Dolphin captures planned in Panamanian waters
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
“The dolphin brokerage operation formally known as Wildlife
International Network is moving closer to capturing 80 dolphins in
Panama,” In Defense of Animals warned in a May 2, 2007 “Action
Alert,” based on findings by Panamanian activists and Dolphin
Project founder Ric O’Barry, who began exposing the operation in
“WIN is now known as Ocean Embassy,” IDA said.
“If Ocean Embassy is successful,” O’Barry told ANIMAL
PEOPLE, “they will be able to supply dolphins to just about any
place that wants them.
“We were never able to meet with the decision makers in
Panama who approved the capture of the dolphins,” O’Barry said after
visiting to help lead protests, “but we reached the people who
elected them. All of the NGOs in Panama are working together to stop
the captures. They have organized two protests so far. About 1000
people turned up for the first one and about 500 for the second.”
However, “President Martin Torrijos and the first lady are
strong supporters of the dolphin captures,” O’Barry said. “I am
told that it is unconstitutional to capture dolphins in Panama, but
they are on the fast track to capture them anyhow. Legislation was
passed in 2005 to protect the marine environment-including dolphins.
The Authority for the Aquatic Resources of Panama was established to
oversee the new legislation,” but of the 10 AARP members, “Eight
voted for capturing the dolphins and two voted against.
“The committee imported an ‘objective biologist’ from Cuba
who conducted her own research into Ocean Embassy and the
proposed dolphin captures,” O’Barry charged. “We met this same
‘objective biologist’ in Guatemala a few years ago when rescuing two
dolphins from a traveling dolphin show. She is in fact a dolphin
trainer working at the National Aquarium in Havana, Cuba.”
Retaliating, “Ocean Embassy Panama has charged one of the
principal critics of its plans, Dr. Celma Moncada of the animal
welfare group Fundacion Humanitas, with criminal defamation,”
reported Eric Jackson of Panama News.
“In response, Moncada has filed a complaint alleging that
the company is committing fraud and conducting a deceptive publicity
“They say they’re investing $400 million, and they’re not,”
Moncada told Jackson.
“WIN was [formerly] in the Solomon Islands, establishing a
dolphin export operation with their partner Christopher Porter of
Marine Export Limited,” IDA recalled. The Solomon Islands project
captured 170 dolphins in mid-2003, during a time of political
disturbance when the islands were effectively without government,
until occupied by Australian troops.
Twenty-eight of the dolphins were flown to Parque Nizuc in
Cancun, Mexico, in July 2003. Mexico forbade further imports from
the Solomons after several of the dolphins died. Fifteen survivors
were reportedly relocated to a swim-with-dolphins facility on
Cozumel island in July 2004.
What became of the rest is unknown. Visitors counted 44 in a
sea pen on Gavutu Island in late 2004, 26 in late 2005, and 20 in
February 2006. “We believe that WIN and MAR are responsible for the
deaths of at least 25 dolphins,” IDA said.