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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 31 - Friday, November 15, 2002
Whats Wrong With Dolphin Resorts

During the sixties, I captured and trained dolphins for the Miami Seaquarium, including the five dolphins that played the role of Flipper in the American TV-series of the same name.

I have witnessed firsthand the suffering imposed on dolphins during the violent capture process and their subsequent lifelong confinement.

I made a lot of money as a dolphin trainer but chose to leave this business because, after realizing what we were doing to the dolphins in the name of profit, my conscience wouldnt have it any other way.

Since Earth Day 1970, I have worked to educate the public to what really goes on behind the glittering surface of the captive dolphin industry. Today, I work with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), an organization dedicated to stopping the traffic and commercial exploitation of dolphins worldwide.

Ironically, Dolphin Resorts is telling the public and the media that they confine and exploit dolphins because they want to teach people respect for nature!

This is the deception and hypocrisy that the dolphin captivity industry is based upon. The capture, confinement. and captive breeding of dolphins does represent a form of education, but its a form of bad education in that it teaches the public that destroying wildlife in the name of profit is acceptable.

Dominica already has a first rate dolphin watching industry in place. If the tourists that visit your lovely island want to see dolphins and get a real education about the complex lives of these animals -- as opposed to a distorted and unnatural dolphin fantasy in murky water at the foot of the mountain runoff-- they have the unique opportunity to do so, in a respectful, non-invasive manner.

Having captured and trained dolphins in the past, I know exactly where the people at Dolphin Resorts are coming from. I used to come from the same place. In consequence, I know that Dolphin Resorts will never be able to tell the public the truth about the capture and training of dolphins. If they did, the people of Dominica would revolt against it.

Having spent the last forty years working with dolphins, I have reached the conclusion that these are complex and self aware creatures. They routinely make choices and decisions regarding the details of their own lives.

They are entitled to freedom of choice; thus they are entitled to freedom. Capturing them and dragging them into a cage in Dominica to line the pockets of a few business people is simply wrong.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) highly commends the conclusion reached by whale and dolphin watching community and dive operators in Dominica . It is a conclusion that is based on the simple yet imperative acknowledgement that the desire to make a profit must not take precedence over the best interest of the animal species and the positive image of Dominica as a nation that values wildlife.

Dolphin Resorts has promised the government officials that this captive dolphin facility will help the Dominican economy, in that it will create jobs and generate revenue for the locals. This is what the dolphin captivity industry always say in order to get their foot in the door.

The truth is, some few outsiders will make all of the money, if there is a profit. Just like Tortola, Antigua, Anguilla and other islands, some few island natives are given a few token jobs for minimum wage.

At the same time, a great many nature loving tourists, myself included, will stop visiting Dominica. There is no doubt that confining and exploiting dolphins for profit will tarnish the image of your beautiful island nation.

While several other Caribbean Islands have established, or are contemplating to establish, a captive dolphin facility in order to attract more tourists dollars, Dominica has an opportunity to send a clear and positive message to the rest of the world about your countrys respect for nature by rejecting the captive dolphin facility that Dolphin Resorts is trying to establish in Dominica -- and that is something money cant buy.

Respectfully yours,
Richard O'Barry
Marine Mammal Specialist
World Society for the Protection of Animals
(WSPA) 305-668 1619

Editor's Note: Several months ago, the Government of Dominica agreed to allow Dolphin Plus a foreign owned company to keep captured dolphins as part of a Resort just outside of Salisbury. It is conceivable that Dolphins might be captured in Dominican waters. Already, Dolphin Plus have asked the government of Antigua to allow the capture of several Dolphins in Antigua waters.

Sadly, the Dominican has learnt that one of the Dolphins brought into Dominica from Tortola as part of the program died on November 3, 2002. Conservationists and people sympathetic to the treatment of animals have been asked to write letters to the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism in an effort to reverse the decision on the Dolphin resorts.

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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 31
Second Diaspora Symposium in Dominica
Paying Homage to the Countryside
Celebrating Independence Day in Miami
Pursue Claim to Bird Island
Whats Wrong With Dolphin Resorts
Diaspora Donations to PMH

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