Social Criticism

Honey – The Lonely Dolphin

Mike vom Mars Blog Chiba Prefecture Choshi Delfin Dolphin einsam Einsamkeit Honey Japan Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums lonely Nubosaki Marine Park Aquarium
 
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Imagine your parents got killed in a cruel massacre while you’ve been taken into a prison a few square meters in size – for years. Then finally all the guards leave the prison and leave you and other prisoners to themselves. Loneliness. Day in, day out. A slow dying that is only prolonged because some helpers bring you some food now and then.

Humans can be cruel. The operator of Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in the city Choshi in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, closed the facility in January with the justification of a visitor decline after the 2011 earthquake and the Fukushima crisis. From one day to the next dozens of penguins and a young female dolphin were simply left in their basins.

This triggered strong protests this week. The female dolphin nicknamed Honey was caught near Taiji, a western port city known for its annual dolphin hunt, in 2005, shown in the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove”.

Honey the lonely dolphin, Honey der einsame Delfin Delphin Choshi Chiba Prefecture Japan_japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums Nubosaki Marine Park Aquarium mike vom mars blog

Inubosaki Marine Park

Japanese aquariums buy dolphins from Taiji, which was heavily criticized after the release of the film. The hunt is to drive hundreds of dolphins into a bay, where some are brought alive for sale in marine parks, while others are killed for meat. The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums has agreed not to buy any more dolphins from Taiji.

The operator of the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in the city of Choshi in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, closed the facility in January with an indication of a drop in visitors after the earthquake and the nuclear crisis in 2011. Honey and 46 penguins, along with hundreds of fish and reptiles, remained in the aquarium, said an official from Chiba Health and Welfare Prefecture Department.

Employees fed the animals regularly, he added, but photos and videos taken by activists outside the park in March and August show Honey swimming lonely and distraught in a tiny pool in an eerie, empty facility. Another picture shows dust-covered penguins on a crumbling structure near a pile of rubble.

“Repeated calls remained unanswered.”

“Honey is a symbol of both the problem of marine parks and Taiji’s hunting practices,” said Akiko Mitsunobu, head of the aquarium department at Animal Rights Centre, a local group. “When we looked at the furniture, she showed signs of stress and put her head faintly in and out of the water.”

Repeated calls to Inubosaki Marine Park and its parent company remained unanswered. An official of the city of Choshi said that they were also unable to reach the park’s representatives. “I feel danger and doubt because they are so quiet,” said Sachiko Azuma, a representative of the local activist group PEACE (Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation).

Honey the lonely dolphin, Honey der einsame Delfin Delphin Choshi Chiba Prefecture Japan_japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums Nubosaki Marine Park Aquarium mike vom mars blog

Honey

“As a group that treats animals, they have a responsibility to explain what they intend to do with Honey and the other animals.” The news of the abandoned animals quickly spread through the social media, with Twitter users publishing photos entitled “Save Honey”. The offer of a resort hotel to give them a new home triggered a flood of retweets.

“I ask the authorities to get in close contact with each other and to push this forward,” wrote a Twitter user. Until last week the marine park received more than 800 emails and letters asking the animals to move to a new home.

Mainichi Shimbun reported that the operator had spoken to another aquarium about the transfer of Honey and the penguins, but abruptly ended negotiations and refused to respond to requests from the Choshi city government. Local officials are not legally entitled to enter the facility without permission and cannot force the owner to relocate the animals, the newspaper says.

I can’t imagine what Honey has to experience every single day. Day after day, hour after hour she slowly turns her laps in her tiny pool, only stretches her snout out of the water once in a while. Maybe to see if someone’s finally coming. Dolphins are considered to be extremely intelligent and sensitive animals. They love society and have a pronounced social behaviour. It is hard for sentient people to understand what Honey has to endure every day of her lonely life.

What can I do to help Honey?

Join the Petition to free Honey on Change.org and tell your friends about.

Tell all your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about Honey’s agony.

Get in contact with the major animal welfare organization of your country and ask them to help and to intervene asap!

Get in contact with local or state politics and ask them to intervene in this case.

Write a letter to the park operator and ask them to free Honey. You can use the following model text from Dolphin Project to do so:

To: Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium, 9575-1 Inubosaki, Choshi, Chiba Prefecture 288-0012, Japan
From: [Your Name]

I am writing to you to request the release of Honey, the abandoned dolphin, to Dolphin Project's care.

Recently, Dolphin Project (www.dolphinproject.com) obtained exclusive footage of Honey, sent from local Japanese activists. She, along with 46 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles, remain alone at the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in the city of Choshi in Chiba prefecture. The footage confirms that action is needed immediately in order to save dolphin Honey from neglect.

Dolphin Project has a long and strong history of successfully evaluating, rehabilitating and releasing once-captive dolphins back into the wild. Dolphin Project currently has the means to assess Honey and determine whether she is a suitable candidate for release or if she should remain in a sanctuary setting for the remainder of her life, and is willing to provide assistance to ensure a positive outcome for Honey.

Thank you,

Sources: Daily Mail, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Dolphin Project

Honey the lonely dolphin, Honey der einsame Delfin Delphin Choshi Chiba Prefecture Japan_japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums Nubosaki Marine Park Aquarium

 


 
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Recent Comments

  1. Do you have an update on these animals and when and where they will be relocated to?

    Thank you!

  2. Mike-vom-Mars

    No update yet on my side but there is currently a petition running on https://www.change.org/p/demand-honey-the-dolphin-and-other-animals-released-to-a-sanctuary to free Honey which you can join to show your support.

  3. I contacted Project Dolphin regarding Honey's condition. I heard back from them and they said:
    We did hear from our colleagues, who told us that the owners won’t even speak with them. We’ve been told they are unwilling to allow for intervention, as they are trying to sell the facility and the animals. The government has also stated that they will not intervene despite many requests. We are still trying to work with local activists for a solution, but it has not been promising.
    This response was just after Thanksgiving 2018. For the life of me I can't understand WHY Japanese officials will NOT intervene. Talk about a backward nation.

  4. Mike-vom-Mars

    Thank you for letting us know, Tim.

    It is a shame that people who cannot feel neither respect nor empathy for other livings are operating such a facility. I wonder how urgent it would be for themselves to stop this madness if THEY were the ones trapped there 😡

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