By Suzette Ackermann
(NOTE: Suzette Ackermann returns to Taiji as a Cove Monitor. Not only does she pay her own way to come to Taiji, she has also raised money for our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign to help bring Japanese activists to Taiji. She is joined for the next two weeks of the hunt season by Terran Baylor and Nic Rouge. I thank all of them for coming to Taiji to let us all know what is happening in this, the last two weeks of the 2013-2014 hunt season. May it be the last season! — Ric O’Barry)
On Feb. 17th, I managed to get into the Taiji Whale Museum; it was no problems at all. Angel has been moved into an indoor tank, which will help with her sunburn problem. This tank has a clear tunnel walk-through for the public.
She is in a tank with four other dolphins. The conditions in the tank were terrible, with green water and fungus on the walls, so it seemed to me that nobody really cares about cleaning the tanks. In the background, you could hear the laughter of kids as they were obviously in awe of these amazing beings, but have no idea of how these dolphins got here, and what stresses they went through.
She seemed to me to be a bit more interactive with the other dolphins, as she tried to swim close by them. She kept on swimming in small circles, circling the same area, while the other dolphins seemed to roam a bit more freely around the tank.
I tried to move to the other side of the tank, but could not capture a photo of her from there as she stayed in the same spot circling, so I went back to the other side of the tank.
She showed no interest in coming closer to the glass window, as the other captives did. Instead she seemed to keep her distance.
She is so beautiful, and she clearly stood out, a true Angel of the ocean. She looked so angelic as she swam, but to see her and the other captives in this tank made my heart sink. Thoughts rushed through my mind: ” I wonder what must be going through their minds?”
As for Angel, my heart broke as the Taiji Whale Museum is clearly going to try to keep her to make money out of her. They have even put up a new sign, introducing her.
This was my first time to see Angel; I have been following all the posts on her since her capture. I hope and pray that she can be released back into the wild, and she can find a pod that will accept her, as Ric O’Barry and the Dolphin Project Team have proposed.
This is heartbreaking – to have a young baby ripped apart from her family, all for money and the entertainment of humans.
I honestly don’t know how she is going to survive. I have questions going through my mind.. will she be able to survive in this horrid captive situation?
To me Angel represents HOPE…I honestly believe that she has made more people aware of this terrible captive industry.
To me she will always be an Angel of hope – hope to end the captive dolphin industry in the future.
Never buy a ticket for a Captive Dolphin Show. Born Free….
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is seeking to remove Angel from the Taiji Whale Museum and put her in a sea pen or protected cove, where her health can be evaluated and the possibility of releasing her into the wild might be explored. Help us by sending a letter to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asking him to help free Angel and end the Taiji dolphin hunts.
Photos by Nic Rouge and Video by Suzette Ackermann.