The first time that I can remember seeing a dolphin is one I remember well. I was 11 years old and on a holiday in Egypt. The dolphins swam by our boat! A fantastic moment for everybody on the boat and dolphins too I hope. Now, 7 years later, I see dolphins again. Very different, in a very different context. That’s because I’ve seen the documentary The Cove.
The Cove is a documentary about dolphin-hunting and- capture in Japan. In Japan dolphin have been hunted and captured in a horrific way since 1969 and it’s still going on today. In Taiji to be precise, a place also known as The Cove. Why would you capture dolphins you think? We don’t eat dolphins? Well, people do. But the main reason these dolphins are haunted is to capture them and then sell them to dolphinaria all around the globe. There they spend their entire life in captivity, in a small tank. The dolphins which are captured but aren’t picked out by the dolphinaria are slaughtered and then sold (most of the time as fish and not as dolphin meat). It’s a horrible documentary, I cried throughout most of it. But we can’t look away! This is reality and it must stop.
The main character in the movie is Ric O’Barry. He dedicates his life to fight dolphin-capture and -hunting in Taiji. Ric used to be a dolphin trainer himself, but when a dolphin died in his arms something switched in his head. He started doing research and became and activist. He set up a charity, called The Dolphin Project which I donate to as well (the least I can do). He’s reached some amazing things already! A while ago, he managed to open a rehabilitation center for dolphins that used to live in captivity, the center is out in the open ocean! Ric is a beautiful person and him dedicating his life to this cause has really touched me. If you want to volunteer in Taiji that’s also possible, check out the website.
Honestly, you must see The Cove. Informing yourself is crucial. But! Taking action is even more important. Sign up to the Dolphin Project to receive newsletters. They inform you about events and petitions. Donate too if you can! The Cove makes you really sad after watching, but we have to turn that grief into action. And so, most importantly: never visit any dolphinaria again (and zoos are basically the same thing if you ask me). I will never, ever, again.
We have one dolphinaria still in The Netherlands. I urge you to watch this undercover video of that place in Harderwijk.