Friday, March 18, 2016

Your Dolphin Outlook Weekly!

Protection Sought for Extremely Rare Dolphin
Taiwanese humpback dolphinsWith their population down to just 75 individuals, Taiwanese humpback dolphins are in trouble much deeper than the shallow waters they swim in -- so last week the Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2014 the Fisheries Service denied a previous petition to protect these dolphins, concluding that their population was indistinct from the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin -- which swims in deeper waters closer to China's coastline and other regions. But new studies show that Taiwanese humpbacks are a distinct subspecies, with unique characteristics, whose numbers continue to decline to alarmingly low levels. Also known in Taiwan as Matsu's fish, these dolphins are born gray and gradually become pink or white with age.

"Taiwanese humpback dolphins could vanish within our lifetimes if we don't help them soon," said Dr. Abel Valdivia, a marine scientist at the Center. "Sadly, small cetaceans around the world are in trouble, and these dolphins are barely hanging on." Read more in our press release.
End Dolphin Captivity in Hawaii. The Hawaiian waters are home to several species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales). However, not all of Hawai‘i's cetaceans are living in their natural habitat. Two of the eight major Hawaiian Islands have facilities where these animals are confined to a life of captivity, offering marine mammal performances that prohibit their natural behavior. Over 86,000 signatures. Please keep sharing!
O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island currently have facilities that offer marine mammal performances, having chosen not to follow in Maui County’s footsteps -- Maui County, which includes the islands of Moloka‘i, Maui, Kaho‘olawe, and Lāna‘i, banned the exhibition of cetaceans in captivity in 2002. And larger governments have taken a stand as well: both New York state and South Carolina have passed legislation regarding marine mammal captivity, and at least 14 other countries have also banned such practices.
From boat tours to hotel balconies, Hawai’i offers visitors numerous opportunities to see dolphins in their natural habitat. It is unnecessary to isolate them from their marine environment and make them perform abnormal behaviors that ultimately provide inaccurate education. Please join me in asking Gov. David Ige to put an end to the captivity of dolphins and whales for human entertainment on the islands of Hawai’i by putting a moratorium on further facilities and refusing to allow other parks to replace cetaceans that have passed away.
Sea Life Park alone -- one of the unfortunate places where tourists can see cetaceans in captivity -- has had a host of deaths for various reasons. According to the National Marine Inventory Report (2013), deaths included malnutrition, food poisoning, debilitation, drowning, and failure to thrive. Dolphins and whales in captivity simply don’t fare well, and we should end this terrible practice.  
Cetaceans play a critical role in the ecosystem, and to remove them from it is a misrepresentation of their importance and of Hawaiian values. As Hawai‘i's state motto "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono" declares, the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. Restoring this imbalance in our ecosystem, education, and ethics is essential for this generation and those to come.
Join me and let’s tell Gov. Ige “enough is enough.” Ask him to put an end to cetacean captivity in Hawai‘i.
This petition will be delivered to:
Governor David Ige
Senator Brian Schatz
State Representative Kaniela Ing
State Representative Nicole Lowen
State Representative Joseph Souki
State Senator Ronald Kouchi