Are Your Favorite Marine Parks Connected to the Dolphin Slaughter?


   I’m sure most of my readers are aware of the cetacean slaughters that take place all around the world, especially in Japan. (If you are unfamiliar check out this article here.) This is a very basic deciphering of the cetacean captivity industry, and how most parks within the industry are supporting the slaughter of cetaceans.

In 1993, Six Flags (then Marine World Africa USA) applied for a permit to import 4 false killer whales from a Japanese cetacean slaughter on Iki Island. The park justified their application of the permit by saying that their purchase of the whales was a… 

humane act that saved four animals from certain death.” According to the May 12, 1993San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Marine World Loses Fight on Sea Mammal Imports.”

   If the permit went through, Six Flags would’ve given thousands of dollars in support of the

Shouka was taken from Marineland France, that provided animals to Japanese aquariums. She was transferred to Six Flags, a park that was ready and willing to import whales from the Japanese slaughter.

slaughter. Fortunately, it was denied by the US National Marine Fisheries Service due to the government’s questioning the humaneness of supporting the slaughter. The motives of Six Flags were exposed.

         At the same time Marineland France was providing animals to a park that has been openly purchasing cetaceans from the Japanese cetacean slaughter for decades: Izu-Mito Sea Paradise in Japan. In my research, I found that they had bought animals from the drive fishery in October, 1999 and in October, 2011. The animal Marineland provided Sea Paradise with was an orca named Tanouk. He died 5 years after his arrival in Japan.

  In 2002, Marineland and Six Flags formed a relationship that would connect them all: the transfer of orca whale, Shouka. In this we see a clear connection between marine parks in the captivity industry, and the (in)direct support of the Japanese slaughter.

     Of course, being the largest, most powerful Marine Park in the industry, Seaworld has also gotten in on the action. In the 1980s, Seaworld obtained 4 whales from the Iki Island slaughter and kept them at Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan. Later Seaworld traded them to Dolphinarium Harderwijk in Holland, for the orca named Gudrun. This is further corroborated by John Hall, Former marine biologist at Seaworld. (More information about the Gudrun transaction can be read here.) Their justification was similar to Six Flags’ excuse in 1999.

“Fred Jacobs, vice president for communications for SeaWorld, says that in the 1980s SeaWorld “saved” some animals from Japanese drive fisheries” According to the Orlando Sentinel.

     At this point, Dolphinarium Harderwijk, Kamogawa Seaworld, and Seaworld Orlando are all  involved in stimulating the Japanese cetacean slaughter. Seaworld for directly purchasing the animals from the drive, Kamogawa Seaworld for keeping them in their facility, and Dolphinarium Harderwijk for purchasing the drive animals from Seaworld.

     Some may say, “This was back in the 80s, Seaworld doesn’t do this anymore,” but their relationships with these parks still remain to this day. Due to the previous information regarding the Gudrun transaction (and confirmation by John Hall, former Seaworld biologist) we know that Seaworld in the US, has a professional relationship

Dolphins in the Taiji Whale Museum's "fish bowl," live in horrible conditions. You can see video of these dolphins here.

with Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan. Kamogawa Seaworld has a combined breeding program with the Port of Nagoya Aquarium. (On December 15, 2011, Kamogawa Seaworld provided Port of Nagoya Aquarium with 2 orcas: Bingo and Stella.)

     In turn, Nagoya Aquarium has a very close relationship with the Taiji Whale Museum; one of the most notorious aquariums involved in the Taiji slaughter of cetaceans, and involved in cetacean cruelty. The Museum has bought orcas from Nagoya Aquarium. And in 2003, the orca whale Ku, was sent to the Museum from the Aquarium on breeding loan.

     This chain involves Seaworld’s support of Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan, who supports the Port of Nagoya Aquarium, who supports the Taiji Whale Museum, who supports the slaughter. You may feel like it is a bit of a stretch . Could Seaworld possibly be supporting the drive fishery that far down the line? But I am doing this to illustrate my point: the entirety of the  industry is joined together. It doesn’t take long to draw connections between the parks, and this is but one single thread in the cruel tapestry of the live cetacean trade.

     One recent interaction brings Seaworld closer to the slaughter than ever. In 2001, Seaworld Orlando supplied Ocean Park in Hong Kong, China with animals.  

  ” Most of the California sea lions and all of the harbor seals arrived from Sea World in Florida in the United States last summer…” Oceanpark.com corporate information.
 
      Ocean Park, the park that Seaworld is now supporting, buys cetaceans from the dolphin drive slaughters according to an article entitled:  “Survivorship of odontocete cetaceans at Ocean Park, Hong Kong, 1974–1994,” Asian Marine Biology 11 (1994): 107–124. R. R. Reeves et al.
 

A dolphin show at Ocean Park in Hong Kong paints an uncanny, picture of happiness. But in fact, the park supports the inhumane Japanese cetacean slaughter.

In fact, the only animal living in the US that came from a Japanese slaughter, was from Ocean Park in Hong Kong who obtained it directly from the slaughter itself.      

 
   According to a 2007 article, Sun Asia Ocean World also has a relationship with Seaworld as well as several other parks.

“Dalian Sun Asia Tourism remains committed to updating its attractions, creating friendly relationships with many world-famous animal attractions including SeaWorld in the United States, Kelly Tarlton Arctic Encounter and Underwater World of New Zealand, Dolfinarium in the Netherlands, Ocean Park in Hong Kong and many more.” Parkworld Online.

   Sun Asia Ocean Park, according to a Mainichi and Kyodo news report on March 15, 2005 (in Japanese), obtained 8 bottlenose dolphins from the Taiji slaughter. In 2005 they gave the dolphins to the Taiji Whale Museum, which the Museum then exported. Seaworld has a “friendly relationship” with a park that has in recent years, purchased animals from the drive slaughter. 

    Many of these parks that support the slaughter, also support cetacean conservation which makes it difficult to discern their true motives. For instance, Ocean Adventure park in the Philippines has taken animals from the slaughter and even admits it openly on their website saying:
 
 “Ocean Adventure is home to several species of dolphins, all of whom are rescued animals. Some came from the drive fishery in Japan where they were literally hours away from being slaughtered.”
 
    Once again we see this mentality that paying the Japanese cetacean slaughter thousands of dollars for live animals is “rescuing” them, when the money is actually financially supporting the slaughter. Yet most of the funding for the Ocean Adventure’s animal stranding project has come from Seaworld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. So here we have a difficult situation in which the money that is donated to the Seaworld Conservation Fund is given to the conservation efforts of a park that stimulates the Japanese slaughters.  
 
 Seaworld has not directly supported the cetacean slaughter, but you can see how they indirectly support it due to the industry being highly interconnected. Many captivity supporters may ask what is wrong with Kamogawa Seaworld? What’s wrong with Marineland France? What’s wrong with Seaworld in the US? It’s hard to see what is wrong because most of these parks that take animals from cetacean slaughters resemble any “state of the art” facility. Even on travel review websites, many patrons compare foreign parks that support the slaughter, like  Hualien Ocean Park in Taiwan, to Seaworld Parks in the US. They even describe them as “mini Seaworlds,” or “Similar to US Seaworlds.” As modern and humane as these parks may seem, we must read between the lines to see exactly where the tourist’s money is going. The reality is, your money is going down the chain of marine parks in a series of professional relationships, until it almost inevitably, reaches the cetacean slaughter.
 
   Although they are the largest, most powerful contributor to the captivity industry, Seaworld has done nothing, even in attempt, to put pressure on the slaughter. I hate to say

The water runs red in a Taiji cove during a dolphin slaughter.

that silence is consent, but I have a feeling that there is a reason why Seaworld has “talked the talk” against the slaughter, but hasn’t made a move in such a direction to act against it. This could be due to their close relationship with other parks that thrive on Japanese slaughter animals.

 
    There are many instances that anyone can dig up regarding Seaworld’s relationship with other parks that fund the drive fisheries. To list them all would be to write a novel! I will close with this conclusion: Seaworld has been closely involved with the slaughter through Ocean Park in Hong Kong, Sun Asia Ocean World in China, and Ocean Adventure Park in the Philippines. Seaworld directly supports these parks who in turn directly support the slaughter. Seaworld has been more distantly involved in the slaughter through many other parks in the industry. While Seaworld and similar facilities in the US may not directly support the slaughter, they are supporting in an indirect manner which largely keeps them out of the spotlight: a position that allows them to participate quietly, secretly even, in global cetacean trafficking.
 
If you’d like more information on Marine Parks and their association with the slaughter read “Driven By Demand,”  or this Humane Society of the United States article.
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10 thoughts on “Are Your Favorite Marine Parks Connected to the Dolphin Slaughter?

  1. when people say why are all of the activists attacking SeaWorld this it why SeaWorld is the big player take down SeaWorld then the whole business will fall down like a house of cards. this is why I hate this business its massive and its all about making money. you take away their money they will stop.

  2. Pingback: Are Your Favorite Marine Parks Connected to the...

  3. Pingback: SeaWorld, Japon, Europe : petits crimes entre amis ! | Free Dolphins Belgium

  4. Eye-opening! And quite a tangled web, evidently. As a dolphin lover, and vocal opponent to dolphin capture (and, of course, the attendant slaughter), I thank you for opening my eyes even further. Education = Knowledge. And Knowledge = Power.

  5. Rock on sister…..This is easy to follow, even for someone who has no clue what is going on. I love it. Can’t wait to read more of your articles. Many huggs to you, and thanks from the dolphins.

  6. Thank You Jaime, another fantastic story to bring awareness to what is happening to to our poor Cetaceans in Captivity..May it end in 2102 ❤

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