By Kerry O’Brien
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
NOTE: For three days in the row, the Cove waters remain blue, as weather keeps the dolphin hunters from finding any dolphins to hunt. Tia and Johanne will remain in Taiji, while Kerry, as noted in her blog below, heads back to New Zealand. My deepest thanks to all three for their unselfish support for the dolphins! — Ric O’Barry
Today, sadly, I leave Japan. I had just one week free from my busy schedule of three teenagers and my work at home in New Zealand, so I thought one week is better than nothing. I am so glad I came.
As difficult as it is to be here at times, I do love Japan and her lovely people.
I went back to the Taiji Whale Museum to say goodbye to all the beautiful ones held captive there. To my surprise, quietly, in a corner, there were two dolphin trainers training Hope and Faith! Those two pantropical dolphins were amazing. Though it saddens me hugely to see dolphins have to perform to get food, it was remarkable to see how alert and with it they both are in their new outside, bigger tank. So it seems they will live for now and (unfortunately) be made to perform degrading and humiliating tricks to survive.
The bottlenose dolphins in the next pool were performing tricks and launching themselves out of the pool to get the trainers’ attention to get food. They must constantly be hungry, and tears filled my eyes behind my sunglasses as I took pictures.
The little striped dolphin (caught 25th Oct 2012), who was spy hoping and looking totally bereft with them in the same pool, was not there! I looked all over the museum and could not find the dear little soul anywhere. I asked several trainers, but they just blanked me, refusing to answer my questions, and I asked a well-dressed gentleman in the office who spoke English (The Curator?) – he actually denied he worked there – it was bizarre!
The dolphin did not look sick enough to me yesterday to have perished overnight, but who knows? I have long given up trying to second-guess these particular people. Perhaps they read my blog on SaveJapanDolphins.org this week and moved the dolphin out of the public eye? I just don’t know. It’s tragic whatever has happened.
I leave here today, carrying each dolphin in my heart – those who have perished and those still existing in in the heartbreaking conditions of captivity.
Thank you Save Japan Dolphins for the privilege of representing you, and to my buddies Tia and Johanna – both fantastic ladies and friends. I will return when I can; I pray and always hope it will not be for much longer.