Eight children between the ages of eight to thirteen years have arrived in Taiji, Japan as Dolphin Project Youth Cove Monitors. They will be a voice for the dolphins captured in the annual dolphin drive hunts. The children, who all hail from Gecko School in Phuket, Thailand will be monitoring the annual dolphin hunt and posting daily updates on the Dolphin Project’s Social media.
Feb 02, 2015 /prREACH/ -- The children arrived in Taiji with their teacher, Tracy Harper, on January 30th, and were met by one of the Dolphin Project's Cove Monitors, Vicki Kiely. They will remain at the Cove until February 5th.
The trip culminated following efforts by the children to prevent a new dolphinarium from being opened in Phuket. The dolphinarium planned to import five dolphins captured in the Taiji dolphin drives. Having watched the Academy Award-winning documentary, "The Cove", the children reached out to Kiely and the Dolphin Project for assistance.
Kiely channeled the children’s passion and energy towards the Thai government and their Fisheries Department. The children then composed their own letters explaining why they didn’t want the Phuket dolphinarium to open and shortly afterwards, represented themselves at a Marine Tourism event for The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand or AMCHAM, where they gave a presentation on the Taiji dolphin drives. “They blew the audience away with their presentation,” Kiely said.
Harper, the children's teacher, expressed her desire to visit the Cove with Kiely, and the students wanted to accompany her. Working with various Dolphin Project members, including Ric O’Barry, arrangements were made for their visit. The children funded their trip with a 100 km charity bike ride.
The children's message will be the basis of a mini documentary intended to be shared globally, and also with the Mayor of Taiji, the dolphin hunters, the Fishermen’s Union, and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The Gecko School kids will also livestream from the Cove during their stay.
To learn more about Gecko School's visit to Taiji, visit Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project. This is the first of many new ventures for the Dolphin Project to raise awareness in young people about the dolphin drives of Taiji and their relationship to marine parks. The organization also recently launched the Dolphin Project Youth Ambassadors program, to carry the legacy of the Dolphin Project into the future. This program invites passionate, dedicated, unique young people who are carving a path, fighting for animal rights. The Youth Ambassadors commit time, mentor others, and offer feedback on campaigns and ideas.
About the Dolphin Drives: Taiji conducts its dolphin drives between September and March each year. As featured in the documentary, "The Cove", these drives can result in the slaughter/capture of almost 2,000 dolphins per year. While some dolphins are hunted for consumption, the primary driving force behind these hunts is the large profit gleaned from the sale of these animals to worldwide aquaria. Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project was founded on Earthday 1970, with the aim to stop dolphin slaughter and exploitation around the world. This work has been chronicled in films such as 'A Fall From Freedom', the Oscar-winning documentary 'The Cove', and in the Animal Planet mini-series, 'Blood Dolphin$'. The Dolphin Project is the longest-running, leading organization created solely for the protection of dolphins. Ric O’Barry has pioneered the readaption & release of captive dolphins into the wild around the globe.