Weekend To-Do (Good) List: FOR THE DOLPHINS!

This weekend, I am happy to present a to-do (good) list with a theme…..


DOLPHINS! We love them, are intrigued by them, and consider them to be a lot like us. This weekend, to pay homage to the dolphins (not to mention the multiple other species) that will die or be sold to captivity during the annual Taiji dolphin hunt which began this week in Japan, Life As a Wave is devoting each good deed on this to-do list to dolphins. They are our social, intelligent, and self-aware non-human co-animals who have long been abused and exploited and they deserve better. And so, help us acknowledge these amazing creatures this weekend by participating in the following good deeds on their behalf…

1. Dolphins in the Desert??

Rick O’Barry, the former dolphin trainer featured in the film The Cove, is still in pursuit of dolphin liberation and preservation. Among his many initiatives, he is leading an campaign to end dolphin exhibitions at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel houses dolphins in pens without sufficient shade and without sufficient depth of water to keep themselves cool. The dolphins are apparently displaying skin disorders due to this poor care and then are expected to perform unnatural tricks for audiences.


On his Facebook page, O’Barry is encouraging people to write to the hotel Head of PR, CEO and Director of Animal Care to voice their disapproval and to demand that the dolphin captivity at the hotel end. In fact, O’Barry has done much of the work for you! Here are the contacts that he shares:

David Blasko – Director of Animal Care – DABlasko@Mirage.Com
Jim Murren – MGM Resorts CEO – MurrenJ@MGMResorts.Com
Yvette Monet – Head of MGM PR – YMonet@MGMresorts.com

And here is the letter template that O’Barry gladly provides: http://www.scribd.com/doc/220135245/Letter-to-Yvette-Monet-MGM

In that letter, O’Barry says,

The death rate of The Mirage dolphins since 1990 is 55%. 12 out of 22 dolphins have died (mostly from stress-related illness). Wild dolphins can live to their 50’s, even 60’s. The average age of death at The Mirage is 10.6 years.
Will you take a minute this weekend to copy and paste this letter to the individuals above? Can you help to change the statistics in that quote and possibly help to free a few animals from a life of exploitation and inhumanity? I thought so!
2. From Exploitation to Education
As SeaWorld continues to flounder after Blackfish backlash, some facilities are making a concerted effort to transition away from animal exploitation and toward animal rehabilitation. The story goes that the Clearwater Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida is one such facility. The Aquarium was featured in A Dolphin Tale, a film about the development of a prosthetic fin for a dolphin named Winter.
 A recent report says, 
The Clearwater Aquarium has announced it will no longer feature any animal performances, focusing instead on the rehabilitation and care of marine animals.
According to the aquarium’s CEO David Yates, stories like Hope and Winter’s will be the focus of the aquarium when its new center opens later this year.
“We don’t rescue them so we can have them to show to guests,” he said. “Our goal is to release them back into the wild. The whole essence of this thing is no matter what animals we have or don’t have, the experience of getting behind the scenes of our work, that’s going to be the draw long-term.”
Hip Hip Hooray if that is all true! You can read the whole story here.
But what does this have to do with you and your weekend? I thought it would be nice to give the Clearwater Aquarium a big thank you and a vote of confidence in their ability to help and not harm by following leaving them a THANK YOU on Facebook, Twitter, etc. So just click on the links below to go to their sites and share your encouragement. Remember to mention that you are proud of them for closing their animal shows! Let’s show them that the public is watching and is hopeful in their efforts. 
3.  The Call of Dolphin Duty?
As I was digging around in cyberspace, trying to find any interesting news about dolphins, I came across an oped in the New York Times from back in May. You can read the full version here, but in a nutshell, the author considers the dilemma (or is there one?) about the use of dolphins in the military. Did you know that dolphins are trained for a variety of military purposes such as scouting expeditions, mine searches, and even drone missions? 
The author suggests that we should beware of hypocrisy in our quickness to condemn sending dolphins into warfare.
Many ethicists and environmentalists question the morality of keeping cetaceans in captivity. But if we accept cavorting orcas and dolphins at SeaWorld, then why not working dolphins in the Navy?
Well that is up to each of you to mull over. But, speaking of hypocrisy while the Navy values dolphins for their usefulness in warfare, they are at the same time killing hundreds of them with repeated tests off U.S. coasts. The Navy estimates that between 2014 and 2019 the tests will “kill approximately 155 marine mammals outright, permanently injure another 2,000, temporarily deafen hundreds of thousands more…” The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) believes this to be an underestimation. Read the original AP story from 2013 here. In response, the NRDC is suing the federal government to protect the marine life. They have also gathered over ___signatures on the petition located on their website. Click here to sign:
4. Movie Time!
After all, it is the weekend. It’s a great time to relax and do good at the same time! One way to do this is to watch a good documentary. After all, knowledge really is power and documentaries are a great medium for staying in touch, involved, and in the know while also getting to unwind and recline. So, expand your mind and meditate on our marine life brethren via a enjoyable flick, then share what you’ve learned with people around you. Raise awareness about the plight of marine life in your conversations and through your actions! To help you, here is a short list of films about dolphins, whales, fish, and other sea creatures that need our help in a variety of ways. Okay, they’re not ALL documentaries, but they’re all at least based on true stories.
Have a wonderful weekend. Keep listening for news from Taiji over the next few months. Follow us on Facebook and get weekly reminders of your connection to the entire sea of life and beyond! Thank you for caring and for doing good in this world.
~~~S Wave~~~