Sugarloaf fight goes on
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:
MIAMI, Fla.––The troubled two-year-effort to rehabilitate
and free the former Ocean Reef Club dolphins Bogie,
Bacall, and Molly, along with the former Navy dolphins
Luther, Buck, and Jake, gained addenda in September, four
months after unknown vandals freed Bogie and Bacall from the
Welcome Home Project sea pen on the Indian River Lagoon,
while dolphin freedom advocate Ric O’Barry’s release of
Luther and Buck from the Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary, in
defiance of federal permit requirements, ended with their
recapture, injured and allegedly malnourished.
On September 13, the USDA Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service assigned permanent custody of
Molly, the oldest of the dolphins, to the Dolphin Research
Center, which is also keeping Buck; Luther and Jake are back
at the U.S. Navy marine mammal center in San Diego. The
APHIS order was contested by Rick Trout of the Key Largobased
Marine Mammal Conservancy, who worked with Molly
at both the Ocean Reef Club and the Sugarloaf Dolphin
Sanctuary, and claims to have legal title to her.
The same day, Dolphin Alliance and Welcome Home
Project head Joe Roberts claimed to have seen Bacall, pregnant
when released, with a newborn calf.
Humane Society of the U.S. marine mammologist
Naomi Rose, a Welcome Home sponsor, was skeptical. “The
main diagnostic characteristic Roberts used in his identification
was a left lean in Bacall’s dorsal fin,” she posted to the MARMAM
online bulletin board. “However, there are numerous
dolphins in the lagoon with this characteristic. There are
undoubtedly several females with calves in the Indian River
Lagoon at this time as well.”
On September 20, the USDA announced that
Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary owner Lloyd Good III had agreed
to waive any further claim to Buck, Jake, Luther, and Molly,
and to pay a civil penalty of $10,000, in settlement of Animal
Welfare Act violations.
O’Barry and the Dolphin Research Center staff, long
at odds, resumed hostilities after the July 26 and August 5
failed birthings of dolphin calves at the West Edmonton Mall
in Alberta, Canada. Since four dolphins were captured for the
mall’s indoor pools in 1985, the two females have become
pregnant five times, but have never given birth successfully.
O’Barry told the Edmonton Journal that the dolphins should be
released; Lynne Calero, the mall’s dolphin consultant and a
20-year DRC employee, countered that after 11 years in captivity,
the dolphins are too old to release.