Blog | Dead of Night Transfer of 25 Live Dolphins

Dead of Night Transfer of 25 Live Dolphins

November 26, 2011 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

The international dolphin traffickers are at it again. 

Twenty-five live dolphins caught in the Solomon Islands were transferred with heavy security by boat to the Solomons’ airport.  These blood dolphins were flown, in the dead of night, to China on Saturday, November 19th, for a life of captivity.

The airline carrier was ULS (Universal Logistics Systems) Airlines Cargo, based in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Solomon Islands became a hotbed of dolphin captures and trafficking eight years ago, as international organizations led by American and Canadian dolphin trainers moved into the islands to set up holding pens for live dolphins captured from the surrounding waters. 

Earth Island’s Dolphin Project Team has fought a long and hard battle in the Solomon Islands against the lucrative trafficking of live dolphins.  We had a ban in place against exporting live dolphins for several years, but it was lifted by a new Administration.  Similarly, we managed to gain approval in the Solomons parliament this summer for a ban on exporting of live dolphins from the Solomons beginning on January 1st, 2012, only to see a corrupt government agency issue dolphin traffickers permission to export up to fifty dolphins before January 1st.  This shipment of blood dolphins to China is a result of that permission.

Our colleagues in the Solomon Islands and Hong Kong are investigating the dolphin shipment for us as you read this, and we hope to have more information shortly.  Who is behind this dolphin trafficking?  Where are the dolphins destined in China?

Stand by as we investigate these questions.


Photo of a dead dolphin discarded in a Solomon Islands garbage dump.

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