Our History

Ric O’Barry rehabilitating Joe and Rosie

Dolphin Project is a non-profit charitable organization, dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide. Founded by Richard (Ric) O’Barry on Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the organization aims to educate the public about captivity and, where feasible, retire and/or release captive dolphins. 

The mission of Dolphin Project is to end dolphin exploitation and slaughter, as dolphins are routinely captured, harassed, slaughtered and sold into captivity around the world – all in the name of profit. Dolphin Project works not only to halt these slaughters, but also to rehabilitate captive dolphins for retirement and/or release, investigate and advocate for economic alternatives to dolphin slaughter, and to put a permanent end to dolphin captivity.

Dolphin Project has achieved many important victories for dolphins over the years. We brought the world’s attention to the brutal drive hunts taking place along the coast of Taiji, Japan, as seen in the 2009 Academy Award-winning feature documentary “The Cove,” we successfully negotiated for an end to the dolphin slaughter in the Solomon Islands and we continue to raise awareness that captivity is a cruel and outdated practice.

Ric O’Barry has been working towards these goals for over 47 years, and continues his quest to put an end to dolphin suffering. Since 1970, when Ric attempted to free a captive dolphin in Bimini, he has since readapted and/or released over 20 dolphins back into the wild.

Dolphin Project is the longest-running anti-captivity dolphin welfare organization in the world. Our mission today remains the same as it did in 1970: Let’s protect dolphins together!

Check Out Our Interactive Timeline

1960-1962 Ric O"Barry works as a dolphin trainer at the Miami Seaquarium.
1964 Ric is hired to captured and train the Flipper dolphins,
1969 Ric"s favorite Flipper Dolphin dies in his arms.
Earthday April 22nd 1970 Ric founds the Dolphin Project w/ a donation from Fred Neil & Steven Stills
1975 Liberty & Florida releasedNOVEMBER 1975Liberty and florida were flown by seplane to the bahamas and released back into the wild.
1994 / Joe and Rosie Released
1995 Ric Releases Dolphin From Haiti2002 - Haiti br/>Dolphin Rescue Short video description
1997 Ric rehabs and release "Flipper", the last captive dolphin in brazil, back into the wild.
2001 Guatemala Ariel and Turbo – They were scooped from the clear waters of the Caribbean, put to work in a traveling dolphin show. Released in 2001
2003 Ric visits The Cove in Taiji for the first time.
2010 The Cove wins the Oscar
2014 Dolphin Project files a lawsuit against the Taiji Whale Museum

Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible as authorized by law.

© 2017 Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project. All Rights Reserved.


171 Pier Ave. #234
Santa Monica, CA 90405