August 23, 2010

Exclusive: Dolphins Don’t Just Die in “The Cove”

Posted: 03:39 PM ET

Editor's note: Ric O'Barry will be a
guest on Larry King Live tonight!

by Richard O’Barry
Marine Mammal Specialist
Earth Island Institute

I am in my 50th year of learning about and working with dolphins around the world.  There is no other animal, on sea or land, like the dolphin.  We have spent decades and millions of dollars trying to communicate with them, but they are always trying to communicate directly with us.  They are the only wild animal I know who have saved human lives — not a few times, but repeatedly through history.  They are superbly adapted to the ocean, and make even the best human swimmer look clumsy.

But we have repaid them by killing them, again and again.  Or by keeping them confined in small inadequate cages to do dumb tricks for us.  Isn’t it time we stopped and just let them alone in their ocean world?  Is that really too much to ask in this day and age?  When Kathy, the dolphin that played Flipper in the TV series, died in my arms, I vowed to free every dolphin I could.  I hope the public will join me in this monumental effort for the dolphins.

I’m pleased to announce that a new mini-series, “Blood Dolphins”, will start on August 27th on Animal Planet. My son Lincoln is the director of this compelling show documenting our efforts to protect dolphins around the world.

The first show airs on Animal Planet on Friday, August 27th at 11 PM ET/PT, following the season finale of Paul Watson’s “Whale Wars.”

Lincoln and I and our small “Save Japan Dolphins” crew go back to Taiji for the first time since the release of “The Cove.” At first, the mission appears to work – the hunt is delayed, and a covert swim to the Cove itself shows no apparent preparations to resume the slaughter. But after we leave, we hear that dolphins have again been herded into the killing cove, and we return, this time undercover, to see what is happening in Taiji, the little town with the big secret.

On August 29th, there will be a chance for many to see “The Cove” for the first time. It airs at 9 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet.

On Fridays, Sept. 3rd and 10th, Blood Dolphins will air at 9 PM ET/PT. These next two shows feature our efforts in the Solomon Islands to protect dolphins and stop trafficking in wild dolphins.

In recent years, the Solomon Islands has emerged as a major crossroads in the blood trade in wild dolphins. Dolphin dealing is legal there and has sparked a gold rush among poverty stricken indigenous tribes who have hunted dolphins for centuries and who use dolphin teeth as a form of currency. For Lincoln and I, a mission to The Solomon Islands brings intrigue and danger, as well as high hopes. The most prominent dealer in the islands – a long time dolphin nemesis named Chris Porter – has made overtures to Earth Island, claiming he is ready to quit the business. It could be the opening we need to shut down the captive trade. But to make it pay off, our Save Japan Dolphins team must face down a rival dealer and broker a deal with the native dolphin hunters to stop killing dolphins.

Part Two continues in the Solomon Islands, where our delicate negotiations with the dolphin hunting villages are nearly derailed when a letter signed by several chiefs and parliament members is made public. The letter contains a clear warning that Lincoln and I and our entire team should stay away from the island of Malaita. Soon, however, Lincoln and I discover the letter is a hoax. We proceed to the island and finally enter into an historic agreement with one of the villages to stop hunting dolphins. It is a rare, tangible victory in the fight to save dolphins.

Of course, these showings will also be repeated on Animal Planet later in the year.

This is an exciting series where we show the world our work to protect dolphins in danger. In the process, we hope to inspire you to join our cause.

See the trailer here:

Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive

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Hayley   August 23rd, 2010 4:50 pm ET

i will be watching and getting as many people to watch this. you are my heros, keep it up!

Rock With You Horsegirl   August 23rd, 2010 6:41 pm ET

Keep saving those dolphins! 🙂

Smith in Oregon   August 23rd, 2010 7:01 pm ET

The article claims to have some Dolphin facts in order and yet clearly states 'We have been killing them'.

The same Communist Nation roundly denounced by the entire depraved Republican potty, The Soviet Union was among the FIRST in the entire world to call upon a international BAN on huge nationally subsidized commercial fishery's that use miles long drift nets to equip them to avoid killing the dolphins accidentally, AND demanding ALL Soviet fleets to not have a single cannery ship using drift nets without being equipped to automatically release Dolphins accidentally trapped.

'We' does not include Russia nor any Nation that adhered to the humanitarian request by the former Soviet Union. Such as, Japan who eat's Dolphins and Republican backed commercial fishing corporations that sacrifice thousands of Dolphins to bolster their profits instead of spending a thread bare amount of money to equip their drift nets so Dolphins are not accidentally trapped.

Eating Dolphin meat should be roundly denounced and the world should strongly urge Japan to immediately stop that practice.

American Corporations which routinely receive Millions of taxpayer subsidy's and fully use thousands of tax loopholes should be utterly stripped of their subsidy's and TAXED if they do not use drift nets which are created to automatically release trapped dolphins, sharks, turtles and sea species which are not the intended sea life being harvested. These gigantic corporations are the major killers of dolphins in America's waters and in much of the world.

Tiny numbers of tribes purposely hunting whales, sharks or dolphins are a tiny number compared to the enormous numbers of dolphins killed by vast ocean drift nets and their body's simply dumped overboard. Sure, folks can jump and yell over tribes traditionally hunting whales, sharks and dolphins but that accomplishes very little by focusing on a tree and losing the entire forest.

Democratic lawmakers would have to overcome Republican Potty obstruction, blocks and filibusters but they would be willing and able to pass legislation FORCING commercial fishing in America's waters that use drift nets to only use drift nets with automatic dolphin releases built in, or be totally banned from using drift nets period.

Does the author simply want to jump up and down insulting Pacific Islanders or save Thousands of Times more dolphin's by helping Democratic lawmakers craft 'Drift Net release' legislation for all American waters and encourage the same around the world?

That is the point isn't it? Or are you simply lost in the forest of purpose and focused entirely on insulting and yelling at small tribal customs?

Diane in NJ   August 23rd, 2010 9:07 pm ET

I saw "The Cove" and was horrified, and pissed off. You have my support – this must end!

JFrancis   August 23rd, 2010 9:21 pm ET

Larry King, Sea Would did not want to do a full investigation, because it might make them look bad and hart their profit.

Sophia   August 23rd, 2010 9:36 pm ET

The trainer who worked at Sea World for 35 years was ARROGANT. In the light of what happened to the trainer there is no room to behave this way. He also tried to turn around the subject at hand moving it to dolphins and attacking others instead of speaking of FACTS!! If he was stating facts it was lost in his objective in trying to undermine everyone else credentials and so on. arrogant demeanor and to deter any further conversation about the subject.

governmentunleashed   August 23rd, 2010 9:39 pm ET

I think it is very sad for the dolphins to be doing tricks and live in a tank; they should live on a natural environment. The tragic accident that happened at Sea Would could have been prevented if the dolphin was not forced or trained to do ticks or for used for entrainment porous, they are nice and will not harm people, but when you take a animal out of it’s natural environment, it may not show any stress right away, but it may after a wile.

Sea Would did not want to do a full investigation probably for one reason, and that reason is it might make them look bad or heart their profit.

Sophia   August 23rd, 2010 9:39 pm ET

Last sentence: He only wanted to deter any further conversation on the subject at hand. I do believe the dolphin committed suicide. They are intelligent enough to know this is possible and this dolphin chose to do so instead of trying to kill him which in fact is possible.

Sean   August 23rd, 2010 10:02 pm ET

Ric, I'm on your team! I surf nearly everyday in Huntington Beach, CA, and nearly everyday there are dolphins swimming near me. I whistle softly to them and wave to them under the water, half the time they come right over to me and jump and splash or just to stick their eye out of the water to see me. That's how they say hello to me. I love them, they are the most beautiful creatures on the planet. The only wild animals who will be social and play with humans, let alone save our lives. It absolutely breaks my heart to see them die...

My girlfriend is Japanese, I have friends in Japan, I've been there 7 times in the last 3 years, I have told them about Taiji, and have forwarded info to them. I am trying to make people aware... awareness is the key.

Ric, thank you for everything you are doing! And screw those guys who talk crap about you, they aren't doing anything to help.

I will help you with anything you need!

Suzanne   August 23rd, 2010 10:14 pm ET

You are clearly the HEART behind this, and I agree. I admire the former employee from SeaWorld for coming forward. It's clear that this Thad person- was arrogant, scripted, and obviously had everything to gain by diverting the conversation from speaking about the real issue.
The fact that 165 orcas have died in captivity, and what people like SeaWorld have done to make our own orcas in Puget Sound "endangered" they should be ashamed!
Thank you for ALL you do! You are my hero!

Gerald Jolly   August 23rd, 2010 11:12 pm ET

If the free world refuses to confront Japan on their record of slaughtering Whales and Dolphin.

Then it is fair to asume that they are motivated by fear that Japan wont sell them CARS, T.V.'s COMPUTERS, SHOES, CLOTHING and MAKE-UP

rory calhoun   August 24th, 2010 12:16 am ET

Kidos! Get the whales and dolphins out of Seaworld.... and onto the plates of hungry Japanese people! they're delicious!!!

I had several opportunitites to sample some of them during my time in Tokyo... wonderful.... simply wonderful!

So as long as this clears up, and those tools on WHALE WARS sink their boat one more time, it will be a pretty good world! 😀

Sean   August 24th, 2010 3:57 am ET

Great to see Ric on LKL again, I don't think the cause of dolphins, whales, and the health of our oceans and lakes are covered nearly enough in the media. Once again Mr. O'Barry proves himself to be a friend and protector of marine life and the hacks for Sea World show they are only in it for the profit$.

Colleen   August 24th, 2010 4:28 am ET

A picture certainly tells the story... the SMIRK on Thad Lacinaks face when Mr. O'Barry was trying to speak of Hugo and all the orcas that have died in captivity. Not only was it a DISGUSTING display of arrogance and disrespect for the mammal Sea World claims to love but that face also told just how untouchable this corporation thinks it is.

Shame on you Seaworld

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   August 24th, 2010 8:40 am ET

I take my hat off to Mr Richard O'Barry. It is a very brave and heroic thing that he is doing. God bless him and his team and keep them safe always.

I too saw "The Cove" footage and was appalled. It was one of the most horrible things I have ever seen and I tell you I could never stomach a sight like that ever again. I felt ill.

People can be so ignorant and need educating. All the best in their endeavours.

Betty   August 24th, 2010 5:09 pm ET

I love love love Dolphins, More power to you!!!

Smith in Oregon   August 24th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

The US Navy has teams of suicide Dolphins that they trained to attach bombs to ships, completely undetected. The US Navy routinely uses Dolphins trained to kill swimmers in the waters near submarine bases and in various waterway's they deem are sensitive.

Recently, a team of suicide Dolphins were sold to North Korea.

Where is the outrage in this article over the depraved use of Dolphins by the US Shadow Governmental agency's to plant bombs on ships even when the resulting explosion kills the dolphins in the process?

Suicide drone bombers apparently are not only OK but applauded, has America dropped lower in ethics and morality where Suicide dolphin bombers are OK also?

Dolphins appear to communicate to one another and to their environment almost constantly, doesn't that indicate that Dolphins trained by humans in these most depraved actions would inform Dolphins in the wild what humans have been forcing them to do?

Dodie   August 24th, 2010 6:20 pm ET

There has been for many years controversy regarding the intelligence of the bottlenose dolphin “Tursiops truncates”. There are numerous research studies regarding the bottlenose dolphin and its acute intelligence. It is the only animal that rivals human intelligence. From what we can extract, the bottlenose dolphin has huge vocal and behavior vocabulary.

So the question still remains… Do humans consider the bottlenose dolphin less intelligent because ‘we’ cannot understand their language?

Gerald Jolly   August 24th, 2010 10:56 pm ET

Everyone thinks that America won the war over Japan.

What a joke!!

We dont kill whales or dolphins in America

But in Japan they do.

So tell me about our influence on their culture when we "SO-CALLED" defeated them.

Would "0" be an accurate measure???

Tom Joyce   August 24th, 2010 11:23 pm ET

Responsible intelligent people must continue to support all efforts to protect all the world's wildlife. There are so many animals now on the brink of extinction that it's heartbreaking. The USA doesn't do a good job either. Obama's record on protecting the environment and America' wildlife is dismal and a huge disappointment to me.

Debbie Prodger   August 25th, 2010 10:50 am ET

Please can anyone tell me when the programme Blood Dolphins is on in the UK as i've searched the Animal Planet schedules on Sky and cannot find anything for the 27th Aug.

Dodie   August 25th, 2010 6:46 pm ET

@ Gerald Jolly

Good evening! I think we have been here before. You are correct, we do not eat whale or dolphin meat that we know of; however, our consumed animals are treated in the most horrific situations possible. Beaks of chickens seared with the blade of a hot knife, tails severed from the cattle, and so on. What we do as a country in the name of consumption and money is not only outlandish, but absolutely horrific. This knowledge is never really discussed as the meat industry would collapse if Americans had any idea of what we do. Just go to a slaughter house and see for yourself. It will make you so sick to your stomach.

Now with that said, you are correct.... the Japanese are killing very intelligent and majestic animals... one that have equal intelligence as Homo Sapiens. The core of the problem lies in our vast numbers. We as a species has a voracious appetite and our population is exploding. There is nothing on this planet to curb our vast numbers; and for that reason, we are taking down every species through extermination.

We MUST!!! understand that we live within a biosphere which requires a delicate balance. Until we can see that clearly, we have a bleak future along with all other life forms. We are NOT separate but apart of the 'web of life'!!!

Hayley   August 26th, 2010 11:27 am ET

With you all the way ric, Not that you would, but ignore the people that ramble on about all the other world issues, as if because your trying to solve this one, your doing something bad. You can save the world one step at a time. and these dolphins need you. Also, the people that believe what happens in the cove is "tribal"..are just as callous ad stupid as the people that allow this to happen AND even if it was something of a still shouldnt be allowed. People get away with too much in the name of religeon!

goodluck ric

Mike   August 28th, 2010 12:16 am ET

I love pigs. They are so intelligent! Why don't we start by saving the pigs in the US then we won't have to spend all that money; airfare, hotels, food, rental cars, boat rental, gasoline, etc. in the Japanese economy? It just feeds their ability to hunt whales and dolphins.

mirza   August 28th, 2010 9:42 am ET

Stop the Killings..... PLEASE

Jessica   August 30th, 2010 12:04 am ET

Ric – you are a true hero. Before "The Cove" was released, I was aware of the dolphin hunt in Japan. This brutal practice must stop. The meat is in no way edible, and therefore the Japanese have no basis to continue these practices. I know lots of people love to visit Sea World and "Swim with the Dolphins" in Mexico, etc. . . but what if someone plucked you from your home and forced you to entertain a mass of people. Why are humans so certain that just because this extremely sensitive, smart creature is unable to speak to us that there are no emotions there. They have clearly communicated with humans for centuries. . . saving surfer's from shark attacks. . . swimming with sail boats to say 'hello'. This is how we repay them. . . this is how we treat the most amazing creatures on the earth. It has to end. . . the more people that are touched by this documentary, the closer we get to change. The whaling commission can't do it, we have to.

Steve   August 30th, 2010 8:42 am ET

By no means do I condon this act but, we as nation allow the brutal slaughter of hourses, cows, dogs and other animals but, yet we cry out in protest when another nation hunts for food for their own survival. Again, I don't believe in the method on how this is done especially, when our own fishing industry kills many types of marine life everyday from faulty nettting and over harvesting. When you look at the inhumane behavior that takes place in this countries slaughter houses, farms and puppy mills I think we have to take a good long hard look at our selves first before we start placing judgement on other nations.

Kristen Edwards   August 30th, 2010 12:41 pm ET


I am sickened and horrified beyond belief by the slaughter going on in Taiji. "The Cove" is the most disturbing thing I have ever watched. This is a HOLOCAUST. I feel ready to risk my life to stop this.

I have signed the petitions, I have written the letters, I have contributed –but I want to be more actively involved. What can I do? You have my unqualified support. The fact that September 1st is only a few days away and that the slaughter will continue causes me unbelievable grief. I can't sleep. I wonder what Japanese fishermen would say if a subsection of Americans said it was "our culture and our livelihood" to hunt their children down, pull them from their homes, keep them in pens, and then harpoon them with spears and knives so that they die slowly –then chop up their bodies, disguise it as buffalo meat, and feed it back to their parents. They might object to that,no? But, hey, I could say –it's my livelihood, it's "my culture."

I can't stand that this is happening. I am a writer: other than the letters I have already written, please –tell me what I can do.

Taylor   August 30th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

I recently watched The Cove on Animal Planet when it premiered on the 29th and I am so disturbed and what goes on there. Thank you all so much for your efforts to end this violent and senseless massacre. I will keep spreading the word to family and friends, and I definitely will be tuning in to Blood Dolphins. Thank you so much!!!!

StevenH   September 3rd, 2010 9:24 pm ET

Thanks for bringing light to Taiji. On the other hand most people don't know that Bottlenose dolphins live almost twice as long in captivity than in the wild. It's very well documented. It's a strong indicator that they are not suicidal, or depressed, but very healthy mentally and physically. Their training looks humiliating to you, but the physical and mental exercise it provides is essential.

terry   September 7th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! You are the voice for the dolphins! Thank you, thank you for your tireless effort!

Belinda Haynes   October 26th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

It has happened again today !!!!! Confirmed 52 bottlenose and 7 rizzos all killed. (most likely more than that count)... They killed the babies and mothers too.

Please keep bringing this out for the public to be aware of !!!!!!

We (the world) need to come together and get this horrible autrocity stopped immediately.

Please follow this blog, this 16 year-old girl is doing and amazing thing for the dolphins.

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