South Korea: 2/14/17: One of the two wild-caught dolphins shipped to Ulsan Aquarium has died. Source: Yonhap News
On February 9, amidst trucks, slings and a cacophony of shouting voices, two wild-caught dolphins from Taiji’s brutal drive hunts were unloaded into the tanks of Ulsan Aquarium, in South Korea. Disturbing footage shot by Hwang HyunJin of Hot Pink Dolphins and Care Animal Korea showed the mammals being hoisted into the air, their bodies suspended by cranes as they were maneuvered into the facility.
Despite ongoing efforts by dedicated local activists to block the import of dolphins from Taiji, the government showed their support of keeping dolphins in captivity and granted the necessary permits. This is in stark contrast to 2013, when five bottlenose dolphins were rehabilitated for release near the South Korean island of Jeju. And, just last year, two of the previously-captive dolphins gave birth in the wild, demonstrating that their re-release was not only successful, but that the mammals were thriving in their wild environments.
Says Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project:
The successful rehabilitation and release of five captive dolphins in Jeju Island put South Korea on the forefront of the dolphin freedom movement. South Korea became part of the solution. Yesterday’s importation of dolphins from Taiji, Japan destroyed all of that. South Korea is now back to being part of the problem. We urge the government to reconsider its decision to grant permission to import captive dolphins from Japan. By allowing these imports, the government is directly participating in the extreme violence that takes place in Taiji.”
Dolphin Project will continue to support our South Korean friends and colleagues in their efforts to build awareness of the captivity issue and block the importation of dolphins caught in Taiji’s drive hunts.
Featured image: Local activists protest at Ulsan Aquarium, screen capture, Care Animal Korea
Footage of two dolphins arriving to Ulsan Aquarium in South Korea from Taiji, Japan
Credit: Hwang HyunJin
Credit: Care Animal Korea