As the World Series rages on, Blackfish has been shown several times on CNN over the past few days. The ratings have shot through the roof as the film ranked #1 in cable news during the debut screening with a total of 1.36 million viewers. The film ranked #1 in page views on CNN films as well.
CNN covered the film with major publicity throughout the week. They repeatedly invited SeaWorld to be part of the conversation, yet they were repeatedly denied. This is the same scenario that Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish director, faced as she put the film together. David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, experienced the same unwillingness to contribute while researching for his book.
Instead, CNN aired several debates with other spokespeople speaking out in defense of SeaWorld and captivity in general. These debates included input from Jack Hanna, Bill Hurley of Georgia Aquarium (who incidentally has also appealed NOAA’s decision to deny the recent beluga whale import permit) and Grey Stafford. Those who were speaking out for captivity clearly did not bring a strong enough case to justify the practice now that we know better. Hopefully SeaWorld will take note.
CNN conducted a poll, and public opinion has shown an overwhelming 90% now against captivity. This gives SeaWorld the amazing opportunity to be a leader in the industry and do the right thing. Dr. Naomi Rose explains it best as the opportunity to be a win-win situation for trainer safety and orca welfare by creating sanctuaries where captive orcas to be rehabilitated and retired.
It is not realistic to demand that all captive orcas be released since many have been bred in captivity and are not good candidates. However there is no reason why they can’t invite the public to visit these sanctuaries from a safe distance and use current trainers to help these animals adjust to being wild animals again. No shows.
So what’s it going to be SeaWorld? It’s time for you to step up to the plate.
Mainly due to heavy winds and rains, it has been a BLUE WEEK in Taiji all week, for a total of 20 consecutive days of no dolphin killing or capture!
Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians report last Sunday, Dolphin Base in Taiji has added another drape to prevent viewing or photographing a lone beluga. I can’t help but wonder how this beluga and the dolphins in the sea pens have coped with the storm, being slammed against the walls of the tiny enclosures.
Monday was the only day the fisherman were able to go out due to weather and thankfully they came back empty-handed. I hope all in Japan stay safe during the storm, but I am thankful that the dolphins passing by have remained safe.
Have you seen the Dolphin Project’s new PSA teaser?
Please sign Ric O’Barry’s petition to President Obama to ban all whale and dolphin captures from US waters. This is SO IMPORTANT!
This has been a good week for the dolphins passing by Taiji this week! Due to the weather, the fisherman remained docked for the majority of the week.
Last Sunday was the second day of the festival in Taiji, so there was no hunting. On Monday, the boats returned empty-handed. Monday was also Ric O’Barry’s birthday! Happy Birthday to Ric!
For the next 2 days, Taiji endured major wind and rain as a typhoon hit. While this gave the dolphins a break, I do not wish any ill will toward the people of Japan and I hope they all remained safe. I can’t help but wonder about the dolphins who were being kept in sea pens. This could not have been a good situation for them being slammed around in such a small space.
Here is a photo of dolphins swimming in debris in the sea pen from Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians. All reportedly survived.
On Thursday, the fisherman attempted to hunt again but returned empty-handed once again.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse again yesterday and this morning with reports of a second typhoon headed their way.
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project shared this photo of what appears to be new sea pens being constructed for future captives.
Good news for the dolphins and pilot whales! It has been 13 days of BLUE!
This has been a blue week for the most part in Taiji. Sunday, the fisherman went out and came back empty-handed, and the blue trend continued for the next three days. This was particularly good news since the fisherman were officially permitted to begin the slaughter per their WAZA agreement starting on October 1.
Thursday, the banger boats found a pod and started driving them into the cove but the dolphins got away. What a celebration – 15 days of blue!
Unfortunately the celebration all came to an end on Friday when a large pod of pilot whales were herded into the cove and netted off, left overnight. Cramped, scared and hungry, this pod was left to await the slaughter that was surely expected this morning. However, due to heavy rain and strong wind this morning, the slaughter was delayed.
According to Melissa Sehgal’s facebook page:
Heavy rain and strong wind delay slaughter. This family of Pilot whales continue to fight the strong current and keep getting tossed by high tides against nets and rocks. There are juveniles and many young babies less than a few months old within this pod. Chances of survival for the young are very slim after adult mother whales are slaughtered. For more details visit www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/
I can’t imagine how panicked and hungry they must feel after being cramped and hungry for 2 days. How cruel!
Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians took a break from the cove this week to film this video of dolphins at night in the Taiji Whale Museum. It is heartbreaking to watch them bored and calling out.
You can also read a commentary by Scott West
regarding IMATA’s stand towards dophins being taken into captivity by drive fisheries.