Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
Environmentalists have warned the Thai government that new proposed dolphinariums, Pataya Dolphin World and Safari World , featuring dolphins caught in the wild, threatens both the health of wild dolphin populations and Thailand’s reputation as a Dolphin Safe country.
“International live dolphin traffickers are supplying dolphinariums around the world with live dolphins ripped from their families in the wild,” stated Richard O’Barry, Director of the Dolphin Project. “These traffickers care nothing for the good of the dolphins – all they care about is the huge amount of money they get for capturing wild dolphins and selling them to other countries. Traffickers may supply Thailand dolphinariums from the Solomon Islands, Russia or Taiji, Japan, or even Thai waters, resulting in wild dolphins condemned to lives in small tanks and in depletion of wild dolphin populations.”
A live dolphin can be sold for as much as $300,000 or more. Dolphins are sought for oceanariums and for “swim with dolphins” tourist attractions.
“Thailand is an international destination for tourists to experience that country’s wild places and beaches,” added O’Barry. “There is no reason why Thailand needs to take on this headache of importing a few live dolphins for the benefit of international traffickers. We hope the Fisheries and other Departments of the Thai government reject permits for dolphin imports and reaffirm Thailand’s strong support for the protection of wild dolphins.”
Ric O’Barry is in Thailand in conjunction with screenings of the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove, which depicts the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, and the support of the international captive dolphin industry for the hunts. O’Barry is the star of the documentary and will follow up the screenings with answering comments and questions from the audience.
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