Hurricane Katrina helps captive marine mammals make a jailbreak
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2005:
An inadvertent release of dolphins from the Marine Life
Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi ended on September 20 when a
capture team led by former Free Willy/Keiko Foundation trainer Jeff
Foster retrieved the last escapees from the Mississippi Sound.
“Before Katrina hit the coast on August 29,” explained
Valerie Bauman of Associated Press, “the dolphins were moved to a
pool at the Marine Life Oceanarium that had withstood the destruction
of Hurricane Camille in 1969. Katrina destroyed that pool and pulled
the dolphins out into the Gulf of Mexico. Biologists located the
dolphins on September 10 by performing aerial surveys. They were
monitored and fed from boats, and four were rescued within days,
but the other four had left the area.”
Marine Life Aquarium owner Moby Solangi said three of the
eight dolphins “were born at the facility, and had never been wild.”
“So far, none of the media have investigated Solangi’s
background,” complained longtime dolphin freedom advocate Ric
O’Barry, who now works for One Voice, of France. O’Barry took
time out from organizing an October 8 day of international protest
against coastal dolphin massacres and captures for the exhibition
industry to elaborate.
“Solangi has captured more than a hundred dolphins in U.S.
waters,” O’Barry explained, “particularly in Mississippi Sound.
These victim dolphins have been sentenced to a miserable life in sea
circuses, amusement parks, the U.S. Navy, and other captive
dolphin facilities. Some were rented to zoos, such as the Oklahoma
City Zoo, whose dolphin exhibit was finally closed when animal
protection organizations exposed the high death record” at the zoo
“Solangi is one of the world’s biggest traffickers in captive
dolphins,” O’Barry finished, “and his record is a litany of violent
captures and exploitation. One Voice hereby urges U.S. officials to
deny Solangi a permit to rebuild another captive dolphin facility
Six other Marine Life Park dolphins were transported to the
Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach, Florida before Katrina hit.
Nine sea lions were relayed via the Gulfarium to Sea World/ Orlando.
Another sea lion found at large in Gulfport was shot by police.
Still another remained at large for 11 days before he was captured
and sent to the Memphis Zoo.