There has been a campaign of misinformation against Ocean World by several groups of anti-captivity animal extremists regarding the proposed import of dolphins from Japan to the Dominican Republic.
These extremists would like you to believe that Ocean World has a part in, or is ‘subsidizing,’ the slaughter of dolphins by the purchase of live animals from Taiji, Japan. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Japanese have been slaughtering dolphins for food in Taiji and other villages for hundreds of years. In fact, they currently do this under the authority and quotas of the International Whaling Commission. No endangered or threatened species are taken.
In recent years the Taiji Whale Museum, which is also an aquarium, has been trying to save dolphins from slaughter by selling some of the dolphins destined for the slaughterhouse to aquaria around the world. The funds from these sales are used for scientific research and education about marine mammals so that the Japanese public will learn to appreciate these animals instead of consuming them for meat.
While Ocean World deplores the killing of dolphins in Taiji, we honestly believe that we are the saving the lives of animals that would otherwise be killed in the slaughterhouse. The animals destined for Ocean World were taken early out of the ‘drive’ (herding dolphins into coves or bays) and do not witness the killing of their pod mates as the extremists would like you to believe.
The videos circulated by Mr O’Barry and extremist groups are all of animals destined for the slaughterhouse. At one point there are aquarium officials selecting animals for aquaria, but this is then carefully edited with the slaughter videos to make it look like it happens in the same water. Do not be fooled by tactics of these extremists, they are very good at what they do.
I am sure Mr. O’Barry and the associated extremist groups will call for a ‘tourism boycott’ of the Dominican Republic. Do not be scared of such tactics as they have called for boycotts against Florida, South Carolina, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and many other nations and states in the past. We expect this ‘boycott’ will have the same non-existent effect here as it did in those countries because it is usually the same 30 people writing under 1000 different names.
Facilities like Ocean World allow people to experience dolphins up close and personal and make people appreciate dolphins and their environment so that their existence in the wild can be guaranteed for future generations. Ocean World has the largest man-made dolphin lagoon in the world, with a state of the art filtration system that provides clean water and an environment conducive to the reproduction of dolphins, evidenced by the birth of the first dolphin baby in the Dominican Republic under human care, ‘Lili’ on August 21, 2006. Our female dolphins are just now reaching breeding age so we expect many more calves in the future.