took custody of a dolphin O'Barry released into the wild. The center said the dolphin was malnourished, while O'Barry maintained that the dolphin's health was good.

View gallery

In this Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 photo, Ric O'Barry poses for a photograph at his home in Miami. …

Irwin and O'Barry do agree, though, that many dolphins in captivity generally are not good candidates for release because of the amount of time they've spent under human care.

O'Barry didn't always advocate to free dolphins. He once helped capture and train them for the Miami Seaquarium, where "Flipper" was filmed. He had a change of heart after the series ended and one of the dolphins, ailing in a steel tank, died in his arms. Decades of civil disobedience, media campaigns and advocacy followed through his independent organization,

O'Barry argues that dolphins in captivity have no educational value because their activities bear no resemblance to what they do in the ocean. Visitors only see dolphins appearing to play without understanding the damage caused by confining animals that rely on sonar to experience their environment, he says.

"The music is playing and it's your day off, you've got your family with you, the sun is out, the water is a beautiful, magic, sparkling blue, and the dolphin is smiling back at you. There doesn't seem to be a problem. Unless you're hitting the dolphin with a baseball bat, you don't see the optical illusion that I see," O'Barry said.

He wants to see dolphins that can survive in the wild released, and those that can't be retired to open water sea pens where they would be protected from predators and kept from breeding so more dolphins won't be born in captivity. He's cheered by news that some institutions with captive dolphins now may be seeing his way of thinking.

The National Aquarium dropped scheduled dolphin performances two years ago and instead allows visitors to watch trainers work with the animals throughout the day. Now it's evaluating whether a sanctuary or a national dolphin center would be better options for its dolphins as it plans a variety of changes to its visitor experience.

"Baby boomers grew up watching 'Flipper,' while for millennials it was 'Free Willy' and 'The Cove.' Our audience is evolving dramatically, and if we hope to remain relevant, we must ourselves evolve as well," CEO John Racanelli said in an email to The Associated Press.

Other facilities with dolphins are less willing to talk about the influence those recent films have had on their audiences.

Officials at Clearwater Marine Aquarium sought to clarify revisions announced this summer for their dolphin displays. The aquarium is home to the rehabilitated dolphins Winter and Hope, made famous in the "Dolphin Tale" movies, and their interactions with their trainers will remain public, though "we don't do the big Broadway-type shows," said CEO David Yates.

Yates wanted to be clear, though, that he wasn't condemning choreographed dolphin performances. "We're not passing judgment on everybody else, we're just saying what we do," he said.

Last summer, Orlando-based SeaWorld said it would build larger environments for its killer whales. The announcement came amid falling earnings and park attendance and after the public criticism that followed "Blackfish," the 2013 documentary that argued that keeping marine mammals in captivity is inhumane.

While those in the industry call "Blackfish" and "The Cove" propaganda, O'Barry said they helped shift public opinion and push his work out from under the personal guilt he felt over his role in building the public's love for dolphins doing tricks.

"I helped create that mess," he said. "I was doing what I could to stop it, and I was coming from a place of guilt, but not anymore."

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

January 17, 2015 08:31AM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

Stand Against Taiji’s Dolphin Slaughter and Cetacean Captivity This Weekend

Jessica Ramos
Jan 16, 2015

With a little over 40 days left, there’s finally an end in sight to Taiji’s 6 month long dolphin hunting season. In the meantime, activists in London are preparing for a major protest on January 17 to end the dolphin slaughter practice for good.

Taiji Dolphin Hunting Refresher

In case you aren’t familiar with the plight of Taiji’s dolphins or just need a refresher, here’s a quick overview. Every year, in a small Japanese town named Taiji, dolphins are hunted for two main reasons: 1) to be sold as mercury-filled dolphin meat; or 2) to be captured for a sad life in captivity.

Cetacean captivity is really what funds Taiji slaughter. As David Kirby, the same seasoned investigative journalist who authored Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity explains in TakePart, “Taiji fishermen can earn $150,000 or more from selling a single live animal, while one butchered for meat fetches only $500 to $600, an economic reality that keeps the drives in business.” Taiji’s dolphin slaughters are one of the strongest cases against cetacean captivity. All over the world, “105 facilities in about 20 countries import or display dolphins obtained from Taiji.”

The slaughter is an inhumane injustice against non-human persons. Dolphins that aren’t the right species, trainable enough, attractive enough or unique enough will be driven into Taiji’s cove. There the dolphins are mercilessly slaughtered out of the public eye, and the cove waters will run red with dolphin blood. Dolphin pods, or families, will be driven into the cove, and baby dolphins will have to witness their entire families slaughtered in front of them before they’re tossed back in the ocean where they’ll surely die without their mother’s guidance. “The Cove,” an award-winning documentary, brought international attention and outrage to Taiji’s dolphin slaughter; it’s impossible to forget the dolphins’ shrieks.

The Latest Cove Report

The Dolphin Project, led by Ric O’ Barry, a star of “The Cove” and one of the main Flipper trainers who now stands against captivity, has been on the front lines of the dolphin slaughter since the season started. The dolphin activists are there to document and raise awareness, but they can’t interfere with the hunt. The Dolphin Project has recently released a report documenting the dolphin hunting season from September 2014 to December 2014, and here are a few report highlights:

– Season Totals, Year to Date (Sept. 1 through end of December 2014):

367 dolphins slaughtered (Risso’s dolphins, pilot whales, striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and one spotted dolphin). Compared to last season’s 406 slaughtered dolphins within the same time frame.
33 dolphins caught live for captivity (Spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and pilot whales). Compared to last season’s 68 caught for captivity within the same time frame.
85 dolphins were released (mostly juvenile Risso’s dolphins and pilot whales, which face long odds against survival without the rest of the pod). Compared to last season’s 234 released dolphins within the same time frame.
– When the Save Japan Dolphins Campaign began in 2004, around 1,600 dolphins were killed.

– Japan Fisheries Agency gives the hunters a quota of 1,938 dolphins.

– The hunters don’t release the younger dolphins out of compassion. Younger and smaller dolphins would count against their quota, so they’ll usually opt to slaughter the more mature and bigger dolphins.

– “Cryptic kills,” or dolphins lost and injured during the hunt, are not officially counted by Japan Fisheries Agency.

Standing Up for Cetaceans

If you’re moved to stand up for the dolphins and killer whales (who are also dolphins), then this is the perfect opportunity to channel that passion into inspired action. Animal lovers all over the world are standing up and saying no more Taiji dolphin slaughter and no more cetacean captivity this weekend. If you can’t make it to an event, then you can keep the momentum going by doing these five things.

And if you only do one easy thing, then please don’t visit dolphins and killer whales in captivity. I know they’re beautiful and amazing creatures that we love.

Cetaceans only belong to and in the open ocean, not to us.


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

January 17, 2015 02:18PM

Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 12,078

See the Tiny Tank Where This Killer Whale Has Been Confined for 45 Years

Activists campaigning to free the orca Lolita hope video shot by a drone of her Miami enclosure will help their cause.

January 13, 2015 By David Kirby

David Kirby has been a professional journalist for 25 years. His third book, Death at Seaworld, was published in 2012.
full biofollow me
She looks like a goldfish in a bowl, but she’s actually a blackfish in a tank.

A very small tank. See the link below for the drone video footage.


A new video has been posted on YouTube, apparently taken by a drone, showing Lolita, a 22-foot-long killer whale, swimming in furious circles in her diminutive pool at the Miami Seaquarium. For decades, opponents of orca captivity have decried the size of Lolita’s tank. But the overhead perspective of the one-minute video puts her living conditions into stark relief.

“It really drives home how tiny her tank is,” Naomi Rose, an orca researcher and a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, said in an email. “Seeing her logging [resting in place] in it is bad enough, but this bird’s-eye view of her zipping around it at speed is almost worse, as she has to bank and turn so hard so often.”

Andrew Hertz, Seaquarium’s president, criticized the use of the drone to shoot video of Lolita. Doing so, he said in an email, demonstrated “a reckless disregard for the health and safety of our animals, employees and guests.”

As the video shows, Lolita’s home of nearly 45 years is barely bigger than she is. Scientists and activists have consistently complained to the Seaquarium and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act—that Lolita’s tight quarters are illegal.

According to AWA regulations, the width of killer whale tanks must be at least 48 feet, twice the length of the average orca. But the distance between the front of Lolita’s pool and the work island where trainers interact with her is only about 35 feet, according to a 1998 complaint filed with the federal government by the Humane Society of the United States.

Beyond the island is the medical pool, expanding the total width of the tank to 60 feet. APHIS said the extension brings the Seaquarium into compliance. But the island is made of solid concrete, blocking Lolita from swimming in a direct line from one side of the tank to the other.

To access the back pool, Lolita must swim through one of two gates abutting the island, and then only if they are opened.

“The two gates at either end of the center island were irrelevant to this requirement,” Rose wrote in a March 2014 letter to federal officials. “When they are opened, they create a larger circumference for the enclosure, but the regulation does not stipulate a minimum circumference for a cetacean enclosure, only a MHD,” or minimum horizontal dimension.

Meanwhile, decades-long efforts to free Lolita from her pool continue, including a march and rally scheduled for Saturday in Miami.

The Washington-based Orca Network has developed a detailed plan for retiring Lolita to a sea pen in Puget Sound, where she was taken from her family in 1970.

Seaquarium has rejected the proposal.

“Any proposal to move Lolita in any way, whether to a sea pen or to the open waters of the Pacific Northwest, would be irresponsibly experimenting with her life,” said Hertz.

Lolita’s supporters hope the new video will influence public opinion.

“It shows me how Lolita keeps herself as physically fit as possible in that tiny tub,” said Howard Garrett of Orca Network. “Somehow she keeps active by doing those exercises. This tells me she is maintaining her mental and physical health.”

Lolita, Garrett added, “must have faith that one day she’ll return home, or she would probably lapse into the despair that has claimed so many captive orca lives.”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2015 02:22PM by Alana33.

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