Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dolphin Outlook

As 2016 comes to a close, I am filled with a sense of hope. This year, we have done much to build awareness about the suffering of dolphins, and have witnessed real and positive changes through global outreach efforts. Dolphin Project has been involved in crucial projects and campaigns in Japan, UK, Indonesia, Netherlands, the Solomon Islands, Mexico, Germany, Greece and the United States in our efforts towards ending dolphin abuse. 

Successes from this year include: 

  • Returning to the Solomon Islands to help tribes transition away from traditional dolphin hunting drives and building a kindergarten for children. 
  • Ric O’Barry addressing the House of Representatives in The Netherlands, calling for the captivity of dolphins to be abolished. 
  • Returning to “The Cove” in Taiji, Japan for the 14th consecutive season to Live Stream and document the dolphin drives taking place there. 
  • Launching multiple campaigns in Indonesia, including a massive advertising initiative emphasizing 
#DontBuyATicket to a Dolphin Show. 
This #GivingTuesday Give For Blue!
We have exciting initiatives planned for 2017, but they are only achievable with your help. When you donate to Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, know that you are aiding the longest-running anti-captivity dolphin welfare organization in the world. 

This week in Taiji, The Dolphin Project Ambassador, Environmentalist and Race Car Driver Leilani Münter reports live as the last hunting boat docks. #DolphinProject. Check out her live feed here!
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Leilani Münter Message: After five years, today I'm finally returning to Taiji and I did not get a very warm welcome from Japan last night. Despite having never broken a law, and being half Japanese (my mother was born and raised in Hawaii but is of full Japanese decent) I was detained and interrogated at Narita Airport in Tokyo by immigration for over 3.5 hours before finally being allowed to enter the country under restrictions: I can only stay for 15 days and had to sign an agreement with immigration saying that I will not break any Japanese laws while I am here - even though, as I said, I have never broken the law. Customs took out every single item in my bags to examine - turning my socks inside out, looking for hidden pockets and sorting through every piece of my underwear - strange to watch. Apparently I'm on their "friend of Ric O'Barry" list.

I was in Taiji three times in 2010 and 2011 and they were such heartbreaking trips I honestly didn't know if I would ever return. I came back only becauseRichard O'Barry has been banned from entering Japan for five years and I felt like it was my duty to come back here for him. The last time Ric was here (Jan 2016) he was detained for 19 days and lost 22 pounds during that time -- that is not humane treatment for a 76 year old man. This upset me and is one of the reasons why I bought a plane ticket to come back.

I cannot stand in Ric's shoes because we don't wear nearly the same size, but I can stand in his vest. As I ride this train into Taiji, I am proudly wearing the vest Ric wore in the documentary The Cove - the film that gave life to the anti-captivity movement and inspired millions of activists to join the fight to end these horrific dolphin slaughters.

Follow Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project to stay up to date on what is happening at The Cove in Taiji.

On Thursday, This pod of Striped Dolphins has been slaughtered in the cove. The sound was one of the most horrific parts of the slaughter, as they threw still alive dolphins onto the skiffs. No tradition is worth covering up unless you have something to hide.
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And on Sunday this week, A large pod of approximately 70 Pantropical spotted dolphins were driven into #TheCove, resulting in 18 being selected for "life" in captivity. It would appear one dolphin died in transport. The rest of the pod (around 52) were driven back out to sea. This is the first capture of Pantropical spotted dolphins this season, and none were caught during the 2015/16 season. The pod endured four hours of trauma in the name of "entertainment" and profit. 12:13pm 2016.12.12 #DolphinProject
A Toxic Threat Is Killing Off Europe’s Killer Whales and Dolphins. Researchers find high exposure to PCBs could drive some marine mammals to extinction.
The United Kingdom’s rare killer whales have not had a successful birth since 1990 and will go extinct, say researchers. (Photo: Nienke van Geel Hebridean)

European killer whales and bottlenose and striped dolphins suffer from the highest levels of now-banned industrial chemicals ever recorded, according to a study released Thursday.

The contamination has harmed their ability to successfully bear young, scientists report. As a result, some dolphin and European resident whale populations have vanished, and others are likely to go extinct—including a pod of killer whales off the coast of the United Kingdom that has dwindled to just eight individuals and has not produced a calf since 1990.

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers compiled data on concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls in tissue samples from 1,081 marine mammals, including killer whales, harbor porpoises, and striped and bottlenose dolphins. The samples came from animals in the U.K., Ireland, Spain, France, and elsewhere.

They found that even though PCBs have been banned in the U.K. and the European Union since the 1980s, striped and bottlenose dolphins and killer whales carried amounts of the chemicals in their bodies that far surpassed the levels known to cause health problems such as reproductive failure.

While the level of PCBs in marine mammals in the United States has continued to decline since the chemicals were banned, contamination remains level among those in the waters of industrialized Europe. Scientists are not sure why, Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society of London, the study’s lead author, said during a meeting with reporters.

“The answer to that is neither easy nor straightforward,” he said. “But mitigation measures should really involve dealing with historic and current industrial uses in old equipment—transformers and things, in electrical equipment—PCBs leaking out of landfill into rivers, PCBs in marine sediments, which are often dredged to keep shipping lanes open, which makes them more bioavailable to get into the marine food chains.”

PCBs are manufactured chemicals that were widely used in inks, flame retardants, electrical equipment, and other products and machinery during much of the 20th century. Health and environmental concerns led the United States, the U.K., and the European Union to phase out PCBs during the 1980s, but they remain persistent in the environment.

“One of the things that is particular about them is they dissolve in fat tissue,” Jepson said. “Animals will ingest them in their diets, and then the PCBs will pass through the gut into the bloodstream and then eventually settle out in the fat tissue, in the blubber.”

As a result, predators high on the food chain, such as marine mammals, are at risk of consuming concentrated amounts of PCBs with their prey and then storing them in their own bodies, a process called bioaccumulation.

When female dolphins and whales nurse their offspring, they pass much of the contamination along with the fat in their milk, Jepson said, “at a time when the new calf is very vulnerable.”

The U.K.’s killer whales, which are known to consume a lot of seals, showed PCB levels in excess of 250 milligrams per kilo of fat, Jepson said, while killer whales off the Icelandic and Norwegian coasts, which consume mostly herring, showed only 25 milligrams per kilo.

Some marine mammal populations off the coasts of Spain, Portugal, and France are also failing to reproduce and are at risk of extinction because of PCB contamination, he said, adding that about 1.1 million tons of PCB-contaminated materials in the European Union still await proper disposal.

“Despite regulations and mitigation measures to reduce PCB pollution,” Jepson said, “the levels are so high they will have toxic effects.”

Ending Japan's Dolphin Killing

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We've ratcheted down dolphin deaths in Taiji, Japan by more than 60% since initiating our campaign. We're educating people in Japan about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat. We participated in a successful lawsuit against the infamous Taiji Whale Museum. And we are working around the world to block the export and import of dolphins captured for lives in captivity. 

We won't stop until this cruel slaughter is over.

Tell These Football Teams to Punt SeaWorld From Their Schedules!

The Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars, and the Wyoming Cowboys are all playing in bowl games in San Diego this month, and they're considering making a visit to SeaWorld while they're there—despite hearing from PETA that the abusement park confines intelligent, socially complex orcas to barren concrete tanks, where they often die decades short of their natural life expectancy.

orcas at SeaWorld
SeaWorld has been facing a public-relations disaster ever since the release of the documentary Blackfish, which exposes the company's mistreatment of animals for profit. Park attendance has plummeted, hundreds of employees have been laid off—including 320 just this month—corporate partners have severed ties, and it has been forced to end its sordid orca-breeding program. But none of this achieves anything for the 23 orcas, more than 100 other dolphins and whales, and countless other animals currently languishing in the company's chlorinated prisons.

In the wild, orcas travel up to 100 miles every day. At SeaWorld, they're confined to tiny tanks, grouped incompatibly, and deprived of everything that's natural and important to them. Because of the intense stress and frustration of captivity, they can become neurotic, self-destructive, and physically ill. At least 38 orcas have died on the company's watch from causes such as severe trauma, intestinal gangrene, and chronic cardiovascular failure. Not one has come close to the maximum life span for an orca in nature.

Please tell the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the BYU Cougars, and the Wyoming Cowboys that supporting SeaWorld is a major fumble and that they should punt the company from their schedules until it sends all the animals it holds captive to seaside sanctuaries.

Freeing Orcas and Dolphins From Captivity

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We're leading the way to ensure that SeaWorld and other captive facilities end the forced breeding and circus shows by orcas and dolphins. It's time that these amazing animals are allowed to retire to seaside sanctuaries. We've taken on the multi-billion dollar SeaWorld corporation with a pioneering legal challenge, and we played a key role in the California Coastal Commission's ban on orca breeding. 

Saving Dolphins and Whales

protestmarsch-zum-ministerium2016-10-130.jpgWe helped expose a dangerous scheme to capture orcas and dolphins by the notorious Ryazanowska, currently in a Namibian port. If this isn't stopped, hundreds of whales and dolphins will be ripped from their families in the wild for proposed sale to China. We're pressing the Namibian government to reject all permits for this plan immediately.

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We spearheaded an investigation revealing two secret and illegal wild dolphin captures in the Solomon Islands to obtain dolphins for sale to foreign theme parks. We provided our  findings to the Solomon Islands government which took immediate action to seize and release all 30 of the captured dolphins back to the wild.   

These are just a few of the efforts by our dedicated team working to make the world safe for dolphins and whales.
Our work touches many corners of the globe, and we can't do it without your help.

We know what needs to be done. With your donation - we can do it. I promise you we will make your donation go a long way.

On behalf of all dolphins swimming in their natural ocean homes and those that are desperate for our help, thank you again for your critical support.

With a monthly sustaining donation we'll send you a copy of Susan Casey's bestseller "Voices in the Ocean", a beautiful Save Japan Dolphin Campaign t-shirt, or a "Blackfish" movie DVD (all with free shipping).

Take the Pledge NOT to buy a Ticket to a Dolphin Show:
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