Ric O’Barry: From dolphin trainer to a dolphin activist

Ric O’Barry – “I feel somewhat responsible because it was the ‘Flipper’ TV series that created this multi-billion-dollar industry (oceanariums). It created this desire to swim and kiss dolphins. It created all these captures”

Many adults and children are like enjoy seeing Dolphins or Orca jump meters high above water, play hoops with their snouts, and waddle their tail upright in water. Play with balls. With their capacity to please the crowd, dolphins may be next to humans when it comes to entertainment. But dolphin-entertainers may have been captured through illegal means.

The 2010 Oscar Best Documentary Feature, “The Cove,” reveals the annual practice of traders in a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, of ensnaring dolphins for the worldwide market in dolphin entertainment. Dolphins who cannot be trained and which fail to make the grade are killed. The result is the annual slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins! The captivity the big number of dolphins family with net to the cove, then slaughtered them. Sometimes the calf not been killed, then release back to the ocean. But nobody knows, without their family, the calf can’t survive, disoriented, the die in all alone. The documentary’s chief resource person is Richard “Ric” O’Barry, the dolphin trainer of the hit 1960s TV show “Flipper.”

Ric was in town recently to campaign against dolphin entertainment and see for himself Philippine efforts to provide sanctuaries to endangered dolphins.In an interview with 2bU, Ric said he trained the dolphins in “Flipper” without any manual or previous knowledge of how to relay messages to dolphins. From being a dolphin trainer, Ric became a dolphin activist after his dolphin Kathy, who played Flipper, “committed suicide”. “She was really depressed. She committed suicide… in my arms,” Ric said.

He explained that unlike humans, dolphins and other whales are not automatic air breathers. “Every breath they take is a conscious effort. And so, they could end their life whenever it becomes too unbearable by not taking the next breath.” After Kathy’s death, the next day he was in jail for trying to free dolphins from a laboratory. Since then, he has been known for advocating dolphin freedom. For the past 40 years, he has been freeing dolphins across the globe. He said the campaign has sometimes taken him away from his family.

So, do you still want to watch a dolphin circus? Still think that what they’re doing is funny, because that is all they want? I guess you will know the real answer. And for me, I’ll never go to dolphin circus, anymore, in my entire live.

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