Marine Mammals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1993:

The U.S. Navy on May 27 flew five dolphins
from a base on San Diego Bay to the Disney World Epcot
Center “Living Seas” pavillion in Orlando, Florida––with-
out getting prior permission from the National Marine
Fisheries Service, and in apparent contravention of lan-
guage in the current appropriation for the Navy dolphin pro-
gram, which provides “no less than $500,000 only to devel-
op training procedures which will allow mammals which are
no longer required for this project to be released back into
their natural habitat. The confreres prohibit the release of
these mammals to any alternative captive environment.”
The dolphins were moved from San Diego––on a five-year-
loan to Disney/Epcot––to make room for between 40 and 55
dolphins who are being relocated from a base in Hawaii.
Disney/Epcot plans to use the dolphins for captive breeding.

The National Marine Fisheries Service in late
May revoked Marine World/Africa USA’s permit to import
four false killer whales after learning they were to be cap-
tured during a “dolphin drive” on the Iki peninsula of Japan.
Former Sea World marine biologist John Hall charged as far
back as October 1987 that the widely publicized Iki dolphin
massacres were no longer undertaken to protect fishing nets,
their original purpose, but were instead orchestrated to cap-
ture selected marine mammals for first Sea World, which
struck a deal with the Iki fishing industry circa 1985, and
later both Marine World/Africa USA and the Miami
Seaquarium. Said Joe Roberts of the Dolphin Alliance,
“Somehow the public relations mumbo-jumbo from the
whale jails about exhibiting animals so the public will learn
to respect and protect just doesn’t sound convincing when
you picture these same people on the banks of a blood-filled
bay saying, ‘I’ll take three of these and two of those.'”
The year-old Dolphin Alliance hopes current
negotiations with the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo,
Florida, will secure the release of Bogie and Bacall, two
bottlenosed dolphins whose 1988 capture influenced the
National Marine Fisheries Service to bar further captures for
the benefit of facilities not open to the public. The privately
developed Ocean Reef Club was recently sold to an associa-
tion of member homeowners. This brought the club under
the new NMFS rules, obliging it to either sell the dolphins
to an aquarium or turn them over to a group such as the
Dolphin Alliance for rehabilitation and eventual release.
Two other Ocean Reef dolphins, Molly, age 30-plus, and
Lady, 40, are believed to be too old for successful release.
Olympic medalist Matt Biondi, who is of
Norwegian background, has endorsed Earth Island
Institute’s boycott of Norwegian products, called in protest
of Norway’s decision to resume commercial whaling.
Norway plans to kill as many as 1,000 minke whales this
year––if the whalers can find them.
At instigation of the Dolphin Alliance, 16 Florida
coastal communities and the Florida House of
Representatives have passed resolutions urging Congress to
end dolphin captures when the Marine Mammal Protection
Act comes up for renewal later this year.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is trying
to find out why 78 highly endangered Kemp’s ridley sea tur-
tles washed up dead along coastal Louisiana in early June.
The deaths came two weeks after a group of captive-bred
juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were released in the same
area. Though not mammals, sea turtles are also protected by
the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
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