Thursday, November 29, 2012

Orca Agreement

A couple weeks ago I posted about Orcas in Crisis in Blackney Pass due to an application submitted to install monitoring equipment in this delicate area off Johnstone Strait.  The turbines that were in question would have caused unknown noise to the area of orca whalehabitat, disturbing them and their food source.  The  Northern Resident whales in this area are already deemed to be a threatened species under Canada's Species At Risk Act (SARA).

The project leader with SRM Projects, Scot Merriam, was thankfully open to discussion.  He did not realize the problems this would cause and withdrew the application after discussion.  OrcaLab, a whale research station in British Columbia, and SRM Projects, a renewable energy engineering firm, have released the following press release together and have agreed to work together in the future to find areas that would not be harmful to the whales.

I realize that I post a lot of petitions on this blog but this is one proven example that they work.  I know that some of you signed this petition and this goes to show that there is power in numbers.  We do have a voice and can make a difference together, so thank you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SeaWorld VS OSHA

Last Week, David Kirby (author of Death at SeaWorld) wrote another compelling article regarding SeaWorld is trying to overturn a lower-court ruling against the park in the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau.  TakePart has obtained eyewitness interviews on, or near, that day of the violent killing.  These audio tapes provide the judge and the public a first hand account of what happened that day and are vital evidence in this case and make it clear why working in close proximity to these animals can create an unsafe workplace.

In August 2010, OSHA filed a "willful" violation against SeaWorld and an order to keep trainers away from all whales, not just Tillikum.  In the fall of 2011 SeaWorld sued OSHA to overturn the citation and continue working closely with the whales, but it was overturned that following May by Judge Ken Welsch.  Last summer, SeaWorld filed an appeal at a special Labor Department commission, which refused to hear the case.

Now there is a "petition of review" filed at the US Court of Appeals to decide if OSHA acted properly or not.  There will be another hearing in Judge Welsch's court January 15-17.  What do you think should be done?

To check out the full article by David and to listen to the audio interviews, CLICK HERE

The interviews are:
Lynne Schaber - spotter trainer at the Dine With Shamu show the day of the incident
Jessica Wilder - guest at the show and witness of the accident from underwater viewing area
Laura Surovik - Assistant Animal Curator at SeaWorld

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Progress in Taiji

Saturday, November 24 was an international day of rallying against the dolphin hunt in Taiji.  Groups from around the globe got together in protest.  The biggest surprise of the day was the rally held in Tokyo.  

A grassroots group of Japanese animal rights activists called Action for Marine Mammals staged the protest which attracted 70 protesters, more than 40 of whom were Japanese.  This marks the first protest of the Japanese people against the dolphin hunts - a significant event!

Most Japanese that had been talked to previously were against the hunts, if they even knew about them, but it is tradition in Japan not to speak out and to "go with the flow".  They do not protest or hold demonstrations as we do, and the government discourages this type of behavior.  

There was a group of counter-protesters there who reportedly made the others look even better by their behavior.  The Tokyo police were there to keep the two groups separated.  

If more Japanese people speak out, maybe the killing will end once and for all.  This is an excellent start!
To read Ric O'Barry's article about the event, CLICK HERE

In the past week in Taiji:
Wednesday, November 21 a pod of 9 pilot whales were corralled into the cove.  The 2 smallest, probably young, were released (with no mother or family) while the other 7 were slaughtered.  All 9 probably died since the young can't survive without their parents.

Thursday, November 22 a pod of 9-10 Risso dolphins were driven into the cove and killed for meat while we were celebrating Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Death at SeaWorld - A Review

A few weeks ago I posted about meeting David Kirby, author of Death at Sea World and Naomi Rose, the book's "main character".  If you missed it, you can find that post HERE

Due to the craziness of the holiday season and the start of the Ocean Advocates blog, it has taken me a while to finish reading it.  

Death at SeaWorld chronicles Naomi's life, from her childhood up through her current work.  Naomi is responsible for much of the research known about orcas in captivity.  David explains much of her research in the book, including her dissertation on the social dynamics of male killer whales.  Her first job working with Humane Society International started with the push of bringing captivity issues into the public eye following the release of the popular Free Willy movie.  Naomi has also been pivotal in other work including the eventual release of Keiko (AKA "Willy"), advocating for the SeaWorld whales and the recent OSHA hearing.

Death at SeaWorld then alternates to take an amazing look inside the horrific world of captivity and the history of many of the orcas kept there and other parks.  The book delves into the behind the scenes "off behavior" episodes that not only never made it into the public eye, but were often kept hidden from the very trainers that risk their lives every day working with the whales. 

Former trainers including Jeff Ventre, Samantha Berg and Carol Ray give an inside look at some of these incidents behind the scenes.  Missing information in incident reports and animal profiles, SeaWorld's pressure and pursuations, etc.  As a former season ticket holder who dreamed of becoming a whale trainer at one time, these stories were appalling! 

Of course, the main story in Death at SeaWorld is the horrific death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 by Tillikum, AKA Tilly.  The book details Tillikum's capture from Iceland, as well as his aggressive past.  Tilly was first held in Sea Land of the Pacific where he killed his first trainer, Keltie Byrne, in 1991.  He was brought to SeaWorld Orlando via an emergency importation permit in January 1992.  Trainers were not made aware of how dangerous he was.  They were taught or programmed to think that it was their fault any time any whale went "off behavior".  Details of Daniel Dukes, the second fatality caused by Tilly in 1999, were also included.  

Death at SeaWorld exposes some awful truths and the research behind them.  It will definitely change your mind about ever going to see another whale (or dolphin) show again, at least I hope it will.

For more information, check out David's site HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Right Whale Festival

Saturday was the 4th Annual Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville Beach.  It was a cold, overcast and windy day but despite the weather, the event was amazing.

There were booths from several different advocacy and research agencies for Right Whales and other marine life such as manatees, dolphins and sea turtles.  Each booth brought something new, including educational aspects.  

Some of the booths included:

Harbor Branch - part of Florida Atlantic University founded in 1971 by J. Seward Johnson, Sr. and Edwin Link to provide research, education and conservatism.  
Harbor Branch has also paired with Wyland, Marine Life Artist known best for the Whaling Walls around the world, to provide education to children, including an almost-life-sized painting of Stella.  Stella has been migrating around the state with her last stop at the festival.  Wyland also designed the Protect Florida Whales specialty tag for Florida drivers.


Sea Shepherd was there as well, promoting their campaigns including Operation Zero Tolerance and the fight in Taji.

Other agencies and booths include:
Sea to Shore - a Florida based organization protecting manatees, sea turtles and right whales
University of North Florida's Coastal Biology Program
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute
Keepers of the Coast
Coast Guard, Navy, and others.

There were also several activities for children including a passport program.  Children could ask questions at each booth to have their passport stamped for a prize at the end.  There was also an obstacle course for children based on some of the dangers that Right Whales might encounter in the sea including pollution, fishing lines and plastics.

Right Whales were named because they were thought to be the "right whale to hunt".  They frequented coastal waters, swam slowly, floated when dead, and yielded large amounts of oil and baleen.  They finally gained protection in the 1930s.  There are only approx 400-500 remaining at this time.  The species has not recovered well from the previous hunts.  

Right whales are baleen whales which grow up to 55ft and weight up to 70 tons.  Their main form of identification is white splotches on the top of their head called callosities.  These callosities are covered by white cyamids, also known as whale lice.  To me, they look like large albino spiders.  Right Whales have no dorsal fin and short, stubby flippers.  
This man is holding a piece of jawbone and baleen of a Right whale.

They feed on copepods and zooplankton by skimming the water with their mouth open, catching the organisms in their baleen.  When in coastal waters, however, they do not feed.  

The coastal waters of Georgia and Florida are the only known calving grounds for the whales.  They travel down between mid-November and remain until March.  It is mainly females that come down for the main purpose of having their calves and nursing to bulk them up before heading north for the winter.  Females reach sexual maturity at approximately 10 years old and are able to reproduce every 3-5 years, depending on conditions.  In order to make the trek down to Florida, they must bulk up.  This requires adequate food sources and that can be problematic without good water temperatures.  

Threats to them include commercial ships and entanglement of fishing lines.  There have been laws put into place to report sightings in order to reduce the number of ship strikes.  With more public awareness, the species will have a better chance of survival.

I will be taking a blogger break for the rest of the week to spend time with friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I hope you and your families have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Right Whale Festival

Tomorrow is the 4th Annual Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville Beach, FL and I am going.  I'm so excited! This is the first festival I've attended and I can't wait.  

The festival goes from 10am-5pm with music, a silent auction, a beach clean up, and the end of Stella's Migration.  CHECK THIS OUT for more info.

If you live in the area, come join the fun.  If not, stay tuned here.  I will have a full report next week.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

There is a Light...maybe

David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, recently reported an interesting twist in the world of captive cetaceans.  Blackstone Group, who recently acquired SeaWorld, is one of the world's leading private equity firms.  SeaWorld continues to celebrate, promote and profit from the confinement of whales and dolphins for entertainment purposes and criticizes the thought of retiring any of these animals to a coastal marine sanctuary.

In direct contrast, Merlin Entertainment group, another Blackstone holding, and it's aquarium division SEA LIFE, is adamantly opposed to keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.  SEA LIFE aggressively supports the development of retirement sanctuaries.  They have been outspoken in opposing the recent efforts by SeaWorld to import the 18 beluga whales for the purpose of public display.

Merlin is a UK-based attraction operator.  Does that mean that Europe has more progressive views of releasing these animals than in the US?  It surely appears to be so.
Janine DiGioacchino, divisional director of Merlin Entertainments (Midway) USA has bluntly stated that cetaceans are not suited for captivity.  All leading authorities in the field, as well as the majority of American citizens, agree.

The National Aquarium also opposes SeaWorld's efforts, citing it's policy against capturing wild cetaceans "for any purpose".

Despite it's own policy, Merlin does have three marine parks with cetaceans in captivity, however they are making plans to develop a natural sanctuary where their animals and others from around the world can be re-homed, retired and if needed rehabilitated.  They are working closely with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and Humane Society International to select a suitable warm waters sight for dolphins and eventually a suitable cold water sight for orcas and belugas.

Check out David's full article HERE

Do you think SeaWorld will feel pressured by opposition by it's sister company?  Do you think Merlin should force change to SeaWorld?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Japanese whale sales

In a recent article in The Japan Daily Press, Japan's Fisheries Agency says it will expand the sales of whale meat to the public in order to combat the financial losses of it's "research" whaling program.

Japan's annual whaling costs in the Antarctic is reportedly $60 million with 75% of the meat going unsold.  

The Fisheries Agency reported last week that starting next year, the meat will be sold to individuals by mail order and directly to restaurants.  Up until now, the meat could only be purchased by distributors at wholesale auctions.

Whale meat sells for $3.75 to $6.25 for 4oz. or less and is considered a "luxury item".  However the simple fact is the majority of Japanese people are not interested in eating whale meat and have never eaten whale meat.  So why the waste???

The same goes for the dolphin meat of Taiji.  The majority of Japanese people have no idea what is going on in The Cove.  They do not eat dolphin meat.  So, why do the Japanese continue these hunts???

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Orcas in crisis

Blackney Pass off Johnstone Strait is a busy area for whale activity and there is an application for an "Investigative License of Occupation-Ocean Power", an application for "actual installment of technical investigative and monitoring equipment".  

This would cause devastating effects to the whales including noise and prey reduction.  Orcas communication through their sonar and verbalizations.  With the additional noise, it could cause them to be easily lost and separated from their pods.  The noise would also cause other fish in the area to leave, reducing the orcas' food source.  

This is an overall bad idea!  

The video, and audio, below was taken in this very area in question in September of his year.  A very active pod indeed!

To sign the petition, CLICK HERE
For more information, CLICK HERE

This was also a sad morning in Taiji with a pod of Risso dolphins driven into the cove and killed.  Two were taken captive. :(

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last Call for Hector's and Maui's dolphins

Hector's dolphins are the smallest and rarest of the world's dolphin populations and the only species native to New Zealand waters.  Since the 70's, the population has dropped from 30,000 to only 7,000 due to gillnets and trawl nets.

Maui dolphins, a subspecies of Hector dolphins, are in even more trouble.  Their population has dropped from 1,000 40 years ago to only a mere 55 today.  Only around 20 of the remaining are breeding females.  It is reported that around 5 of these dolphins die in fishing nets every year.  Females don't breed until they are 7-9 years old and only have 1 calf every 2-4 years.

The world's largest conservation assembly, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, urged the New Zealand government to expand the protection of these dolphins from gillnetting and trawling across their waters up to 100m.  Without this ban, the Hector's and Maui's dolphins will surely become extinct.

To read more, go to

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taiji - 1st 2 months

Picture taken from I Love Dolphins facebook page

On November 1, Ceta-Base (the online database for marine mammals) reported:

"2012/2013 Drive Fisheries page has been updated.
Since the start of the season on September 1st, 2012 a total of 407 dolphins from four species have been driven into the cove in Taiji, Japan. Of this total 156 were killed, 221 were released and 28 were live-capture, two additional animals died (one pilot whale after live-capture and one incidental death of a bottlenose following a drive). Species captured, sold & killed include: Bottlenose Dolphins (T. gilli), Risso's Dolphins (G. griseus), Short-finned Pilot Whale (G. macrorhynchus) and Striped Dolphins (S. coeruleoalba)."

This story made it to ABC news in San Francisco on Wednesday.  It's so good to see these horrible events getting more national attention.  Check it out

The 2012-2013 quota in Taiji is 2,089 marine mammals.  Let's hope they aren't able to reach that number!

There have not been any killings in the past two days.  The Cove runs blue.

This hunt continues through March, but it's never too late to fight.  
To sign the petition, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spade-Toothed Beaked Whale - Who Knew?

ap new zealand rare whale jt 121106 wblog Worlds Rarest Whale Found on New Zealand Beach
(Photo: New Zealand Department of Conservation via AP)

Who knew in 2010 when a whale and her calf beached themselves in New Zealand that a new species would be discovered?  Thought to be another species, the whales were buried in the sand.  Only recently, DNA samples were done to show that this was a new species.

Previously, this species was only speculated from two skull fragments and a mandible until DNA tests were done on the beached whales.  In the latest issue of Current Biology, it was revealed that the Spade-Toothed Beaked Whale is indeed the rarest whale, and one of the most rare living mammals, in the world.  The whales will be dug out of the sand for further testing.

The Spade-Toothed Beaked Whale species is thought to dive deep, feeding mainly on squid, however it is difficult to know for sure since there has never been a sighting in the wild.

It makes you wonder what else is out there that has yet to be discovered.

Taiji Update
For those of you who are new followers, every year in a small, hidden cove in Taiji Japan, bottle-nosed and Risso dolphins as well as pilot whales are driven in by fisherman using large metal poles banging on the sides of their boats.

Once in the coves, they are netted and await their fate for sometimes days at a time.  A chosen few are taken for a life of captivity in various waterparks while the others are brutally slaughtered, left to bleed to death, for their meat.

This hunt goes on from September through May.

On Halloween, a pod of approximately 100 pilot whales were driven into the cove.  After being netted overnight in close quarters after a stressful drive, 15 of the whales were killed.  The others waited again, some watching their own family members being murdered in front of their eyes swimming in their blood.  Later they were released.

By this time, the pod was stressed, injured, confused and hungry.  A calf had been drowned in the net and another was found floating outside the cove.  They were clearly not able to handle this type of abuse.

This morning, another pod of Risso dolphins have been driven into the Cove.  Two were quickly taken for a life of captivity, a newborn calf was released with no mother, and the rest were slaughtered.

It's time for this to end!

Please consider signing the petition below:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Voices of Ocean Advocate say Thanks

Today I am participating in the "I'm Thankful For My Readers" Blog Hop brought to you by 
Vikki and Tara Tyler

The Rules are:
1.Sign up on the linky list
2. Post thanks to your readers on your blog between Monday November 5 (anytime) and Wednesday November 7 by 1700 UK/1200 Midday EST US time.
3. If you don’t have a CP and you would like, go ahead and post a ‘personals’ ad.
4. Be CREATIVE. Write a letter, a piece of flashfiction, a haiku, poem, or vlog. It can take whatever form you like. We’d like it if you kept it under 300 words but won’t be counting.
5. You don’t have to name your readers though do if you want, and feel free to link to them.
6. Hop around and comment on other people’s!

My thanks is coming from the many cetacean voices that inspire me to keep Ocean Advocates going. Here's what they have to say...

Taiji Dolphins - 
Every year in a small community of Japan, fisherman bang on their boats to confuse us and drive us into a cove out of sight.  It's very scary with them making so much noise and we have no idea what's going on.  Once they have us there, they hold us in the cove with nets, sometimes for days at a time.  No food, no room to play, and very stressful.
After days, sometimes boats come in and take our children, mothers or fathers away from us by themselves. They haul them off and say something about using them in a show.  It's scary and sad to be left alone.
Later, more boats come in with spears and stab repeatedly.  We cry out as we bleed to death, leaving the cove in blood.
That is why I am thankful for the readers of Ocean Advocate.  If you want to help us, consider signing the petition HERE

I was captured off the coast of Washington in 1970 and brought to Miami Seaquarium soon after where I have remained ever since.  At least 13 members of my family were killed during the capture.  I also live in the oldest and smallest tank in North America, only one-and-a -half times my size.
I'm 43 years old and have been in captivity for 40 years.  For those first three years of my life, I swam great distances every day.  Now it's a struggle to even turn around in my small tank.  
Since the rest of my family still in the wild were listed as endangered species, there are several groups trying to get me out of here.  It would be amazing to see my family again where I can hunt for my own food without having to do tricks in order to eat.
I'm thankful for the readers of Ocean Advocate who care about me and try to help me go home.
If you want to help me, CLICK HERE

I was found in June 2010 swimming alone off the coast of the Netherlands.  I was sick and underweight, so a group rescued me and took me to Dolphinarium Harderwijk.  For a year, they nursed me back to health.
I was feeling better, but they wouldn't let me go home.  Instead, in November 2011 they moved me to Loro Parque to be with other orcas.  Now they won't let me go.  I have to perform in shows and the other orcas are mean to me.  They keep me in a tank that's only 7 by 20 meters. It's the smallest captivity tank in the world.
They found my family.  They can tell it's them by the sounds they make.  Oh, I only wish I could hear those sounds and see them again!
If you want to help me, CLICK HERE

Tillikum, AKA Tilly
I was captured off the coast of Iceland almost 40 years ago.  First they brought me to SeaLand in Canada.  One day I was bored from swimming circles in my little tank and thought I would have some fun.  One of the humans who is always "playing" with me got close and I grabbed her and pulled her underwater until she wasn't breathing anymore.  She plays with me, so I figured I could play back.
The next thing I knew, I was being moved to SeaWorld in Orlando.  At SeaWorld, the female whales are always picking on me.  If I am with them, they gang up and hurt me.  Otherwise, I am by myself and lonely.
In July 1999, some guy was still hanging around late at night.  Nobody saw me do it, but I had a little fun and he died too.
In February 2010 I was playing again and got carried away.  I get bored very easy and I am lonely always by myself.  I guess I was too excitable that day, so when the trainer's hair got too close, I grabbed her and took her deep into the pool.  I kept dunking her and slamming her around like a toy, since they never give me anything else to play with.  
I'm much bigger than the other orcas here at SeaWorld and everyone is scared of me.  They only let me come out to splash everyone during the shows.  Otherwise, everyone is afraid.  I am going crazy in this place and it's even worse now that everyone is mad at me and isn't allowed around me.  I hate this place.  It makes me angry and then I get in trouble when I do anything about it.  I just want to go home.
If you can help me, CLICK HERE

Although Ocean Advocates promotes and discusses many others, these are the ones that are most often talked about here.  They all want to thank Ocean Advocate readers for caring enough about them to read and learn more.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Operation Zero Tolerance

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launches Operation Zero Tolerance today.  It is the 9th annual campaign to stop Japanese whales from illegal acts in the Southern Ocean.  

For the past 9 years, Sea Shepherd has stopped Japanese Whalers from making tens of millions of dollars in revenue from these illegal killings, and this year they are more ready than ever.

With four vessels this year (Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, Brigitte Bardot and the new Sam Simon), Sea Shepherd plans to meet the Japanese in the North Pacific off of Japan instead of in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.  

The Sam Simon, named after the television producer and wildlife advocate, will wait in the Southern Ocean in case the Japanese fleet gets by the other ships on the way.

According to Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd has never been stronger.  The objective of Operation Zero Tolerance is to economically sink the Japanese whaling fleet, bankrupting them.  The Japanese are currently surviving on the massive allocations of relief funds from the tsunami in 2011.  Couldn't these funds have been better used elsewhere in Japan?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ocean acoustics and Taiji Update

According to a story by Jon Bardin, Industrial whaling seems to have an unexpected consequence.  The oceans are quieter.

Last week at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Kansas City, Mo, research was presented that the volume in the ocieans has been "turned down".

The effects of man-made sound underwater is a topic of concern for marine researchers.  The sounds made by anything from speedboats to submarine sonar may be disrupting animals' acoustical landscape, making it difficult for them to migrate, hunt and mate.

However in  a new study by Michael Stocker and Tom Reuterdahl of Ocean Conservation Research in Lagunitas, CA, the oceans were actually louder in the past because of whale vocalizations.  According to the researchers, the waters in the Northern Atlantic in the early 19th century would have sounded as loud as a rock concert, measuring as high as 126 decibels.

With more human-made sounds with different acoustical properties, today's quieter oceans post a serious threat to underwater life.

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Nicole McLachlan's blog post

Things have been grim in Taiji for the past couple days.  Wednesday approximately 100 pilot whales were herded into the cove.  Wednesday, after a night of being forced into cramped nets following inhumanely being confused into the cove with banger boats, skiffs came in.  A few selected larger whales were dragged out of sight by their tails while the rest remained.  After the fisherman returned with the lifeless bodies of the chosen ones, the others were released.  By then, they were hungry, confused and injured.

Sadly it was reported that a baby was caught in the nets and died by her mother's side.  Another was spotted floating after the release, presumably too stressed, weak and hungry to carry on.

Check out Nicole's post above for the details.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Sea World Orlando announced yesterday that they are raising ticket prices again immediately for the second time in 4 months.  This is all in anticipation of their new attraction:

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin

SeaWorld claims that this will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world and the largest expansion in the park's history.  However it comes at a cost.

Ticket prices are being raised by over $4/day up to $89 for a single day, the same as Disney and Universal
Annual passes are being raised by over $30

Is this an attempt to deter attention from the fact that they still continue "breeding programs" of whales and dolphins for "public viewing"?  Or in anticipation to pay for the beluga whales that could potentially be imported Russia by the Georgia Aquarium?  Although they have had a penguin exhibit for a long time, will there be additional penguins added to the attraction?  If so, where did they come from?

In the video above, the display shows a very up-close-and-personal experience with the penguins.  I can't help but wonder how this will effect them.

Disney Dolphins

I live in the Orlando area so I am close to Disney and Sea World Orlando. 
Last week I was able to go to Epcot for the day to enjoy their annual Food and Wine Festival.  While I was there, we stopped in The Living Seas exhibit.  

This exhibit houses two large aquariums of sharks, sea turtles, many fish and several dolphins.  The sign above is hanging by the dolphin exhibit.  I was at the exhibit a couple months ago also while they were having one of these "research activities".  It included having the dolphins choose a given color that the "research team" called out to them.  Of course, the dolphins were correct in choosing the color.  DUH! the wild, will they ever have to choose a color for food?  NO!  Then why here???

This past week, this is what I saw.  (Sorry for the grainy picture but it was getting dark and the dolphin was at the far end of the aquarium)

In case you can't see it, there is a dolphin just hanging vertical against the wall.  He was in the same position the entire time we were there!

There are a couple petitions to try and release these dolphins.  The tank has absolutely no stimulation and you can almost see the boredom in their eyes.

Check these out:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Death at Sea World

Last week I had the incredible honor of meeting and talking with David Kirby, author of Death at Seaworld and Naomi Rose, PhD, the lead "character" of the book and the Senior Scientist of Humane Society International.

Death at Seaworld explores the dark side of Sea World and the captivity of whales. The book details the tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010, as well as other less known incidents in the history of the park.  Kirby follows the story of Naomi and former Sea World trainers who have turned into animal rights activists.

David started out the night talking about Death at Seaworld, which reads like a novel. David uses Naomi as his lead character, detailing her research and history with wild orcas.  David also researched the Sea World side of the story, talking with former trainers Jeff Ventre, Carol Ray and Samantha Berg.  Current Sea World staffers would not comment.

David Kirby has been a professional journalist for almost 20 years as a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the New York Times.  He lives in Brooklyn, NY and his other books include:

Evidence of Harm - Mercury in vaccines and the Autism Epidemic:  A Medical Controversy

Animal Factory - The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment

Death at Sea World - Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity

Click any of the links for more information about David's books.

Naomi was next.  Naomi Rose, PhD is the Senior Scientist for Humane Society International, specializing in international marine mammal protection.  She is a member of International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee, the Society of Marine Mammalogy and Sigma Xi (the scientific research society)  She has co-edited the State of the Cetacean Environmental Report since 2003.  
Naomi obtained her Doctorate in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her dissertation was on the social dynamics of male orcas in British Columbia.

Naomi opened things up for questions about not only orcas related to the book but anything related to her work.  Once I started asking questions, I just wanted to hang out and pick her brain all night!  What a privilege to have this opportunity!!!  
Naomi has personally worked on many of the issues that I have been talking about on Whale/Dolphin Wednesday, including my recent posts regarding the potential import of beluga whales.  Needless to say, I was in awe.

It was an amazing night indeed and I am thoroughly enjoying Death at Seaworld so far.  I will be posting a review in the future, but I can tell you already it will be 5 stars.

In Taiji this week, on Thursday between 26-28 Striped dolphins were brutally slaughtered in the killing cove.  One other was taken into captivity for the Taiji Whale Museum.  Three Risso dolphins were also taken for captivity on Thursday.
Yesterday, a pod of 40-60 pilot whales were driven into the cove. 

Don't forget to "Like" the Ocean Advocate facebook page HERE


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Real Sea World

This amazing video features David Kirby (author of Death at Sea World), Naomi Rose, PhD (Senior Scientist of Humane Society International), Samantha Berg, Carol Ray and Dr. Jeffery Ventre (all former Sea World trainers) discussing and watching wild orcas.  Beautiful!

Today in Taiji, hunters drove in a pod of between 40-60 pilot whales.  The Taiji hunt runs from September through April with hunters herding hundreds, if not thousands, of dolphins and pilot whales into the cove.  These whales and dolphins are either "chosen" by trainers for a life of captivity or they are brutally slaughtered for their meat.

To sign the petition to stop the hunt, CLICK HERE

Monday, October 29, 2012


I'm an advocate at heart both in my professional and personal life and I've always been fascinated with Whales and Dolphins.  For the past couple months, I've had a Whale/Dolphin Wednesday theme on my other blog, Random Interruptions.  I've come to realize that there is too much going on in the industry to only post on these issues once a week.  For that reason, I have started this blog.

I will post as often as possible to bring all the current news of the captive whale industry, whale and dolphin hunts around the world, and other news in our world's oceans.  I hope you join me to fight against the captivity and killing of these intelligent creatures.

This blog will include updates from the current importation issue of beluga whales from Russia to the Georgia Aquarium, the dolphin hunts in Taiji and the ongoing advocacy to release several orcas back into the wild from captivity including Lolita, Morgan and Tilly.

You can also join me my "liking" my facebook page at