Dolphin Specialist From ‘The Cove’ Slams Plan To Build Dolphin Park In Maharashtra

Former Trainer of Dolphins for Popular US TV Series Featured in Oscar-Winning Exposé Calls Ill-Conceived Scheme ‘Morally Indefensible’


For Immediate Release:

29 February 2012


Dr Manilal Valliyate (0) 98209 47382; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera (022) 4072 7382; [email protected]

Mumbai – Dolphin specialist Ric O’Barry, who was featured in the Academy Award–winning film The Cove – which documented the annual dolphin slaughter in Japan – and who trained dolphins for the 1960s American television show Flipper, is now calling on the chief minister of Maharashtra to scrap plans to build a marine-mammal park in Sindhudurg. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), O’Barry – who is the director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project – explains in a letter to Prithviraj Dajisaheb Chavan that dolphins and other marine mammals suffer immeasurably in captivity and that they do not belong in tanks.

“Dolphins in aquariums – even those born in captivity – quickly become depressed, stressed and volatile”, writes O’Barry. “These exceedingly intelligent marine mammals know they are not where they are supposed to be. … [I]t is clear that keeping them in captivity is morally and ethically indefensible.”

In their rightful ocean homes, dolphins inhabit a vast and complex world. They establish close, cooperative and long-standing relationships. They live in large, intricate social groups, swim together in family pods and can travel up to 100 miles a day. Dolphins used in marine parks are violently torn from their families and confined to small tanks that to them seem like bathtubs in which they can swim in only mind-numbing circles. Most captive dolphins live to be only half the age of wild dolphins. Emory University scientists recently determined that the cognitive capacity of dolphins is second only to that of humans.

In Brazil and Costa Rica, it is illegal to use marine mammals for entertainment. Israel has prohibited the importation of dolphins for use in marine parks, and Canada no longer allows beluga whales to be captured and exported. In the US, the state of South Carolina has banned exhibits of whales and dolphins.

Ric O’Barry’s letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Dajisaheb Chavan is available upon request. For more information, please visit