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Geumdeung and Depo are two indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins who were illegally captured off the coast of Jeju Island in South Korea back in 1997 and 1998. Now, after 20 years, the two animals will finally be given their freedom! The wonderful news was shared by the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), who has been following the work of HotPinkDolphins, a marine mammals welfare organization based in South Korea, as they rehabilitated the dolphins.

In spite of how much time Geumdeung and Depo spent in captivity, in conditions very different from what they would be in their natural habitat, both animals are doing very well in the sea pen where they were transported on May 22, 2017. In the sea pen, they were able to readjust to life in the ocean, learning how to navigate currents and catch live fish all over again.

Very soon they will be free, enjoying their lives the way they were intended, with family and in the wild. They are set to be released July 18th.



OPS shared on Facebook that they had the opportunity to come over to the HotPinkDolphins facilities and learn from the specialists how to rehabilitate and release captive dolphins back to the wild, as well as get necessary experience and training.

Keeping dolphins and whales in captivity is often justified and explained away by arguments that the animals are content in their synthetic homes or that the educational value of keeping them captive outweighs their freedom. However, cetaceans are very obviously far from happy living in captivity – there is countless proof in instances of aggression in captive animals, the emergence of zoochosis – abnormal repetitive behaviors similar to Neurosis – health problems, like vomiting and unusual illnesses, accelerated deaths, and even self-mutilation and suicide attempts. In the light of these facts, the educational and entertainment value of aquariums seems to pale in comparison to animals’ well-being. What we’re seeing in these artificial pools are not happy animals, performing tricks at will but really sick, desperately unhappy and anxious beings. Is that really what we want to support?

These two dolphins prove that life after the tanks is possible, so isn’t it time we emptied the tanks?

Image source: Oceanic Preservation Society/Facebook

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0 comments on “2 Dolphins Who Were Illegally Captured 20 Years Ago Are Returning to the Wild!”

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1 Years Ago

Yes, I agree! No dolphin, or whale, seals, sea lions, otters, should ever be in captivity. They belong free, in the oceans, to live like nature intended. They are mammals and they have feelings like we do.

Christine Stewart
1 Years Ago

Dolphins are very intelligent, and there are two of them, so if they already know how to catch fish, they can easily adapt to the wild. And I doubt they will be so easily fooled by Japanese hunters

Michael Krijnen
1 Years Ago

I would like to think that we could learn from the release something that we can apply to humans being released after 20 years of jail.

Michael Krijnen
1 Years Ago

will we be tracking them on their release, so we know how they did out there in the real world, finding out how hard it is in this man made world.

1 Years Ago

great, so now they can be butchered by the Japanese since they are more susceptible to trusting humans & Japanese ae running legislation though to allow commercial slaughter of whales and dolphins

Kate-Lyn Jones
1 Years Ago

So they were brought to the sea pen on May 22nd and they\'re going to be released on July 18th. That means that they only spent about 2 months being rehabilitated, after 20 long years being in a tank and performing tricks! If they are successfully reintegrated back into a pod then it will be revolutionary achievement into releasing cetaceans. Imagine if we could do this for cetaceans that were captured during the Taiji hunts or have spent about over 40 years in captivity (like Lolita or Corky). We could even teach cetaceans that have even been born in captivity. This will be a very important step into emptying all the tanks.

10 Jul 2017

Is this even possible, that those poor animal can live in the wild again?

Kate-Lyn Jones
10 Jul 2017

Well we know that they have learned how to catch live fish, not to mention that both of the dolphins will likely stay together during release, so I think it\'ll work. They were captured around the same area so it is possible that they could come from the same pod.

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