Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keep Hanging On

I created the following video for 3 very special Orcas in captivity. These 3 Orcas have a very special place in my heart (not that the others don't) and I worry about them often. I had a dream not long ago that Tilikum, Lolita, and Corky were all moved to Washington State, under the care of The Orca Network, and all the other amazing groups there, and put in Sea pens. They were so very happy and one amazing day the gates were opened and they were free to roam in the wild, were they belong. I woke up from that dream and was heart broken that it ended. I cried and cried. Of course, before I get haters, I know that Corky and Tilikum are not from Washington State, I know none of these whales have ever met, and I know it would not be that simple, but for that that one amazing dream, in my mind the world was right. So please, don't try to take that away from me! :)
  I spoke to my dear friend Barbra Napoles about my feelings for these 3 amazing beings, and she said when she thought of them all that went through here head was ""Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne. When I listened to the song, I was amazed how perfect it was for these 3. So I would like to thank Barbara for the idea to use it. It wouldn't have been the same with any other song. I also want to thank Shelby Proie for allowing me to use video clips of Lolita and protest for Lolita. Also thanks to Audra for allowing me to use clips of Trevor in this video. Trevor is an amazing young man, who is runs his own facebook page and host protest for Lolita. Check out Trev's group Let Lolita Live (LLL).

This video is for Tilikum, Lolita, and Corky, and those who love them.

   There needs to be little to no explaining on why I worry about Tilly. This poor guy has been through so much. He is now known only as a killer, and is treated as such. All fingers are pointed at him for his actions, yet, the majority of the general public not once pointed a finger at his slave owners. He is just a crazy killer to so many, but those who know and love him, know better. The death of Dawn was tragic, beyond tragic really. And in no way would I ever think otherwise, but I wish I could know how she would feel now. Knowing how her beloved Tilly is being treated so cruelly. Locked away from the other whales, all alone in a tiny pool. No interaction with trainers, and not even named as part of the SeaWorld family anymore. Just a sperm bank for the Captive Orca Mill. These days you will find Tilikum floating alone, hardly moving, and visibly depressed.

   Poor Lolita! What can you say about this amazing being. Locked away in a pool so small, and illegal, all alone. Her only company, some dolphins...yep that's natural! You see Orcas and dolphins hanging out in the wild all the time! I have never met Lolita, nor have I ever been to the Miami SeaPrison, but from every video I have seen, the place is a joke. Yet, on the other side of the county, Lolita's family swims free. Her mother, whom she was taken away from, is still alive. There are amazing people who at in time, would set Lolita up in a sea pen, and care for her around the clock, and maybe one day set her free with her mother and the rest of her pod. Yet the selfish and greedy people at the Miami SeaPrison, would prefer a life of lonely slavery for Lolita. Money over morals, that's the name of this game.

 Corky II:
   My sweet Corky. Corky does not get nearly the attention Tilikum and Lolita get. There are groups out there that have organized Free Corky campaigns. Taken from the oceans of BC at the age of 3, Corky has been in Captivity the longest of any Orca living. How she (and all of them, for that matter) has found the will to adapt and survive is beyond me. She started her captive life out with her Cousin Orky, who later died. Corky and Orky and many calves, but all died young (the oldest was 47 days old). She loves to spend her time in the underwater viewing area, where is loves to watch people, and the public loves her. Many bring her books, pictures, and even stuffed animals to look at. Corky has helped raise many of the babies at SeaWorld, including 11 month Orkid. Orkid's Mother Kandu V died in August of 1989, when she tried to attack Corky and missed, running into a wall. She broke her jaw, which severed an artery. For 45 minutes Kandu bleed out, as trainers and vets watched on, helplessly, until she died.  
  Corky was the first Orca I ever met. I feel in love with her, when after a show I was able to get up close to her and pet her. I remember our eyes locking, and it changed my life forever. It was like I could see into her soul. It was truly amazing.  From that day on, I knew that Marine Mammals should not be in captivity.

These are 3 amazing souls. 3 beautiful beings locked away as prisoners and treated like slaves. I hope they know all the wonderful people who are fighting to set them free, or make their lives better in captivity. I hope they Keep Holding On, till the day they can feel the ocean on their faces, and the taste of fresh caught fish (that is not laced with drugs), once again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello To Our Japanese Guest...

We would like to say Hello to our Japanese guest. This week we have had almost as many visitors from Japan, then from The US. I am sure that the majority of you are here to spy. We are OK with that, maybe while you are spying you will learn something that will make you  fight to end the killing of Whales and Dolphins in your country. For those of you who are here to learn, we hope you find this site helpful. We are not here to bash anyone, just to educate on this topic.

These killings are inhumane and endangering the worlds oceans. Their meat is extremely toxic, even researchers from Japan have said this. You are harming yourselves and your future generations. You can disagree with this all you want, but when your children, or your children's children, start becoming very ill, you will wish you would have listened. This is not about taking your culture from you. This is not about bulling you. Its simply about the preserving our oceans and our children's health and future. Know that we will find away to stop the whaling and murdering of dolphins in Japan and around the world.  It is just a matter of time, so you might as well jump on board. If you accept it now, it will make it that much easier in the long run.

(EDITED 1/29/2010... I just want to take a second to apologize for not stating something a little more clearly. We know that not everyone here from Japan are spy's. We in no way mean to offend anyone. I should have taken more time to THANK those of you here from Japan that are here to learn about what is going on. We truly appreciate you all taking a stand against these causes and wanting to make a change. You being here means everything to us. And I am truly sorry for not making that more clear. I have received alot of hate comments over the past week. Although I didn't mean for it to effect my posts, it obviously did. For that I am truly sorry. We are not here to bash anyone, not even the people who are leaving hateful comments. Our goal is to educate and reach out to everyone we can, not to offend anyone. Again, I am really sorry. )
For the Oceans!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Imaq and Kavna

    If you travel to the Vancouver Aquarium, you will see all kinds of marine life on display, everything from jellyfish to Beluga whales. The Aquarium is the home of many beluga whales, but there are two that have become very special. Imaq (EE-mack), the only male at the aquarium and Kavna, the oldest female. However, if you visit the Vancouver Aquarium, you will likely not find Imaq and Kavna on display. Why not, you ask? The reason is because Imaq and Kavna have been placed in a research holding tank, that is off display, and away from public viewing. Why, you ask? From what the aquarium staff says, Imaq likes the ladies, so he must stay separate from them, unless its time to breed. The fear is, if one of the females is pregnant, Imaq may endanger her. Of course this also means that if there is a new baby at the facility, Imaq must be kept away, for the same reason. And given the aquarium is a breeding facility (a very unsuccessful on at that), Imaq is not allowed to be in the main tank, most of the time. But what about Kavna? Why is she being held in the tiny research tank, and not with the other females? Well, the Vancouver Aquarium is accredited by Association of Zoo's and Aquariums (among others) and the rule is that these animals must not be housed alone. So, Kavna was picked to be Imaq's tank mate by the staff of the facility. The tank that these two live in is extremely small. Some say the size doesn't seem to phase Kavna, but Imaq shows signs of stress in the small 10 foot deep pool.
  Kavna is est. to have been born in about 1969 (which would make her about 42 years old). She came to live at the facility in 1976, after she was captured near Churchill, Manitoba.  When Kavna was captured, she was pregnant, but no one knew or suspected it. The staff was shocked when she went in labor and gave birth to a calf they would name Tuaq. Sadly, 4 months later Tuaq died of malnutrition and a bacterial infection.

  Imaq is est to have born in about 1987 (which would make him about 24 years old). He was captured in Churchill Manitoba and arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium in 1990. Imaq is the male at the facility, and is used for breeding.
   Kavna is dominate over Imaq, and does not like to socialize with him. This leaves Imaq board, somewhat bullied, and lonely. He does not have much to do in their tiny little tank, and spends much of his time just swimming in circles. Kavna, does not seem to mind the size of the tank, but she longs to be in the main tank, where she plays with her human visitors in the giant underwater viewing area.

    I came to know these two very special beluga's, when a friend of mine, Mijanou Bauchau, posted a link about Imaq, and a group trying to help him out. I has heartbroken to read about these two whales, and asked Mijanou for more info. It was at this point that she told me a story of her experience with Kavna, that left me wanting to do whatever I could to help. Mijanou told me of how she meet Kavna on a trip to Vancouver. She found her at the underwater viewing area, and how Kavna played with her through the glass. Mijanou quickly feel in love with Kavna and visited her everyday while in Vancouver. She felt an amazing bond with her and she was sad to have to leave. On a quick trip back to Vancouver, Mijanou went back to the facility to see Kavna, but when she got to their hang out spot, Kavna was no where to be seen. Fearing the worst she found a worker and asked where she was. The worker explained to her that she was off display due to Imaq needing a friend. She begged them to see her, but they denied her access. Mijanou left Vancouver with out seeing her whale friend, and with a broken heart.  To make matters worse, her computer crashed and all of her pictures of Kavna where lost.


  After hearing the story I vowed to raise awareness of these two amazing creatures. For one, these animals should not be punished and put into a tiny tank, because the facility is not big enough to house the amount of whales it has. It is not Imaq fault that he is the only male in the facility and is naturally attracted to them. And Kavna should not be punished simply because Imaq needs a pal, which they aren't anyways. If this facility wishes to house these animals it is their responsibility to care for them and house them properly. If they can not meet the needs of the animals they house, then they need to move them to a place that can, like a large sea pen.

 I hope that everyone will join in the effort to help these to special belugas. They need your help, badly. We must put the animals best interest first and tell the Vancouver to either make a larger tank for Imaq, send him to a new facility that can give him more space, or even better....send him home! Remember Freedom is the ultimate goal, but in the mean time, we must demand that these animals are given the best care possible!

 You can find more information about Imaq and the group trying to help him, Captive Ambassadors, by clicking here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Celebrities?

 A group of Celebrities got together and made a public service announcement for the Dolphins of Taiji. When I first saw this PSA, I was very excited! These are A-list celebs, and I just knew with these people on board, the awareness for the dolphin slaughter of Taiji would be raised to a new level. Here is the The Cove PSA...

 But, my happiness with this PSA and the Stars of it, was short lived. You see, although these A-Lister's loaned their faces and their voices to make the video, they have had little to know follow through. Since this years start of the dolphin slaughter, none of these Stars have been to Taiji, nor has any of them been in the media raising awareness about the cause. Maybe its just me, but I find this sad. Why would someone endorse a cause, but then not stand behind it? Do they truly care?
   It was clear to me, and many others that we HAD to get a high profile person at the cove. After much thought I decided to make my own PSA, of sorts. My PSA would be a plea to these same A-Lister's to go to Taiji. To let them know, their "friends" need them badly. Here is that video...

 I have to say, I was kinda surprised at the reactions this video received. Most people, the ones that got what I was saying, and saw the big picture..Loved it. But yet, many felt that me calling out these people was wrong and would even hurt the cause more then help it. This, is just untrue. If these celebs made this video, with the true love for the dolphins, then nothing that I did, should effect the way they feel towards this cause. If this video up set them so much to no longer want to be apart of this cause, their hearts were not in it in the first place. The video was not to disrespect these people, it was just to remind them that the dolphins need them. And I am 100% positive that if any of these people, or any other celebrity were to go to Taiji, things would change. Dolphins would not be killed, and if they were, it would only help our cause. This is about the BIG picture. Let me explain...

   If these or any Celebrity came to Taiji and made it known to both the media and fans, Taiji will be full of people. The Japanese people love celebrities, and they would come to Taiji for a chance to meet and see the celebs. Media around the world would want to document this, but even more important the media of Japan would. Everyone knows the only way to stop this, is through the Japanese citizens. What better way to raise awareness then having the people of Japan in Taiji! And everyone knows when the media is around, the hunters do very little hunting. This would force one of 2 things....they would stop all together, or they would hunt and kill while Japanese citizens and the media looked on.
   When media is at the Cove, things change. The hunters do things differently. Sometimes they won't go out, sometimes they will take dolphins for captivity, but release the rest, other times they will let mothers and babies go. It was been proven when Ric O'Barry comes to town the media goes nuts. Dolphins have not been killed while Ric is in Taiji, in some time. Steven Thompson, from Taiji Action Group, asked for the mothers and young to be released from a pod in the cove, in front of the media. The next day when the slaughter took place, all the young of the pod was released. Recently when a group of Japanese women came to protest the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, with media around, the hunter did not hunt. Time and time again, when high profile cases and media are involved, changes are made.
  I know that many Celebrities are concerned about violence and/or arrest while in Taiji. But this year noone has been arrested, and no one plans on doing anything to be arrested. Many times this year there have been just females watching over the cove, and they have all stated time and time again, at no time have they felt threatened or in danger. We are not asking anyone to go and break the law. The celebrities need to do nothing but show up, chat with some media, sign a few autographs, and be the voice for the dolphins they call friends. I really don't think its asking much, when you think of all the other people who have left their jobs, their families, and their lives for weeks and months at a time. to do just that.
  I again beg the stars of this PSA and all celebrities who are against these cruel and inhumane dolphin drives, to go to Taiji. Contact the whoever you need to contact, Ric O'Barry or one of his volunteers from Save Japan Dolphins,  Libby or Nicole; the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, Taiji Action group, Eyes on Taiji...whatever group you want, just get there! You have the power to help raise awareness. You have the power to up pressure on these hunters and the Japanese government. These dolphins do not belong to Japan, they belong to the world, and as a resident of this world, everyone has a right to stand up and say no more.
I am not the begging kind. However, these dolphins can not do it themselves, so I will do it for them. Please, please, please do everything you can to stop these horrific events. Please go to Taiji! Please raise awareness. Please DON'T turn a blind eye. Just one simple trip, could save thousands of lives, isn't it worth a shot?

"We Are Their Only Hope"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Releasable vs Non-Releaseable

What makes a rescued rehabilitated dolphin releasable or Non-releasable? According to NOAA's release guidelines (page 19 of PDF) certain things should be considered before a dolphin (or any marine mammal) is released back into the wild. This post will touch on these critira's.
Release potential is characterized and categorized based on a thorough assessment of the health, behavior, and ecological status of the animal, as well as the release plan. It is critical that detailed historical, medical, and husbandry records are maintained and reviewed. Based on the findings from the Assessment Team, the attending veterinarian provides a recommendation on releasability to NMFS or FWS. The Agencies will review and consider this information as a part of the release determination review process.
(NOTE: The Assessment team and attending Vet, are people who belong to the facility that the animal is held at. NMFS or FWS does not actually look at the animal, only a report that the facility provides them)

Historical Assessment

  • is there an ongoing epidemic among other wild marine mammals in the area
  • any environmental events such as an Alga bloom, Hazardous waste spill, acoustic insult or special weather condition
  • Has the animal stranded before
  • was the animal exposed to any other wild or captive animal will at the facility
Developmental and Life History Assessment
All rehabilitated marine mammals must have achieved a developmental stage wherein they are nutritionally independent or released with their mothers. Nursing animals should not be released in the absence of their mothers.Young animals must prove they can hunt and feed themselves.
Important questions to be addressed include:

1. does the species depend on a social unit for survival or does it exist solitary in the wild,
2. has the animal developed the skills necessary to find and capture food in the wild,
3. has the animal developed the social skills required to successfully integrate into wild societies,
4. is there knowledge of their home range or migratory routes,
5. does the animal have skills in predator recognition and avoidance.

Behavioral and Ecological Assessment and Clearance

  • demonstration of normal breathing
  • swimming and diving with absence of aberrant (i.e.,abnormal) behavior
  • auditory, and/or visual dysfunction that may significantly compromise survival in the wild and/or suggest diseases of concern.
Medical Assessment and Clearance

The medical assessment includes information related to any diagnostic testing, treatment, and response to treatment. The attending veterinarian should perform a hands-on physical examination upon admission and
prior to the release determination. The attending veterinarian should review the animal’s complete history including all stranding information, diagnostic test results (i.e., required by NMFS or FWS), and medical and husbandry records.

Release Logistics
All marine mammals are required to be identified by markings and tags prior to release. If animal is to be released, a release site must be determined. The site will very depending on age and sex of the animal. Considerations such a environment, predator threat, food source, and if their is a population of the species being released.
So what does this all mean?
 Well in my opinion it means the life of the dolphin is truly in the hands of the facility that "rescued" it. There are many organizations out that that truly have the animals well being in mind. Many want to save the animal and get it back home as soon as it can. But, there are some, that will benefit from these animals being labeled Non-releasable, and with these guidelines, its not hard for them to see to it, that an animal is non-releasable.
 First off the attending Vet and team, are normally on the payroll of the facility that the animal is being housed at. They are the ones that writes the report for NMFS. NMFS never looks at the animal, just the report the facility provides them. Then you look at what makes an animal releasable or not. Any facility that wishes, can suggest every dolphin is non-releasable given these guidelines. If the dolphin is young, they can say the dolphin can not hunt for itself, even if no attempt is made to prove either way. Dolphins are social animals and even though you will see a lone dolphin or a pod of just a few dolphins in many areas, the facility can claim that the dolphin is non-releasable due to the fact that dolphins are social and needs a pod to survive. If the dolphin showed signs of depression or anxiety while in captivity, and the facility put it on medications, the animal could be deemed non-releasable due to "needing" these medications. And of course, given the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, any dolphin stranded in this area could be deemed unreleasable due to uncertainty of its environment. Thus, if a facility doesn't have the animals best interest in mind, they can pretty much find a reason to keep any dolphin rescued from the wild.
 These guidelines MUST be changed. The point of rescuing animals is to help them. Deeming them non-releasable, and sentencing them to work for either the US Navy or entertaining mindless humans, is not helping...its called SLAVERY! A dolphin or any marine mammal, should only be deemed non- releasable after every attempt possible has been made to release them. If an animal is truly non- releasable they should be placed in a huge (and I mean huge) sea pen. It should be fed fresh fish and not be required to work for its meal, after all, if the animal was given a choice, I am sure it would rather be released only to die, then to be forced to do something unnatural, like eating dead fish and dragging people around by its dorsal fin!
 The facility, though can make a suggestion, should not have anything to do with making this decision. A Vet and an evolution team should be made up of people appointed by NMFS or NOAA, and should have no ties to captive dolphins at all.

 Recently, in the Netherlands, an Orca was found swimming in shallow waters. The young female, that was named Morgan, was in very bad shape when found, and rescuers worked hard to save her life. The whale, who is now doing great, was deemed non-releasable, without a single attempt to release her.  Instead of housing this young whale until her pod  could be located and then trying to release her, she has been sentenced to life in captivity. Why? Is this really best for her? Who are we to decide this for her? Now SeaWorld has stepped in to offer advise on the Orcas care. Some would say, "That is kind of SeaWorld to be concerned about her!" and your right, it is. But consider this...Seaworld is the leading facility of Orcas in captivity, with the most "successful" breeding program in the world. But with limited whales, their breeding lines run close. Morgan offers a new breeding line for SeaWorld. Even if Morgan stays in The Netherlands, she can be artificially inseminated (more then likely with Tilikum's sperm, since that's all SeaWorld sees poor Tilikum as these days) with the offspring being sent to Seaworld. But, I see poor Morgan making the long flight across the ocean and joining the SeaWorld breeding factory in the US. Either way, because of the selfishness of her rescuers, Seaworld, and every single person who pays to see these animals in captivity, another amazing creature has now been sentenced to a short life of pain, suffering, and heartache.
So, what about those that are considered releasable? Well, they seem to not always be so lucky. Fact is, that even Marine Mammals deemed releasable are up for grabs for marine parks and other facilities that house marine mammals. But how can this happen? If a animal is deemed releasable, how can it possibly still be denied the right to freedom?
   On March 5 2010, IMMS submitted a request to obtain 8 RELEASABLE sea lions for public display. These animals would not be taken from the wild, but from a rehabilitation center. The request stated they would consider non-releasable animals, but would prefer releasable ones. I encourage you to read the request, it is 20 pages long, but well worth it. It gives the general public a look into how these people justify keeping animals in captivity. The reasons are outrageous. For an organization that is supposed to be rescuing, rehabilitating, and practicing conservation, this document tells a different story. The goal of rescuing and rehabilitating is to release as many animals back into the wild as possible. Not to keep them for selfish reasons. But this is what is happening, with reasoning being  "If released the animal might be attacked and killed by a predator, something that would not happen in captivity."
    I want to take a few seconds to argue the "If released the animal might be attacked and killed by a predator, something that would not happen in captivity."  point that was stated in the request by IMMS. Although a marine mammal in captivity may not have to worry about sharks or orcas, it appears they still may not be safe, from the reckless actions of their caretakers. IMMS  President, Moby Solangi, lost 5 sea lions and a harbor seal when he abandoned these animals, as a Major Hurricane was heading towards his facility. These animals would have never been there if they were NOT in captivity, or if he (Moby Solangi) had removed them from harms way, but he didn't. Need another example? In 1984, at Gulfarium, in Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. a 7 month old Sea lion, named Sushi (sadly enough), died after being attacked by a facility guard dog. If Sushi was not in captivity, this would have not happened. Those are just two examples, I am positive if I took more time, I could come up with many more.  So, I feel this argument of what may or may not happen if these animals are released, is ridiculous, to say the least.

 Bottom line is this. Its time that we, humans, make a change. We can not allow these animals fates to be decided by those who will profit from them. We must work together and fight to change not only the guidelines, but the way these guidelines are enforced. We must demand that these animals are given a fair chance at a normal life. Just because one saves the life of an animal, does not give one the right to that animals life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Georgia Aquarium

Not long ago, our good friend and fellow activist Holise, wrote a blog post about the Georgia Aquarium. After speaking to Holise on this aquarium and their plans to open a new dolphin exhibit I decided that I needed to look into the history of this aquarium and the animals that call it "home". We would like to thank Holise for bringing this aquarium into the spotlight to us, and many others. Please take a moment to read Holise's post Dolphins in Georgia. Holise has an amazing blog and I encourage everyone to follow it.

The Georgia Aquarium opened its doors to visitors on November 23 2005. The worlds largest aquarium, The Georgia Aquarium has over 60 exhibits and more then eight million gallons of water. The Aquariums more then 400 employees and 2,000 volunteers have welcomed over elven million visitors since its opening.

In the Ocean Voyager exhibit, a 6.3 million gallon habitat, guest will see thousands of fish, sharks, and rays. But the stars of the exhibit is the 4 Whale sharks and 4 Manta Rays that call this tank home. Visitors can get multiple views of the animals while walking through underwater tunnels, a variety of different windows, including the monstrous 23 feet high, 61 feet wide viewing window. This exhibit is by far the most popular exhibit at the aquarium.
   In the Coldwater Quest exhibit, guest get a glimpse at the aquariums resident Beluga whales: Maris, Beethoven, Grayson, and Qiun. Playing along in the same exhibit, harbor seals dart around in the water. You will also find African penguins and otters as you travel through the Coldwater Quest, which was closed in 2009 and then reopened in 2010 after a full renovation.
  Sometime in 2011, the Georgia Aquarium will open a brand new $110 million Dolphin exhibit.Report. It will be the largest expansion to the aquarium since it opened its doors. The new exhibit was scheduled to open in late 2010, but the dolphins were not 100% ready for show, so the date was pushed back. “Some of our animals have come in a little later than expected due to permits, so we started our heavy training more than two months later than we expected,” said David Kimmel, president and chief operating officer of Georgia Aquarium. “We had to go through acclimation periods, and it’s taking them a little longer to learn their behaviors.” Guest will have to pay an additional fee to see the new dolphin show, although what the price will be has not been released.
  The facility sounds amazing, if you like that sort of thing. I will admit that our family went to the Georgia Aquarium in the spring of 2008 while visiting a friend. I was amazed by the Ocean Explorer exhibit. The site of those whale sharks in person, their size, the way they and the Manta Rays glide through the water, such grace. It was an amazing site. But we, as a family, were not thinking. We did not know the truth behind these fish, and the Beluga's that were being held in this facility. But now, we do, and we want to share a history timeline and information about the animals housed at the Georgia Aquarium.

 October 17 2005
The Georgia Aquarium receives two Beluga whales, Gasper and Nico from Mexico.
 *  Gasper (captured in 1997) and Nico (in 1996), both males, were both captured in the White Sea of Russia and  were sent to Mexico. Both Beluga's were housed under poor conditions while  in Mexico. Gasper NOAA ID is NOAOOO6291 Nico's is NOA0006292 Report

November 6 2005~
The Georgia Aquarium receives three Beluga whales, Maris, Natasha, and Marina from the New York Aquarium (NYA).
* Maris, a male, was born 7/28/1994 at the NYA. His mother is Natasha and Father is Winston. On 12/18/2002 he was transferred to Mystic Aquarium from NYA, and then transferred back to NYA on 5/26/04. His NOAA ID is NOA0005587
 *Natasha, a female and mother of Maris, was captured on 7/16/1984 from Manitoba Canada.
  She arrived at NYA on 7/22/1984. She, like her son, was transferred to Mystic and then back.
  Her NOAA ID is NOA0000748
 *Marina, a female, was captured from Manitoba Canada on 7/25/1987. She arrived at NYA 8/2/1987. There is no record that shows were Marina was kept before going to NYA, nor if she was transferred along with Natasha and Maris to Mystic.  NOAA ID is NOA0000764

 November 23 2005~
 Georgia Aquarium opens its doors.

 January 2 2007~
Gasper the beluga whale dies. Cause of death is listed as Osteomyelatis, infection of the bone.
 January 12 2007~
Ralph the whale shark dies. Report Cause of death is  peritonitis. Report

 May 2007~
Georgia Aquarium gets two new whale sharks from Taiwan.

 June 13 2007~
Norton the whale shark dies. Report 
He was euthanized after months of strange behavior and illness. Report

 December 1 2007~
 Marina the beluga whale dies. Report

 October 4 2009~
Maris, Natasha, and Nico are transferred to Seaworld Texas while their exhibit is renovated.

October 31 2009~
Nico the beluga whale dies at Seaworld, weeks after his transfer.
 Cause of death Meningoencephalitis, pneumonia. Report  Report on all 3 Beluga deaths
 February 22 1010~
The Georgia Aquarium welcomes Maris back from Seaworld Texas, along with friend Beethoven.
 *Beethoven, a male, was born at SWT on 8/8/1992. His mother is Bandit and father is Ike.
  On 4/20/1997 he was transferred to Seaworld San Diego. On 11/21/1998 he was transferred
  to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. On 6/1/2009 he was sent back to SWT.
  Can not find his NOAA ID. 
 *Natasha was left at SWT. She had been with her son Maris all his life, they are now 100's of  miles apart.

 June 6 2010~
 The Georgia Aquarium receives its first dolphins in for its new exhibit.                  
              Niele, Shaka,  Makana and Kei, are transferred in from Dolphin Quest Hawaii (DQH).
                  *Niele, a male, was born 6/30/1994 at Dolphin Discovery. He is transferred to DQH on
                    10/1/2003. NOAA ID is NOA0000419  Parents unknown
                  *Shaka, a female, was captured 8/20/1988. NOAA ID is NOA0003745
                  * Makana, a male, was born 11/9/2003 at DQH. Mother is Pele and father is Lona. NOAA
                     ID is NOA0006246.
                  *Kei, a male, was born at DQH on 10/18/2003. Mother is Kona and father is Lona
                     NOAA ID is NOA0006245

 July 6 2010~
The Georgia Aquarium welcomes Phebe the dolphin, transferred from Marineland Fl.
                   *Phebe, a female, was born at Marineland Fl on 5/5/2002. Her mother is Betty and father
                      is Chubby. NOAA ID is NOA0006017

 July 25 2010~
Bermuidiana, Luna, and Lily (dolphins) arrive from Dolphin Quest Bermuda (DQB)
                   *Bermuidiana, was born at DQB on 7/6/2007. Mother is Calibon Father is Stien
                     NOAA ID is NOA0006406
                   *Luna, a female, was born at DQB on 5/23/2007 Mother is Cirrus Father is Stien
                     NOAA ID is NOA0006405
                   *Lily, a female, was born 4/9/2004 at DQB. Mother is Cirrus Father Khybu
                      NOAA ID id NA0006429

 July 31 2010~
Briland and Salvador arrive at Georgia Aquarium from Dolphin Experience.
                   *Briland was born at DE 5/17/2003
                   *Salvador, a male, was born at DE on 9/28/2004 Mother is Robala Father is Unknown

November 20 2010~
Quin and Grayson come to Georgia Aquarium from SWT.
                   *Quin, a female, was born at SWT on 7/31/2008 Mother Sikku Father Nanuq
                   *Grayson, a male, was born at SWT on 6/26/2007 Mother Martina Father Nanuq

This is of course, just a timeline and information on the "big" animals of the Georgia Aquarium. It by no means includes all the deaths that have happened there. The problem is, unless people witness these deaths, they are swept under the rug, and hidden from the public. For an example...
 Imagine being in the amazing 100 foot long underwater tunnel at the aquarium. The tunnel is filled with many different guest, including children an this happens....

Yep you are seeing it. A hammerhead shark decided it was hungry and took a chunk out of a stingray!

Listen to the terror, screams, and crying from the poor kids watching. The poor stingray falls to the bottom of the tank and bleeds to death, as the sharks circle over head in a blood frenzy and the people look on, some in terror, others in shock.

Just how many animals have died at the Georgia Aquarium is unclear. However, questions to why some of the animals have died, have gone unanswered. How many Beluga whales will die? How many more whale sharks will die? When will the dolphins start dying, and will pneumonia be the cause (as per norm)? With already having 3 belugas die in just 5 years, The Georgia Aquarium is in line with other facilities death rates. I am surprised they have not lost a dolphin yet, since many seem to die of pneumonia after transport, especially long distances. How many animals will have to die for the sake of human enjoyment? When will we wake up and see just how wrong this is?
   In recent news AT&T has been named as the official sponsor of the new Dolphin show at the Georgia Aquarium. As a result many activist have called for a boycott and letter writing campaign against AT&T. Companies that support these facilities are contributing to animals being held in captivity, forced to preform, and not being allowed to live out a normal life, most facing early deaths.
 We encourage everyone to take a stand against the Georgia Aquarium. Do not buy tickets to this facility. Write, call, fax, or e-mail them about your concerns.  We also ask you to stand up to AT&T. Let them know that supporting a dolphin show is inhumane and morally wrong. Tell them that if they support these kinds of activities, you will no longer be able to support them.  Remember, if we all stand together, we can achieve anything!

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

SIDE NOTE: In doing my research, I noticed that many of the parents of the dolphins, now housed at the Georgia Aquarium, were captured from the wild. Most of these had been transferred from the US Navy. Now, I know that the US Navy received wild dolphins from many places, but I wonder if any of these wild dolphins are connected to Moby Solangi...Just a thought)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why the Oceans?

Many people do not understand why our Oceans are important. They don't understand that every single creature in the ocean plays a key role in our lives. Not just for food, not just to be able to enjoy a nice swim.
Its our world, our very lives. If they die, we die. That's pretty simple, don't you think!

Dolphins, Pilot whales, Beluga's and Orca's are not covered under the laws of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). There is also no laws that protect Sharks. Which means that countries make up there own laws where these animals are concerned. Normally there are no regulations or the regulations are ignored or not enforced. So countries can kill or take as many as they want, and no one can do anything to stop them.

 The problem is, that its not just the countries problem. Killing these animals do not just effect the country killing them. More times then not, when dolphins or whales are killed, they are migrating. Dolphins and  whales could, and do, visit many countries in any given year. They follow the fish and plankton. But what happens when on the way from point A to point B, X country kills thousands of them? This is what is happening. Every year in Japan alone, more than 20,000 Dolphins, porpoise's and whales are killed  That's just one country!! Then look at the staggering fact that OVER 300,000 Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are killed  world wide, every year, due to being caught in nets and other fishing gear. The figures are adding up.
It is estimated that 73 MILLION sharks are killed every single year, that's more then 10,000 an hour! Sounds crazy huh. Well, its true. Most of the sharks are caught in nets or are caught for fining. It is believed 90% of the worlds large sharks have been wiped out. There comes a time when a species can not recover. Do we really want to wait till that time comes? We have been there, done that, and it doesn't always work.

 Small cetaceans  and sharks are apex predators, this means they are the top of the food chain. As every link in the chain they have a job. Their job is to control populations of the food they eat. Without them being around to do their job, there will be a complete imbalance in the ecosystem. It will effect every other link in the chain, from top to bottom. Fish will become over abundant, disease will spread, and they will die. Then what? Well, for one, countries that turn to the oceans for its main source of protein will no longer have food. That will suck, but it goes deeper. What happens when there is no fish?

This is a video from Strange Days Cause. It takes place in Africa and it proves that without fish and the proper food chain, human life is in a world of trouble. The video explains what is happening of the coast of
Namibia, in Southwest Africa. Bronwen Currie, with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Swakopmud, Namibia, moved  to the area she started smelling foul oder. She says it smelt of rotting eggs. The color of the oceans changed and then countless fish washed up dead on the shores. After examining the fish she knew that the cause for the death of the fish was Hydrogen Sulfide, a poison gas. The cause of the gas was Phyto Plankton. The plankton was dying and fallowing to the ocean floor in decay. This decay caused the Hydrogen Sulfide gas. After collecting samples from the ocean floor she found another toxic gas...Methane. The ocean floor was erupting and the sulfur was being set free. This was changing the waters color and killing the fish. Currie contacted Scarla Weeks, an oceanographer who uses satellite to study the earth, and Oceanographer Andrew Bakun. They wanted to use the satellites to locate eruptions. A few months later, they noticed a change in the ocean color. A series of eruptions accrued up and down the coast, covering 1000 sq. miles.  Bakun became obsessed with figuring out the cause. He learned that the eruptions coincided with Dessert rain. As the storms rolled in, low pressure cells would lower the pressure of both the ocean surface and its floor. The low pressure would uncork the methane, releasing the sulfur. So what does this have to do with fish? It goes on to explain that Namibia's Sardinestock is disappearing. What once was a very rich stock, has been over fished. Sardines were one of the only fish that could handle the rough currents off Namibia's coast. They eat the Phyto Plankton, which decreased the source of the settlement gases. With the sardine numbers down the eruptions will increase. The government is trying to restock the sardine population, but the eruptions are spreading into the sardine nurseries, killing young fish and larva. To make things worse, Bakun fears that the Methane being released is adding to global warming. Its a very real issue!

And over fishing does not just effect the oceans. It effects the creature that walk earths land as well. In this video, from the same people as the above one. It explains how, again in Africa, when the fishing is bad, people turn to the animals of the land to hunt. The populations of all animals where effected. And there was a very serous side effect as a result to the major imbalance.

The problem is not just in the top of the food chain. Every link in the chain has to be protected. If we worry about the larger animals but leave out the much smaller life, like plankton, we are not doing any good. There is a reason for every single living creature in our oceans, lakes, a streams. It does not matter if we understand why they are important. It is our job to learn about them, understand them, respect them, and protect them all. This is what we, as humans, are responsible for. Being at the every top of the food chain, this is our job. Not to deplete and kill everything around us. But to preserve and protect them. We must protect our oceans. Without them, we will not survive. Its up to us.
Peace to you and yours!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stand Up!

Eric's project is done, and I am so happy to present it for everyone to see. He has wanted to make this video for so long and its here. We would like to thank those who contacted us and shared photos, and video for this project, as well as those who sent us names of people they felt should be in the it.

This video is to honor all those who have taken a stand against the inhumanities that occur in our oceans and to encourage those who are not to Stand Up.

I personally want to say, Way to go Eric! This video is simply amazing. I have watched a billion times both during its creation and the final product. I'm proud of you! Thanks for your amazing work!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moby Solangi Part III IMMS

In 1984 Moby Solangi founded The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS). The Non-profit organization, located in Gulfport Ms, is the top stranding organization in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. IMMS's Center for Marine Education and Research,  offers on-site public education, conservation, and marine mammal research, along with a state-of-the-art veterinarian hospital and additional facilities to rescue and rehabilitate stranded marine mammals.
The organizations hold a number of education courses that offer the public, school age children, and interns a chance to learn about marine mammals and ocean conservation. These courses include: on site field trips, a community outreach program, a marine biology class, and an internship program.
 IMMS conducts research on marine mammals both in the wild and in captivity.  Studies such as population dynamics, effects of human interaction, ambient noise measurements, and genetic diversity are just a few studies that IMMS is part of in wild dolphin populations. Studies being conducted on captive dolphins include: Mother and calf interactions,  dolphin-interaction programs and how it affect the behavior of bottle nose dolphins, impact of long-term storage of the fish fed to dolphins, and a host of health related studies.

 I must say, I find most of these studies sad! The studies done on captive dolphins would never be needed if these dolphins were not held in captivity to begin with. Impact of long-term storage of the fish fed to them...REALLY? These studies cost money, money that normally comes from donation or grants, why are we spending money for this sort of thing? Why not do studies on how and what it would take to release animals that had been labeled Non-releasable? Why not spend money to actually help these creatures get back home?

 IMMS claims to be a conservation organization, but in the conservation tab on their website the only thing there is beach clean up days and annual festivals were other conservation groups can go and  spread awareness about their groups (I wonder how IMMS would feel if Sea Shepherd asked to attend?). IMMS may in fact, do other things in terms of conservation, but judging by their website, I am not seeing it. Beach clean up is a great thing, and spreading awareness is very important, but that is not conservation, its outreach.
 Since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, IMMS has rescued, rehabilitated and released many endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. The turtles were equipped with satellite tracking devices, that will allow researchers track the turtles migration patterns. A person can keep track of the tagged  turtles on the IMMS website. The IMMS list over 50 sea turtles that the organization has rescued, of these 4 died, 15 are still remain under their care, over 10 have been released of the coast of Mississippi, and more then 20 have been transported to Florida. I(I am not sure what is done with these animals, I am hoping that they are releasing them, but it doesn't say either way.)  IMMS has also conducted necropsy's of dead animals found from the spill.
 IMMS is also the stranded and beached dolphin rescue organization for the area. Under their rescue section there are 9 different stories of dolphin rescues. One story is of the Marine Life dolphins, which I have already talked about. One is Cayenne's story, which I have discussed as well. 2 of the stories are of dolphins being trapped and the rescuers helped them back to where they needed to be. The other 5 stories are of animals in bad shape, and IMMS took them back to their facility for medical treatment. Of these 5 dolphins, 3 died and 2 survived. If you add Cayenne in with the 2 that lived, that a total of 3 living dolphin. All 3 of these dolphins were deemed non-releasable and where sent to facilities to live and work. Cayenne to Marine Life, Moke to The Navy's Marine Mammal facility in San Diego Ca., and Cajun to Gulf World Marine Park in Fl.  These are the only dolphin Rescues that IMMS has listed on its site, if there are more, we are unaware of them. I truly hope that there are more, and these dolphins were treated and released because from the data they have provided, they have rehabilitated 3 dolphins and released none, which is what their goal is supposed to be.
 I wanted to point two facts listed under the FAQ section of IMMS's website. I feel that the questions are important, and the answers are very interesting..

22) How intelligent are dolphins?
Intelligence is defined as 1 a)  the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, b)  the faculty of thought and reason.  More simply put, it is the ability to learn, understand, or deal with new or trying situations; and the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment.  It is also defined as the ability to think abstractly.  Quantification of intelligence is difficult to do, and it is especially difficult to compare across species.
   We can say from experience that dolphins are fast learners and seem to be able to generalize some of the information they learn.  However, to date there is no evidence to suggest that dolphins or any other living species is as intelligent as humans.  Contrary to popular belief, brain size is not an indicator of intelligence.  Complex brain structure is more closely related to level of intelligence in a particular species
I personally find this answer disturbing. With all the studies that have been done on both captive and wild dolphins for researchers around the world, there is extremely strong evidence that dolphins are highly intelligent. For IMMS ,who are supposed to be dolphin experts, to not grasp this bothers me.
29) What is the current "success rate" of rescuing and rehabilitating dolphins?
This is a difficult number to quantify and measure in a standard and systematic way. As mentioned above, though most dolphins and whales that strand have a very small chance of survival, the individual animal’s chance of survival depends largely on several factors. The most significant of these factors include what condition the animal is in when it is discovered, the species of the animal and the expertise of the staff and facility that respond and care for it.

 This to me is IMMS totally avoiding the real question. The question is what is the success rate, simple stats are all that is needed. They could even break it down to types of injuries, diseases, condition the animal is in, a number of things. If they rescued 10 dolphins and all of them had conditions which there was no way to save, I am sure many would applaud the effort. But if they are saving 10 dolphins and then all those animals are deemed unreleasable and they are sold to facilities, This would be a problem. With all the dolphins in captivity and all the studies that are being done on captive dolphins, if we are not LEARNING how to save them, then how can anyone justify keeping them?

I can not say that IMMS is a bad facility, because I do not have proof to back it up.  It appears that IMMS has done some work, including their work on the sea turtles, that has been very beneficial. I am very thankful for their efforts to save beached and stranded animals. But with the Founder, President, and Executive Director, being Moby Solangi, I question their motives. The facts are the facts. Moby Solangi was in the business of capturing and trafficking dolphins. This is something that no one can deny. It seems very interesting to me that the man who once captured dolphins for both profit and display is now heading up the organization that rescues them along the gulf coast. I wonder were Moby will be getting his new dolphins for his new oceanarium...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ocean Activist...

Hello Friends! We are working a new project and are in need of some help. The project surrounds Ocean causes, mainly Dolphins, whales, and sharks. We are in need of pictures and video clips of ocean activist. We are hoping that you could help us out. If you have pictures or video clips of protest that you would like us to use, please send them our way (by e-mail or weblink). We also want to add pictures of the hard working activist that are out there. Those that work their heart out for the cause. If you would like for us to add a picture of a certain activist that YOU think does an amazing job for Ocean causes, please send us their name, a picture of them (Please don't send us pictures of Paul, Ric, or Pete..we got them!) and what this person does for the cause. You can also send your own picture, Face it, we all work hard and should be in the spotlight from time to time! This is not a popularity contest, and its not about one organization over the other. We will try to use as many pictures as we can (depending how well this works). If we receive multiple pictures of certain people, we will use which ever works best for the project. By you sending us pictures for videos, you are allowing us to use those in this video.

You can send us an e-mail at or contact us on Facebook. Thanks so much! Can't wait to share the final product!

 I promise this project (its actually Eric's project) is AMAZING, and it will only be better if we can put as many activist in it as we can. I hope you will help us out! Thanks!

For the Oceans!

Send Them Home!

Another video from my heart. This is a tribute to the "Captured 6" Corky, Lolita, Katina, Kasatka, Ulises, and Tilikum, who were torn from their families at a young age and forced into slavery. This is also a tribute to all those animals who have lost their lives to entertain us, those still forced to, and those
that were killed because they were not "good enough"! The time has come
to release these amazing creatures back into their homes! This will not
happen over night, but it NEEDS to happen! RIP SUMAR, who makes several
appearances in this video.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Dolphin Smile...

If you ask someone who goes to dolphin facilities "What makes you think they are happy?" Most will answer something about the dolphins and their smile. So I just wanted to take a few seconds (because that is all it will take) to clear this myth up.

Dolphin is the wild. Dolphin looks to be smiling...

Dolphin in Captivity, that appears to be smiling...

Dead think its smiling now?

What about now? Nope...I don't think so!!!!

The truth of the matter is NO! the dolphin is not smiling! Its just the way its jaw is built. Please do not mistake happiness with bone structure. Although it might make you feel better, for going to a dolphin facility, to think these animals are smiling at you. They are not...please stop fooling yourself!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where Are You Now?

I made this video to plea with the Celebs that were on "The Cove" psa. Your friends need your help! Please go to Taiji! Dolphins are dying! Your words are nice, but your actions would be so much better! Please help us save them!