Interview published in La Vozde Almeria, November 22, 2012
Ric O’ Barry, founder of Dolphin Project:
“The solution for Marcos is to create Europe’s first Dolphin Sanctuary”
Dolphin trainer of the famous television series, Flipper; star of the Oscar winning documentary, The Cove; and founder of Dolphin Project…. Ric O’Barry has become dolphins and cetacean’s’ biggest advocate and activist around the world.
For the past couple of days, Ric has spent his time in Almeria working and helping Promar with dolphin Marcos, “the most beautiful dolphin in the world”.
When did you start working with these animals?
I was 22 years old when I started working at the Miami, Seaquarium. My first year I captured dolphins for Spain (Barcelona’s Zoo), Germany, England… Then I started training them… And then the Flipper series came along, where I worked for 7 years. In 1970, when Cathy (Flipper) died, my life changed forever.
How did you hear about Marcos’ case?
I was on my way back from Japan, and I received an email from Promar asking me to come here to help rehabilitate and free the world’s most beautiful dolphin. (he smiles)
What type of work are you going to do here?
I’m going to help rehabilitate Marcos… I have done this type of work for many decades now in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil… I want to share what I know with Promar.
Could you give us an example of how you are planning to help Marcos?
Right now I want to use my name and public image to help raise money for Promar. They need money in order to help Marcos. Marcos needs medicine and has special needs… Promar has done an amazing job so far. Difficult times are coming our way though. Promar thought it was going to be relatively fast and easy to free Marcos back into the ocean… However, he still has health issues.
What do you mean by difficult times?
I’m taking about critical weather conditions – Winter (December – March). It’s going to be hard go get into the water and get blood tests. Marcos cannot stay where he is right now for much longer… There’s way too much traffic (boats). He can’t stay here and at the same time he can’t be freed into the ocean right now.
What is the solution then?
The solution is to create Europe’s first sanctuary. Southern Spain is the perfect place to do it.
He could be rehabilitated there… It’s exactly what he needs and what he’s asking for. Like the Rolling Stones’ song: Give me Shelter.
How are you planning on doing it?
Well, right now volunteers from Promar are looking at the best place to build the sanctuary.
Could you tell us about the sanctuary?
It’s very similar on what they have built here. The sanctuary needs to be in a more natural place/space… Away from boat traffic… A place where he can be and feel safe.
It needs to be deep enough for him to swim but at the same time there’s also the need to have a shallow place in order for us to have contact with him and get the proper veterinary care. A sanctuary is not a tank, is not an aquarium. A closed, compact space would stress him tremendously. That is why it’s so imperative for Promar to get financial help from people around the world.
How are you planning on doing this?
Well, right now we are heading to the schools. I have brought a couple cases of the books I wrote and copies of different movies… We will give them for free to the first 20 people who donate 100 euros. We will have press conferences… We will try everything to create awareness about Marcos’ case and hopefully get financial support from people.
What do you think about captive dolphins?
They don’t represent “real life” dolphins, just as Micky Mouse doesn’t represent a true mouse.
That is one of Promar’s main objective: they don’t want Marcos to end up in an aquarium, living in a tank doing tricks like a clown. Marcos needs to feel the ocean, the waves, the ocean’s sound… Even though he is captive right now, he’s not in a tank.
What are some of the projects you are currently working for “Dolphin Project”?
Right now, Dolphin Project is working to save Marcos and help Promar (he smiles). Yesterday it was
Japan… Today is Almeria. We need to help Promar build a sanctuary for Marcos.
Would you like to add anything else?
I would like for you to include Promar’ information in order for people to help and donate money. If not, this interview would have been for entertaining purposes only. We need to send a worldwide message on how Spain cares and respects nature. The entire world needs to get involved.
Help Promar: Cajamar
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