An albino dolphin named Angel was torn from her family last month and is currently on display in the Taiji Whale Museum, a stone’s throw from the killing cove made infamous by the documentary “The Cove.”

Angel was taken from her family and her ocean home in order to help satisfy the government allocated quota for dolphin meat in Japan, but mainly to supply the lucrative global captivity industry that makes enormous profits from the lives of dolphins. The town government of Taiji runs the Taiji Whale Museum, where Angel and many other captive dolphins are held, trained, and then shipped off to other aquariums around the world.

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I spoke to Ric O’Barry, director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project, about his recent ad placement in the New York Times and the petition aimed at gaining Angel’s freedom.

Tell Japan to Free Angel the Dolphin and Stop the Taiji Tragedies“It’s not looking good,” he said.  “We are hoping to eventually release Angel back into the wild, but there are some major problems to overcome first. The likelihood of the Taiji Whale Museum agreeing to give her up is very remote.”

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“She is from a transient pod, the kind that is constantly on the move. So none of her relatives, if any remain alive, are anywhere near Taiji,” he explained. “Releases are most successful when we can reunite the dolphin with their family. So Angel may not be a good candidate for immediate release.”

“Add to this the fact that she is all white, making her a target for sharks and other predators,” he continued. “And let’s not forget that she is just a little baby, traumatized forever after seeing her family destroyed.”

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Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, a project of Earth Island Institute, is requesting that the government of Japan and influential business leaders work to free Angel so that she may be moved to a natural seapen or protected cove. There, she can recover from her trauma, and a full assessment of her release can take place.

“Anywhere is better than being on display in that tiny concrete tank at the Taiji Whale Museum,” said O’Barry. “I’ve visited the islands of Mikura, near Tokyo, a place where they love and respect dolphins instead of killing them. There are some good sites for a seapen to be constructed, a place where Angel and hopefully many other dolphins that fall prey to the Taiji hunters can heal before being returned to the wild.”

Unfortunately, the Taiji Whale Museum will not let go of Angel easily. Her pure white skin translates into many thousands of dollars for the museum, as tourists flock to see her angelic presence.

Dolphin Project has set up a site where the public can sign a letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan asking for his help in ending the dolphin hunts and providing a humane solution for Angel, the baby dolphin.

It is tragic that the Taiji hunters, Whale Museum staff, and the government of Japan cannot see how immoral it is to use and abuse dolphins. They are clearly out of step with the opinions of most Japanese, who do not eat dolphin or whale meat and have no interest in it. Science has proven that dolphins are very intelligent and possibly even more emotional than us humans. Add to this the fact that they regularly rescue people from the ocean and treat us with inexplicable benevolence, and one should be completely appalled with the treatment of dolphins in Taiji and in captive facilities the world over.

At this moment, hundreds, if not thousands of dolphins are suffering at our hands. You can make a difference. Please sign the petition so that Dolphin Project may send a letter to Prime Minister Abe on your behalf, so that these atrocities can come to a permanent end.

Lead image source: Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project / Facebook