From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1994:

Hong Kong is building a new airport on
fill dumped into the former main feeding area for
highly endangered Chinese white dolphins, a sub-
species found only in the Hong Kong harbor area and
actually more pink than white. Of the 400 white dol-
phins counted circa 1990, only 50 to 100 survive
––many in a bay already designated for similar devel-
opment. The Hong Kong government has responded
to the dolphins’ plight by hiring biologists Lindsay
Porter and Chris Parsons to document their demise.
The Kyodo news agency reported
November 11 that the Japanese Institute of
Cetacean Research is soon to sell 65 metric tons of
meat from 21 minke whales killed last summer in the
northwestern Pacific––the first whales killed there
legally since 1986. The price is to be $17 per pound.
While nominally honoring the International Whaling
Commission moratorium on commercial whaling,
Japan has killed 300 minke whales for “research” in
the southern Pacific each year since 1987, selling the
meat after cursory study. This year Japan planned to
kill 100 minke whales in the northern Pacific as well.
Kyodo didn’t make clear how many whales of the
quota were actually killed.
Retired shrimper Cyrus Seven has pro-
posed starting a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchery
near Houma, Alabama, to be funded by the shrimp
industry in lieu of using much-hated turtle exclusion
devices on their nets.
Another of the 12 former Ocean World
dolphins who was flown to the Institute for Marine
Sciences in the Honduras on September 15 has
died––Squirt, age 34, captive at least 30 years.
Doug Cook, her trainer until 1979, burst into tears
at the news. “You might as well have told me my
mother died,” he said. “Squirt was the dolphin who
kept me in the business. She had one bad eye––she
lost the sight in it in the wild––but she was just
amazing, like a person in the things she could
understand and do. She would watch you training
another animal, and all of a sudden present you with
the routine, the whole thing, and get all of it right
the first time. She would improvise during a perfor-
mance, and if you tossed her a fish, it became a per-
manent part of her act. She loved to perform.”
Squirt died seven weeks after Trouble, her seven-
year-old niece, succumbed to pneumonia. Worried
by that death, Cook went to Honduras himself for a
first-hand look at the Institute for Marine Sciences,
which is part of the St. Anthony’s Key dolphin swim
program. He found the conditions and care excellent,
he said, a few days before Squirt died, but added
that he personally would have kept the dolphins in
the same social groups they had at Ocean World, to
avoid bullying, rather than putting them all into the
same lagoon together. Two of the dolphins, Mabel
and Tiger, are reputedly bullies; Tiger, he said,
once killed a young dolphin in a fight over food after
being starved as punishment by then-Ocean World
trainer Russ Rector. After Squirt’s death, Cook spec-
ulated that both dead dolphins might have overheated
on the flight from Florida. Overheating, he said,
may not kill dolphins immediately, but can lead to
death later of problems such as cirosis of the liver
that “can look like ordinary conditions of age.”
Merlin, one of the first five dolphins
brought to The Mirage dolphinarium in Las Vegas,
died October 29 at age 30-plus. Veterinarian Lanny
Cornell said the death was due to old age. An
Atlantic bottlenose acquired in 1990 from the
Hawk’s Cay Resort and Marina in Duck Key,
Florida, Merlin sired four calves at The Mirage, of
whom one died in infancy; three remain there, along
with the other four dolphins who arrived with him.
A National Marine Fisheries Service task
force has voted 15-6 in favor of killing up to 40
California sea lions at the Ballard Locks in Seattle,
to protect threatened and endangered steelhead runs.
Protests are being coordinated by Mark Berman of
Earth Island Institute: 415-788-3666.
Indonesia on November 5 banned catch-
ing and selling the rare Napolean wrasse, a seven-
foot fish often caught through the use of poisons that
kill coral. Environment minister Sarwono
Kusumaatmadja said Indonesia would pursue a
CITES listing for the Napoleon wrasse next year.
A humpback whale freed on November
16 by British and Omani divers after spending five
days trapped in a fish net thanked them by leaping
“out of the water six or seven times in succession,
landing with thunderous splashes, as if to celebrate
its newfound freedom,” the team reported.
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