Since we’re still haunted by the harrowing, heart-wrenching depiction of the slaughter of dolphins in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, we’re sad to learn that the killing continues in Taiji, Japan, and elsewhere in the world. Ric O’Barry, the one-time Flipper dolphin trainer-turned-activist whose endeavor to save dolphins was the catalyst for The Cove, returns to Taiji with his filmmaker son Lincoln in the premiere episode of Blood Dolphins, a new Animal Planet miniseries launching Aug. 27.
Alas, even global public outcry hasn’t stopped the massacre of dolphins — or their capture for theme parks and aquariums — in Taiji and elsewhere, but as subsequent episodes will show, the O’Barrys have succeeded in halting the practice in the Solomon Islands. “Not only are we showing the problem, but we’re actually going and solving it and doing something about it,” says Lincoln, emphasizing that displaying dolphins in aquariums and theme parks in the guise of education doesn’t equal conservation. “We’re showing you where captive dolphins come from and what an ugly business it is and how tied it is in with slaughter.”
“We have been brainwashed by this multibillion-dollar industry to thinking that dolphins belong in a concrete tank doing tricks for us,” adds Ric, who sports a tiny dolphin tattoo under his left thumb. “I hope people will think twice before they buy a ticket for a captive-dolphin show. That’s the solution to the problem. It’s all about supply and demand.”
While Ric isn’t optimistic about achieving his ultimate goal of no longer being needed, he won’t rest as long as the killing and capture continues, and if that means spending more time with his wife and 5-year-old daughter on Skype than in person, so be it. Says his son, who admits to having “no personal life”: “If there’s a dolphin in trouble anywhere in the world, his phone will ring and we’re off.”
Next stop: Taiji. The annual dolphin slaughter season begins Sept. 1.
How far would you go for a cause you believe in?