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Keiko "Free Willy" is Dead! Dec. 12th, 2003
Pneumonia is being listed as the most likely cause of death for celebrity whale Keiko, who made Norway his home late last summer after surfacing in a western fjord. Local officials are calling Keiko's sudden demise "downright sad."

Dolphin slaughter for captive trade

Scroll down to read the full stories on these listed topics:

1) Dolphinaria in Mexico - A Critical Report

Many people enjoy the wonders of Mexico, not only the resorts but the dolphinariums that display captive dolphins. Few people know how these dolphins suffer, or how unregulated, inhumane and horrific Mexico's dolphin display industry is. Mexico is a major source of captive dolphins for other countries and many dolphins die as a result of overall conditions.

2) Free Corky

The 11th of December 2005 marks the 36th Anniversary of Corky's capture, the female killer whale held at Sea World, San Diego, USA.

3) Campaign Bycatch

2001 has been the worst year ever recorded for dead dolphins being washed up on the shores around Devon and Cornwall

4) Dolphins and Whales in Captivity

Marine parks deprive aquatic animals of natural habitats and interaction with others of their species. Marine mammals such as dolphins and whales are held in captivity for the entertainment and amusement of humans.

5) Sonar - Over the Whale's Dead Bodies (external link)

6) Japan Defies International Law By Continued Whaling

During the first week of November each year Japanese whaling vessels leave the ports of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi in western Japan bound for the Antarctic to catch another haul of Minke whales. Then later into the North Pacific for even more destruction of the Minke populations.

Dolphinaria in Mexico - A Critical Report

Many people enjoy the wonders of Mexico, not only the resorts but the dolphinariums that display captive dolphins. Few people know how these dolphins suffer, or how unregulated, inhumane and horrific Mexico's dolphin display industry is. Mexico is a major source of captive dolphins for other countries and many dolphins die as a result of overall conditions.

A major campaign has begun to educate the public, create some laws and force the industry to change and now you can read a report which provides a first ever critical review of 19 of Mexico's dolphinaria and swim with the dolphin programs. It documents how dolphins in Mexico are cruelly captured from the wild to suffer short lives in unnatural environments, trained even by starvation to perform and interact with tourists.

As you will read in the report some examples of extreme cruelty in the Mexican dolphinarium industry include: dolphins held in an overheated pool on an Acapulco beach, dolphins inhumanely displayed in traveling circuses around Mexico and belugas being held in a very noisy pool beneath a roller coaster. The report calls for urgent action to be taken by the Mexican government to regulate dolphin captures and displays and to enforce legislation to regulate the nearly uncontrolled trade in captive marine mammals for commercial profit.

During 1999 at least three bottlenose dolphins met their deaths while on display in a traveling circus and these exhibitions continue to risk the lives of the animals involved due to dangerous transportation, lack of veterinary assistance and the difficulties of readapting to each new captive situation. Although Mexico's captive cetacean industry displays a majority of bottlenose dolphins, other cetaceans have also been displayed including Keiko the famous 'Free Willy' killer whale. This whale was held for almost 11 years at the Reino Aventura dolphinarium before being transferred to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for the first stage of his rehabilitation program.

Fishermen and the local strandings network on the Yucatan Peninsula have both been involved in the capture of live dolphins and increased knowledge about the lives of wild cetaceans has made it increasingly difficult to justify the abuse and financial exploitation of these animals for display in commercial dolphinaria. While the educational content of dolphin displays is poor at best, facts about the cruelty of dolphin captures and unhealthy captive environments are hidden from the public's eye.

Free Corky

The 11th of December 2000 marked the 31st Anniversary of Corky's capture, the female killer whale held at Sea World, San Diego, USA. Corky's family makes a habit of visiting Johnstone Strait. She was only approx. 4 years of age on that fateful day when amidst a violent storm the whale family entered Pender Bay, British Columbia to be surrounded by nets and torn apart. That the family survived at all is a testament to the tenacity with which Orcas maintain their traditions. The remaining members included adult females from each of four matrilines and over the years they managed to rebuild the family, so today, two generations away from capture, it is strong again.

Change is obvious, however. In 1977 the oldest member, Corky's grandmother A7 died then in 1990, Eve (A9), then Saddle (A14) in 1991. In 2000 Corky's mum Stripe(A23) died and recently the pod's namesake Top Notch (A5) himself. That now leaves Corky's aunt Licka (A8) as the sole living member of the family Corky was born into. There are others in the larger community that Corky knew and that knew her but of Corky's closest family there is now just one.

Simply put, that means that time is running out for this whale. Though the A5 pod lives on and will continue, Corky's best chances of returning to a normal life in the ocean lie with her ability to renew known family ties. Our best hopes for understanding more about Orcas and there society lie there also. A great and wonderful opportunity is being lost to us all and the tragedy of Corky's fate is reaffirmed every day she remains a captive.

As Corky enters her 32nd year within walls, we renew our commitment to her. We do not know where the key to Corky's freedom lies hidden but we will continue to seek it and invite you all to join our quest. Please check out the "How to help Corky" page and write a letter, make a phone call or begin a new patch for Corky's Freedom banner ......and please spend some of your time today thinking about Corky and what may yet be. In doing so, you will joining the circle of caring for Corky that already goes around our world many times. In that circle lies Corky's best hope. Corky has been swimming around in concrete tanks ever since that fatal day back in 1969. Let us not forget about her, EVER.

Corky's page can be found at: http://www.orcalab.org

Campaign Bycatch

In five months alone, (Jan-May) over 59 stranded dolphins have been recorded in Cornwall and more than 60 in Devon. These numbers could be the tip of the iceberg with many coastal areas still inaccessible because of the foot and mouth disease. Urgent action needs to be taken to curb the mass destruction of dolphins in the fishing nets of pelagic trawlers including the closure of fisheries if necessary. Head injuries, broken teeth and jaws twisted are just some of the signs found on the dolphins which are caused when the mammal become caught up in the fishing nets. Dolphins have also been found with ropes around their tails which is evidence that they were winched overboard after being hauled up in the nets. Other evidence has also shown that these animals have been gutted and punctured in an effort to sink the bodies to stop them being washed ashore and being found.

The sea bass fishery is thought to be the main culprit for hundreds of dolphin bodies on the English coasts throughout the winter months each year and there can be little doubt that these deaths are caused by trawlers. Pair trawls are a particular threat to these animals because of their speed and that they use two boats to tow nets of gigantic proportion, they are so large that 12 jumbo jets could easily fit inside one net. The UK is obliged under the Habitats and Species Directive to establish a system to monitor the incidental capture and killing of all dolphins and whales and to take action to ensure that the capture does not have a significant negative impact on the species concerned but nothing is being done to prevent this problem.

The winter of 2001/2002 will see more dolphin deaths along our UK and European coasts so lets help these animals now. The UK Fisheries Minister, Elliott Morley has admitted there is indeed an increased problem for dolphins being caught in nets around the UK shores. Many politicians in the UK, Ireland and other European States are now actively involved in helping to stop this destruction of dolphins. Will you?

Dolphins and Whales in Captivity

A study in 1985 revealed that of 32 killer whales examined after dying in aquariums around the world, half had died of bacterial infections, and one quarter of pneumonia.

53% of those dolphins who survive the violent capture die within 90 days.

The average life span of a dolphin in the wild is 45 years; yet half of all captured dolphins die within their first two years of captivity. The survivors last an average of only 5 years in captivity.

Every seven years, half of all dolphins in captivity die from capture shock, pneumonia, intestinal disease, ulcers, chlorine poisoning, and other stress-related illnesses. To the captive dolphin industry, these facts are accepted as routine operating expenses.

In many tanks the water is full of chemicals as well as bacteria, causing many health problems in dolphins including blindness.

When a baby dolphin is born in captivity, the news is usually kept secret until the calf shows signs of survival. Although marine mammals do breed in captivity, the birth rate is not nearly as successful as the one in the wild, with high infant mortality rates.

Wild dolphins can swim 40 to 100 miles per day - in pools they go around in circles.

Many marine parks subject their mammals to hunger so they will perform for their food. Jumping through hoops, tailwalking and playing ball are trained behaviors that do not occur in the wild.

Confined animals who abuse themselves (banging their heads against the walls) are creating stimuli which their environment cannot supply. Dolphins in captivity tend to develop stereotypical behaviors (swimming in repetitive circle pattern, with eyes closed and in silence) because of boredom and confinement . This is equivalent to the swaying and pacing of primates, lions, tigers and bears confined in cages.

Dolphins are predators of fish and spend up to half of their time in the wild hunting for food. Supplying dead fish results in less exercise and lack of mental stimulation, thus causing boredom.

When trapped together, males often become agitated and domineering. This creates pecking orders (unknown in the wild) and unprovoked attacks on each other and the trainers. In the ocean, although fights are not unknown, the wild dolphins have a chance to escape.

You can help by informing your Senators and Representative of your feelings on this issue. Be aware of articles about captive marine mammals in newspapers and magazines and be prepared to respond with letters to the editor. Let marine parks and aquaria know your position on capturing marine mammals from the wild and ask them voluntarily to discontinue this practice. Consider a grass-roots effort to enact state legislation that prohibits the display of newly caught marine mammals.

Please join with The Humane Society of the United States, to add your voice to on-going efforts to protect all animals. We must continue our work to strengthen existing laws that protect marine mammals and to change the practices that harm them, in this country and abroad. Write to The Humane Society of the United States at 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 or call us at (202) 452-1100 for more information.

LFAS sonar - Over the Whale's Dead Bodies

The Navy's application for a permit to kill more whales and dolphins has been meeting some tough opposition. Low Frequency Active Sonar is so loud that whales are killed by this sonar device which is billions of times louder than a 747 taking off.

As human beings we take the ability to navigate from visual cues for granted. For marine life living in the deep oceans, light's equivalent is sound. In the ocean waters, where the surroundings are dark and silent - marine life will listen and by this means interpret an environment. A setting. A distance. Another species. A possible mate. An ominous shoreline. A calf calling out to it's mother. These magnificent interpreters of sound are able to detect minute objects at significant distances. The approach of an enemy is detected. Or the distant singing of a remote acquaintance is perceived.

This world of navigated sounds is vanishing. And as a result, marine life is dying. We are witnesses to the acoustic dirge. And we can hear it daily, if we are willing to listen. But there isn't much time to simply listen. We must act now! Soon a decision will be made about whether to allow deployment of the Navy's proposed SURTASS LFA Sonar.

Acoustic pollution has been escalating through the advancement of technology with a casual disregard to the needs of these aquatic beings. Engine noises contribute to this noisy clatter in the oceans. And that is a part of the problem. Big cities create a rumble, which is disruptive to the ocean environment. All factors combine. But now, there is an immensely powerful military device, which could shatter and destroy the remaining silence.

A new, devastating, highly controversial and intensely powerful technology signals the escalation of acoustic weaponry and acoustic markets in this underwater towed array with 18 speakers. Large corporations stand to profit immensely as nations co-invest in the an underwater Star Wars technology which blasts acoustic scatter beams in all directions until they echo back to a convergence point. Pressure waves form. Invasive sound patterns disrupt breathing and normal singing between whales and dolphins. And hundreds of miles from the source, the decibel level is sustained at potentially harmful volumes.

The rationale in the mind of the US Navy is that we need defenses. The Navy says it seeks to protect "American Interests." Those interests are defined in accordance to the perceived threat of silent submarines.

Let the Navy know that "American Interests" do not justify the indiscriminate killing of massive numbers of seals, dolphins, sea lions, whales, and walruses and the devastation of the eco-marine environment out of a "cold-war" mentality of exaggerated fear. Other intense sonar technologies have resulted in dire numbers of stranded whales in at least seven massive stranding incidents in recent years. The Navy says this new technology won't kill. And yet, this technology is SURTASS LFA Sonar - and it is the most widely renown and widely opposed of all the invasive acoustic technologies in the history of the planet. And your appointed officials at National Marine Fisheries Service may soon issue a letter of authorization which will allow this acoustic pollution to be introduced to 80% of the world's oceans. If the US approval goes through, it's expected that other countries will follow. More information can be found at http://www.oceanmammalinst.com/

Japan Defies International Law By Continued Whaling

Where are they going?
Into the "Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary" a place designated by International Law for the protection of all whale species. The Antarctic and its inhabitants are also protected by the "Antarctic Treaty" of 1959 to which Japan is also a signatory! During yearly meetings of the world's whaling organization, to which Japan is a member, resolutions on the rules of whaling are made and each year: strong resolutions are passed to make it more difficult to justify "scientific" whaling and to discourage "scientific" whaling in sanctuaries.

Through an old rule implemented many years ago, and designed to get whalers to care a little about the well being of the herds of whales instead of the profits they made, Japan is by-passing the "Moratorium on Commercial whaling" by calling their hunting "Scientific". Their scientific whaling killed 440 whales last season while Norway's declared "Commercial whaling", which is banned, killed about the same amount.

Further investigation reveals that Norwegian whalers sell their whale meat to markets within their own borders, for their own consumption, and call it "commercial". Japanese whalers sell their whale meat to markets within their own borders, for their own consumption, and call it "scientific". So what's the difference?

Japan says it needs to know what the Minke whales are eating. So they have to kill the animals to look inside their stomachs. Since the whale is now dead and guided by a rule (one that they want to follow) they bring the whale meat back to Japan and sell it so that it is not wasted. If Japan didn't kill the whales to start with they wouldn't have to dispose of them. Truth is we all know what whales eat, you only need read a book. Japan sells the meat to help fund the research.

Send a protest to:
Prime Minister Mr Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister's Office
6-1 Nagata-cho, 1-Chome
Tokyo 100, Japan
"Dear Prime Minister,"
email: jpm@kantei.go.jp

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