Since the early 1990s, the UK has been a dolphin-friendly zone. Born Free, together with other organisations, helped relocate three of the last UK captive dolphins to the Caribbean where, after ‘deprogramming’ they were taught to be self- sufficient and they were released into the wild.
But if you think it is all over and that no-one would, in their right minds, go out and capture dolphins, then think again. The Solomon Islands are preparing to capture up to 30 dolphins to ship primarily to captive facilities in the UAE! Despite international protests from the marine experts (including the Cetacea Specialist Group of the IUCN), NGOs and the Governments of both New Zealand and Australia, it seems that nothing will stop them.
Sadly, there seems little that CITES can or is willing to do. I spoke directly to the Secretary General of CITES on this subject and he said “There are millions of these animals in the sea and tens of thousands die as by-catch. You could hardly describe the live capture of 30 animals as being detrimental to the species”.
I am sorry, it is just not good enough.
The thought of these highly intelligent, social marine mammals being driven mad with fear as they are captured, being programmed to eat dead fish (I was once told by a leading vet that the way you get a dolphin to eat dead fish – not their natural desire – is you drain the pool, grab the dolphin, force feed and repeat ever day until the dolphin gives up and accepts the inevitable) being lugged half-way round the world and then being compelled to perform stupid mindless tricks in pools for a stupid mindless public, makes me mad (where have you heard that before?)
Shame on those who would allow this to take place. Shame on the Solomon Islands for exploiting these animals in this way. Shame on the UAE for perpetuating a practice that should long ago have passed into oblivion.
Please write and politely ask the ministers to abandon this project to:
Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands – Manasseh Sogavare – email address email@example.com.
Fisheries Minister Nollen Leni – email firstname.lastname@example.org
PS Back in June Born Free highlighted this issue as part of its activate campaign – you can download that campaign document here: Activate Solomon Island dolphin campaign