Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Event at US Embassy in Tokyo for the Dolphins 9/2/2010 at 9 AM

by Ric O'Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

I am here in Tokyo on Sept. 1st, the official start of the dolphin hunting season.

Tomorrow, Sept. 2nd, at 9 AM in the morning, myself and 50 volunteers from around the world will go to the US Embassy here in Tokyo to symbolically present 1.7 million signatures from 151 countries to the Ambassador of the United States in Japan.

We are representing you -- all the people who signed on our Facebook and Take Part petitions for the dolphins over the past few months.

We have people here from Toronto, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Switzerland, the UK, Hong Kong, and Australia. They all have a passion to protect dolphins and to stop the dolphin slaughter. That is our message to the US Ambassador, and that is the message to the media here in Japan.

Thank you all, especially our volunteers here in Tokyo with me, for being here with us today!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We Are Canceling Our Plans in Taiji for Sept. 1st

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

For several important reasons, we have decided to cancel our plans in Taiji, Japan for Sept. 1st.

Most importantly, we received word that extreme nationalist groups are set to confront us in Taiji. Our work in Japan has never been about confrontation. We believe we are making progress by bringing the truth to the people of Japan about the dolphin slaughter and about mercury-poisoned dolphin meat in markets. We will not play the game that the nationalist groups want us to play – we will not have it become “us versus them”, a battle between dolphin hunters with their militant nationalist supporters and the foreigners who want to ruin Japan’s culture.

The militant nationalist groups may gather as they like in Taiji; we will be elsewhere in Japan, talking to the media, explaining the problem, and making sure the public understands that we are not there to fight, but to heal. Most of the Japanese people will be sympathetic to our message.

"We" are now more than 1.6 million people from 153 countries. Our Save Japan Dolphins Team will be on the ground in Japan on September 1st to voice our opposition to the annual dolphin slaughter, and we will do that in a peaceful and respectful manner.

I know some will be disappointed, but I really think we can do better elsewhere than Taiji at this time. Please know that I’m not concerned about my own safety; however many supporters are planning to join us, and I won’t risk their well being.

We will not abandon the dolphins in trouble in Taiji and other fishing villages. In fact, moving the event will allow us to show the full scope of the problem. Several other communities along the coast of Japan have dolphin kills, although most have abandoned the drive fishery that was depicted in The Cove. Most dolphins in Japan are harpooned offshore from small boats. And there is also the broader issue of captivity. We would like to discuss these issues in a neutral, conflict-fee environment.

Thanks for your understanding. To follow our next steps in Japan, I invite you to check my blog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Watch Ric & Lincoln O’Barry on Animal Planet’s Blood Dolphins

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

I’m pleased to announce that a new television series, Blood Dolphins, will start on August 27th on Animal Planet. My son Lincoln is the director of this mini-series on the efforts of Earth Island Institute and me around the world to protect dolphins.

The first show airs on Animal Planet on Friday, August 27th at 11 PM EST/PST, following the season finale of Paul Watson’s Whale Wars.

Lincoln and I and our small Save Japan Dolphins crew go back to Taiji for the first time since the release of The Cove movie. At first, the mission appears to work – the hunt is delayed, and a covert swim to the Cove itself shows no apparent preparations to resume the slaughter. But after we leave, we hear that dolphins have again been herded into the killing cove, and we return, this time undercover, to see what is happening in Taiji, the little town with the big secret.

On August 29th, The Cove movie itself will be shown on Animal Planet for the first TV screening in the US. This will be a chance for many to see The Cove for the first time. It airs at 9 PM EST/PST.

On Fridays, Sept. 3rd and 10th, Blood Dolphins will air at 9 PM. These next two shows feature our efforts in the Solomon Islands to protect dolphins and stop trafficking in wild dolphins.

In recent years, the Solomon Islands has emerged as a major crossroads in the blood trade in wild dolphins. Dolphin dealing is legal there and has sparked a gold rush among poverty stricken indigenous tribes who have hunted dolphins for centuries and who use dolphin teeth as a form of currency. For Lincoln and I, a mission to The Solomon Islands brings intrigue and danger, as well as high hopes. The most prominent dealer in the islands – a long time dolphin nemesis named Chris Porter – has made overtures to Earth Island, claiming he is ready to quit the business. It could be the opening we need to shut down the captive trade. But to make it pay off, our Save Japan Dolphins team must face down a rival dealer and broker a deal with the native dolphin hunters to stop killing dolphins.

Part Two continues in the Solomon Islands, where our delicate negotiations with the dolphin hunting villages are nearly derailed when a letter signed by several chiefs and parliament members is made public. The letter contains a clear warning that Lincoln and I and our entire team should stay away from the island of Malaita. Soon, however, Lincoln and I discover the letter is a hoax. We proceed to the island and finally enter into an historic agreement with one of the villages to stop hunting dolphins. It is a rare, tangible victory in the fight to save dolphins.

Of course, these showings will also be repeated on Animal Planet later in the year.

This will be an exciting series, and will showcase our work to protect dolphins to the whole world.