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The Cove – Ric O’Barry in Bangkok

Ric O’Barry, Mark Berman and Edwin Wiek talk about the dolphin trade at FCCT Bangkok

Environmentalists have warned the Thai government that newly proposed dolphinariums, including the Pattaya Dolphin World and Safari World, featuring dolphins caught in the wild, threaten both the health of wild dolphin populations and Thailand’s reputation as a dolphin-safe country.

Ric O’Barry, a leading global dolphin activist whose efforts to save dolphins is documented in the Oscar-winning film, The Cove, holds ‘Stop’ and ‘Keep Out Except Persons Concerned’ signs as he arrives at Taiji Community Centre in Taiji, western Japan. The tiny seaside town in Japan whose annual dolphin slaughter gained notoriety through the gruesome film hosted an unprecedented meeting between local officials and foreign environmentalists. But the carefully organised event was given a jolt just before its scheduled start when O’Barry said he would not participate due to ‘severe restrictions on the Japanese and international media’ and headed off on the short walk to the ocean cove where the town conducts its dolphin butchery.

“International live dolphin traffickers are supplying dolphinariums around the world with live dolphins ripped from their families in the wild,” said Richard O’Barry, director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project.

The screening of “the Cove” was very well attended by journalists and concerned citizen. Many questions were answered by all three panel members and worrying issues on new developments and trade in dolphins were presented to the public and media. Unfortunately Thailand is still the center of illegal trade in wildlife including dolphins.

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