Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ocean Advocate has Moved!

I hope everyone is having a great time with the A-Z Challenge.  I appreciate those of you who stopped by to leave words of encouragement and for new followers.

After much thought I have decided to move Ocean Advocate to Wordpress.  I've had some minor problems with Blogger and I thought it was a good time for a fresh start anyway.  My first post is up and you can check it out here:  http://oceanadvocatefl.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/is-it-time-for-seaworld-to-move-away-from-the-whale-business/

Ocean Advocate will continue to bring news about marine life in Florida and around the world, as well as anti-captivity news.  I hope you will join me.

Don't forget to also "Like" Ocean Advocate on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/oceanadvocatefl
and follow on Twitter @oceanadvocatefl

I'll see you there!

Monday, April 1, 2013

No A-Z for Me

Today starts that annual A to Z Challenge.  Are you ready?

Unfortunately I will not be participating after all this year.  I am in the middle of my latest project and there is just not enough time in the day.

Good luck to all you who are taking the challenge!  I hope 2013 is the best year ever.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blackfish Premiere at Miami Film Festival

Blackfish-the Movie made it’s Florida premiere at Miami Film Festival on March 3, 2013.  Since reading the early buzz on the film I couldn’t wait to see it.   Growing up in the Orlando area, SeaWorld was always my favorite park to visit.  I was in awe of the beauty and power of the killer whales.  As so many others, I dreamed of being a whale trainer one day.  I could spend hours watching them and studying the every move of everyone who worked with them.  Little did I know what was happening behind the scenes.

Blackfish opens with the haunting 911 calls after Dawn Brancheau was brutally attacked and killed by Tillikum, SeaWorld’s now infamous killer whale.  The film proceeds to document a series of unfortunate events and early warning signs that were hidden and ignored for the purpose of greed. 

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite tastefully chooses to tell the story without the addition of sensationalism.  Using only original footage and personal interviews of former trainers who have worked with Tilikum and other whales at SeaWorld and other various marine parks, the story unfolds.   Cowperthwaite adds expert input from other professionals to pull together a clear picture of what happens behind the scenes and the long term impacts.

“Just the facts” is the format for Blackfish.  After seeing and hearing the facts, no one with a conscience could possibly visit SeaWorld in the same light again.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wrap up in Taiji

It has been relatively quiet in Taiji since my last post and the season officially ended on Monday.  

There was only 1 day of killing in the past 2 weeks.  On February 20 a pod of Risso dolphins were herded into the Cove and slaughtered.  This put the Japanese over their allotment by 7 Rissos.  Apparently, they didn't care.  For a group who has no respect for life, I'm not surprised.

On February 19, 2 Russian beluga whales have been brought to Taiji in a trade for 4 bottlenosed dolphins.  The beluga whales will be included in the collection of captive dolphins and whales in the Taiji Museum.  The dolphins were transported by truck this morning to their new destination.

It has been a sad season in Taiji but with increased awareness and pressure, hopefully more people in Japan and the rest of the world have a deeper understanding of the horrible actions that happen in The Cove.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Week in Taiji and other opportunities

The killing continues in Taiji this week.

Last Thursday two separate pods of Pan Tropic Spotted dolphins, 47-49 total, were corralled 15 miles into the cove.  A total of 9 were taken captive:  4 went to the Taiji Dolphin Base and Dolphin Resort and the other 5 went to harbor sea pens.  Only 3 of these survived and the other 2 were taken to the butcherhouse along with the other 36-38.  Thrashing and screaming, the video footage is now archived at taiji.ezearth.tv

Friday through Sunday, there were no new pods brought in.  Instead of hunting, the dolphin killers assisted with the transfer of the 90 dolphins that were in sea pens waiting for their journey to captivity and built additional sea pens to hold more captive animals.

Monday, a large pod of 100-110 Striped dolphins were herded into the cove.  80-90 were slaughtered one by one while the remaining members of the pod swam in their blood awaiting their turn.  HORRIFIC!  Twenty of these were driven back out to sea, although their chance of survival is slim due to the stress they endured.

Yesterday a pod of 17 Risso dolphins were netted into the cove.  One drowned in the net before being noticed while the others were slaughtered.

Thankfully, today the boats remained in shore.  BLUE COVE DAY!

If any of you live in the Jacksonville area, Sea Shepherd is showing "Eco-Pirate:  The Story of Paul Watson" on Saturday night.  For more info, CLICK HERE

For anyone who is a fan of Paul, please consider signing this petition to help keep him safe.  Paul is the founder of Sea Shepherd and currently has 2 Interpol Red Notices against him:  One in Costa Rica and one in Japan.  These notices are politically motivated.  Paul is currently on board with the latest campaign in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary fighting Japanese whalers while filming the next season of Whale Wars.  This petition is requesting that the US not extradite him.  You do not have to be a US citizen to sign but you do need to complete a quick registration procedure.  You can find the petition HERE

If you live in the Miami area, check out the BLACKFISH screenings at Miami Film Festival March 3 and 10.  CLICK HERE for more details.  Tickets are now available.  

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page or Ocean Advocate on Twitter Here.  Thank you to new followers.  Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, do something, GET INVOLVED!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blackfish - The Movie

BLACKFISH - the name given to killer whales by Native American fisherman and ...
A documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite premiered at Sundance Film Festival at the end of January to rave reviews.  After it's first showing, Magnolia Films and CNN have already bought distribution rights.  The film will be widely distributed through Landmark Theaters around the country this summer and shown on CNN in the fall.  Soon after, the film was acquired by Madman to be released in Australia and New Zealand.

Blackfish starts with the capture of Tilikum, the 12,000 pound whale responsible for the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando.  The capture is followed by Tilikum's violent history, including two other deaths, as well as video of other attacks by the whales at SeaWorld that were previously hidden by the park in an effort to preserve the captivity industry.  Former trainers report that they were also left in the dark about the dangers caused by Tilikum and the other whales.  It has been billed by Sundance as the film that exposes "the species cruel treatment in captivity" and the "growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea park industry".  

Next up, Blackfish will be shown at Miami Film Festival which runs March 1-10.  Check it out at 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Taiji update

The dolphin/whale hunt continues in Taiji.  This hunt started in September and continues through March.  The "fisherman" herd pods of dolphins into the cove by banging on the sides of their boats with long, metal pipes.  The dolphins are drawn closer to shore where they are netted into a small area.  Scared, hungry and often injured they are sometimes left for days.  Other times they are immediately killed or the young or "pretty" ones are picked for marine parks around the world, sold for up to $150,000 each.  Meat is sold for human consumption.  

This week, on January 31, 17 Pacific white-side dolphins were driven into the cove.  Ten, bloody and injured, were chosen for captivity while the other 7 were killed.  

On February 3, ten Risso dolphins were driven into the cove and killed for their meat.

Yesterday, a pod of 32 bottlenose dolphins were driven into the cove.  Eleven were taken captive while the other 21 were slaughtered.

This brings the total for the season to 740 killed and 240 captive.  320 have been released after originally being driven into the cove but many of them will die due to stress or injury.  Some juveniles were released after their mothers were killed.  They will likely not survive either.  There are still almost 2 months left of the hunt.

Outraged?  Do something.  There are advocacy groups all over fighting the hunt, starting with Ric O'Barry and Sea Shepherd.  Sign a petition.  Tell a friend.  With more people aware and pressuring the Japanese, maybe this will stop once and for all.  The majority of Japanese people either don't even know what's happening or they are afraid to speak out, but even a few have come forward this year.  

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page or Ocean Advocate on Twitter Here.  These pages are updated much more often with news from Taiji and other whale and dolphin news around the world that I don't have time to blog about.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Weeks of Torture in Taiji

I've been away from Blogger for the past couple weeks but the brutality in Taiji has continued in full force.

For those of you who are not familiar with the horror in Taiji, I try to report on the brutal slaughter and capture of dolphins in the hidden cove of Japan.  This hunt started in September and continues through March.  The "fisherman" herd pods of dolphins into the cove by banging on the sides of their boats with long, metal pipes.  The dolphins are drawn closer to shore where they are netted into a small area.  Scared, hungry and often injured they are sometimes left for days.  Other times they are immediately killed or the young or "pretty" ones are picked for marine parks around the world, sold for up to $150,000 each.  Meat is sold for human consumption.  

The past two weeks have been the most brutal since the season started.  

On Thursday, the 17th, a pod of 6 Risso dolphins were slaughtered quickly followed by 16 Striped dolphins.
The next day, 58-60 Striped dolphins were killed.

Sunday the 20th, 38 bottlenosed dolphins were driven into the cove.  13 were chosen for captivity, 1 drowned in the nets, and 24 were killed.
Monday 54-56 Pantropical spotted dolphins were driven in the cove.  24 were chosen for captivity, 2 others died of stress during the captivity captures and another became injured and was added to the remainder of the pod, all killed.
Tuesday, heavy rains brought reprieve for the dolphins while Taiji Action Day for Dolphins was celebrated.
Wednesday the hunt continued with 28-30 Pantropical Spotted dolphin were driven into the cove.  Fifteen were chosen for captivity to live in Taiji Whale Museum, Dolphin Base and Dolphin Resort Hotel.  All others were killed.
Thursday there were 30 Risso dolphins brought in.  One juvenile was chosen for captivity while he watched his family be slaughtered.  Friday, 14 more Rissos were skilled.
Saturday was another calm day before Sunday when 56-58 Risso dolphins were driven into the cove.  Twenty-six were slaughtered while the others were released back to sea 2 hours later.  By then, after watching the others killed and being netted in tight quarters, it is unlikely that they survived.
Thankfully this week there has not been any more killing or capture.

This was by far the worst couple weeks of the hunt, breaking records of previous years.
In just 2 weeks, 75 Rissos, 40-44 Pantropic Spotted, 74-76 Striped and 24 Bottlenosed killed.
2 Rissos, 39 Pantropic Spotted, and 13 Bottlenosed were taken for captivity
3 Pantropic Spotted and 1 Bottlenosed died of stress or drowning.

Grand total is 217-233 dead dolphins and 54 taken for a life in a concrete tank in 2 weeks!

Please consider signing these petitions for both the slaughter and for anti-captivity of these animals if you haven't already.
1.  https://www.change.org/petitions/waza-imata-top-upporting-the-dolphin-laughter-in-taiji

2.  http://www.change.org/petitions/imata-trainers-don-t-train-taiji-dolphins

3.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/stop-the-dolphin-slaughter/

4.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/5/stop-dolphin-captivity

Please consider taking a few minutes to sign.

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  I've also recently broken down and joined Twitter.  You can follow Here.  There are more frequent updates about Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Week in Taiji

The dolphin hunt in Taiji rages on...

Last Wednesday, 14 Risso dolphins were herded into the Cove in Taiji.  Two juveniles were taken for captivity to Dolphin Resort and Taiji Whale Museum.  The other 12 were slaughtered for human consumption.   The meat was quickly sold at the Taiji Fisherman's Union and sold to local buyers.  Apparently they don't have enough Mercury poisoning in their diets yet.

Thursday 20-21 more Risso dolphins were brought in.  Once again, two were taken for captivity while the others were slaughtered.  

On Saturday 32-34 Striped dolphins were slaughtered in the cove, one run over by a skiff as it tried to escape.  

Yesterday morning the "fisherman" wasted no time.  My 7:30am they were already in formation driving a pod of Risso dolphins to the shore.  The entire family had been slaughtered.

As if it's not bad enough that these animals are captured and killed, the suffering they endure in the process is unbearable and not even close to humane.

Here are more petitions for both the slaughter and for anti-captivity of these animals.
1.  https://www.change.org/petitions/waza-imata-top-upporting-the-dolphin-laughter-in-taiji

2.  http://www.change.org/petitions/imata-trainers-don-t-train-taiji-dolphins

3.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/stop-the-dolphin-slaughter/

4.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/5/stop-dolphin-captivity

Please consider taking a few minutes to sign.

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  There are more frequent updates about Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Canada Orcas in Peril

You might have heard about the Orcas who were trapped in ice in Canada last week.  The story first broke when a video was captured by Clement Rousseau and posted all over social media.  Rousseau is a teacher from Inukjuak, Quebec, the small fishing village where the orcas were trapped.  The video went viral in both Canada and the US as advocates posted and shared to gain attention and assistance from the Canadian government.

There were anywhere from a dozen to 20 orca in this pod, all left with a pick-up truck sized hole to breathe for two days.  According to David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, the whales usually are not in the bay at this time of year.  He says that climate change has changed the sea ice patterns this year.  The waters were still warm enough for the orcas to travel into the bay at Christmas, then a sudden drop in temperature caused the predicament for them.

In case you missed it, here's a clip that was shown on the Today Show.

By Thursday morning, the wind patterns had changed and the whales were gone.  While the media took this as good news, the experts were (and still are) skeptical.  There was 2 flights over the Hudson Bay on Thursday to try to identify the whales but they were nowhere to be found.  The flights showed that much of the bay is still covered in ice.  It will still be difficult, if not impossible, for these whales to survive.

Since orcas are matriarchal mammals, it is thought that the grandmother of the pod was able to identify an opening and lead them out into open waters.  Hopefully the fact that they haven't been seen is a good sign that they are well on their way out of the bay.  They are capable of traveling over 100 miles per day when in open waters.

This story has been compared to the true story that was retold in the movie Big Miracle.

In Big Miracle, the whales were trapped off of Alaska and were ultimately rescued by a Russian ship in the 80s.  President Reagan requested assistance from the Russian government to work together to free the whales.  The Canadian government stepped up to do what was necessary to free these orcas as well.  

What do you think about governments getting involved in rescuing these animals?  Is it just good PR for them or something more?  Does this situation prove global warming?

Some feel that it is best to let nature take its course.  My personal opinion mimics that of David Kirby.  Would you let nature take it's course if you were diagnosed with cancer or some other curable disease?

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  There are more frequent updates on stories like this, Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Update on stranded pilot whales in FL

Back in September I wrote about a pod of pilot whales stranded on the coast of Florida on my other blog.  You can find the posts HERE and HERE.  Of the pod, only 4 survived - one male and 3 females.  They were taken to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation.

On Tuesday, it was announced in a press release from SeaWorld that the rehabilitated whales will not be released back to the wild because they were dependent calves at the time of rescue.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is ultimately responsible for the decision and agreed that the animals were not able to be released.  They will join another previously rescued, non-releasable female, Freddi.
You can find the story HERE

This is not a surprising decision, but it is a controversial one.  It seems that SeaWorld knew exactly what they were doing from the beginning.  Many of the adult stranded whales at the time were euthanized.  The early reports also only mentioned one juvenile out of the group that were rescued.  SeaWorld is known for their husbandry efforts and with another captive female in their collection, this appears to be the perfect set-up.

Could it be that SeaWorld didn't want to deal with the older whales and that is why they were euthanized?  Were the juveniles purposely rescued so they could end up in SeaWorld's collection?
Do you think this is SeaWorld coming to the rescue or benefiting themselves from a bad situation?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Baaack with a Taiji Update

Picture taken from I Love Dolphins facebook page

WOW!  It's been a while since I've been here but it's good to be back.  So, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your enemies, share, share, share!
And don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate facebook page
There is a lot to catch up on so I'm hoping to keep the posts coming.

Today I wanted to catch up on the news in Taiji.  The last time I posted about Taiji was late November so here is what's been going on since then...

November 28 there were 7 Risso dolphins killed in the cove
December 2 was a horrific day in the cove!  Sixteen bottlenose dolphins were captured.  Seven were killed and 9 were taken live-capture for various aquariums
Also that day, there were 12 short-finned pilot whales killed
On December 7, 12 Risso dolphins were killed
Fourteen to Fifteen Risso dolphins were killed on December 9.
On December 11, 55-65 Striped dolphins were captured.  One was held captive and the others were killed
12/12 was another devastating day in the cove.  200 bottlenose dolphins were captured.  25 were killed, 101 held captive and 74 were released.
December 20 brought the death of 25-30 more Striped dolphin and December 23 there were 5 more killed.

So far in 2013, there were 14 white-sided dolphins (pictured above) captured for captivity.  One of these died.

In total since the beginning of the season in September...
399 animals have died (33 bottlenose, 1 Pacific white-sided, 102 Risso, 141 Pilot whales, and 122 Striped)
159 have been held captive (132 bottlenose, 14 Pacific white-sided, 9 Risso, 2 Pilot whales and 2 Striped)
286 have been released (134 bottlenose, 4 Risso, 148 Pilot whales)

Although so many have been released, many of them have been discovered dead near the cove due to the stress of the capture.  Several of these have also been juveniles who cannot survive on their own.  The reason for many of them released is that they are too small, but that doesn't mean that the hunters are doing any favors.  These animals released don't count against their quota.