The Dolphin Slaughter

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Last week’s documentary was shocking to say the least. I knew about the controversy behind keeping dolphins in captivity, though I had never really taken the time to look into the details. The cruelty of keeping animals in small confined spaces was a topic that I was well aware of, but I didn’t know that dolphins were so sensitive to sound. Learning this, and then realizing how painful it must be for them to be surrounded by so many loud noises on a day to day basis was really eye opening. I never considered that being exposed to cheering crowds and shouting and clapping would be so harmful to an animal, but it’s obvious that that alone is enough to really hurt them.

I really felt a strong sense of empathy for Rick O’Berry and his reasons for becoming so involved in the activist movement for dolphins. When I was younger, my mom really loved exposing my siblings and I to the TV shows that she grew up with, and I remember watching Flipper (we have the DVD box set). The show was really cheesy and there was a lot of dialogue that fell under the “Golly gee whiz, mister,” category, but it was charming and cute and I remember really liking Flipper the dolphin. The story that O’Berry told about Flipper’s ‘suicide’ really struck me. As was mentioned in the documentary, Flipper’s apparent happiness was blinding when it came to understanding what the dolphins must really be feeling. I had no idea that an animal in captivity could feel that level of depression, and it’s particularly shocking coming from an animal that always appears to be smiling.

But the slaughtering was definitely the most difficult thing to wrap my head around. Considering how virtually useless dolphin meat is, it’s ridiculous to me that that number of dolphins needs to be killed on a yearly basis. Hunting them for captivity, while still extremely morally ambiguous, at least has an economic purpose. The money that can be made off of dead dolphins is hardly worth the bloodshed, and the method of slaughtering is cruel and far from painless.

Seeing as the slaughtering is still going on, I’m not sure what we can do to stop it. And as long as places like Sea World are still making money, there’s no real say in whether or not the problem will go away soon, and I’m not sure which problem (the captivity issue or the slaughtering issue) has the more feasible solution. But it’s good that documentaries like the cove exist, because it exposes people to these issues and it at least gets them thinking about it on some level. Hopefully, enough people can get involved and we can find a way to at least lessen the problem.

Image source

The Cove: the Hope.

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After watching the Cove, I became very emotional and incredibly angry with the slaughter of the dolphins in Japan. I felt hopeless in the issue though, because of the idea that Japan was supporting financially some troubled countries to support their fishing and because I know that the slaughter still continues as told in the documentary. But I kept wondering if it has gotten any better. I came across a website that is tightly related to the people who made “the Cove” and the reports (January 2015) state that there has been less dolphins being slaughtered and some were even let out into the ocean again due to Japan’s growing education of citizens about Dolphin meat and its problem (high levels of Mercury). The Dolphin meat market has been declining and this has led to many dolphins being freed to the wild gain.

Here is the website: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/01/23/dolphin-killings-cove-drop-record-low

Now, one thing about the documentary that I would criticize is that they made the Japanese people look really barbaric and inhumane. I know that they filmed that the majority of the population was oblivious to the fact of the slaughter, but that was two thirds into the film and they should have established this sooner so viewers won’t start disliking Japan as a whole for the sins of the few.

Dolphin catch update

After watching the cove in class i was wondering what the current situation is in Taiji! An article published just last week gave a great overview on what is now happening in the place where the famous documentary was filmed. Apparently the numbers are severely declining and the hunters are getting desperate. This past hunting season they brought in 80 precent less than the year before. there are several reasons that this might be happening. the most obvious would be the overfishing in the are (in recent years they have continued to see declines). Another reason my be the fact that recently the hunters have surprisingly been releasing a select few back into the water after capture to try to spark regeneration of the population. The hunters are idiots who don’t realize the complexity and intelligence of the dolphin and that this release could be worse for them and the dolphins in the end.

We understand that dolphins do a great deal of communicating with each other and can feel stress just as we do. After the trauma of being bearded and having most of their close friends and family killed off that unarguably causes strain and trauma for the released dolphins. these released dolphins have been found to wash back up on shore dead after being let back into the water. Some also say that the release allows the dolphins to send out cries of distress warning other groups to stay away. In the end this just torchere the dolphins even further and also hurts the hunters stock.

The hunters have recently had more hardship as there is becoming farr less demand for dolphin meat because of the high levels of mercury and the public awareness that has stemmed from the documentary. Demand for the meat had been cut in half!

Although it is sad that there are less dolphins around the area we can all home that they are just taking a different route around japan. But more importantly hopefully the hunters will be forced out of their jobs.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-j-palmer/is-taiji-slaughter-wiping-out-japans-bottlenose-dolphins_b_6889960.html

The Cove Response

Perri Specter

3/30/15

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The Cove Response

There’s a lot of concerns I had with this documentary; and when I say concerns I mean to reference the profane sense of morality that these people claim to be justifiable. I’m not obsessed with dolphins and clearly these Japanese people aren’t either; but how these principles of smutty and bloody murder try to be voted accepted during the meetings in Taiji Japan just drain away my sanity. This documentary was so powerful on so many levels. It enrages me, so, it certainly did its job. And it definitely exploited these “fishermen” for their crude acts of slaughter and how mentally disabled they are. And it wasn’t only the massive killings of dolphins but also how shady Japan’s government can be. I can’t believe that they were willing to sell intoxicated dolphin meat to school’s which were then distributed to children. It’s almost pure evil and makes me want to refuse to believe that a god even exists. Ontop of all of this, I am shocked to hear that the slaughters are still taking place annually. The idea of this brings me to tears, and I could barely watch the stabbings and the sea water turn into a murky red color of death. I am definitely going to try and donate to any company that serve to destroy this profanity and spread the word.

Endangered Panda-monium

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In our last two classes, it was brought to our attention that many species are overlooked because they may not be as “cute” as others. After watching The Cove, for example, we discussed the “emotional connection” we have with dolphins and how this may influence our desire to protect them. Appearance and symbolism can play a large role in preservation, as evidenced by the giant panda. I read an interesting article on National Geographic’s website called “Is Breeding Pandas in Captivity Worth It?” Pandas are the symbol for the World Wildlife Foundation and may be the most recognizable conservation symbol in the world. They are an endangered species, with fewer than 2,000 remaining in the forests of China. According to the 2013 article, around 300 live in captivity as well.

There is a great debate, however, on whether pandas should be bred in captivity. Millions of dollars are spent to keep these animals in zoos, mostly because they are a main attraction that might encourage visitors to care about their protection. They may be “inspirational icons”, as referred to in the article, but there is little evidence that captive breeding helps their population.

Many suggest that a better use of money would be to preserve panda habitat. Even though the goal is to release the pandas into the wild after they’re bred in captivity, their habitat most likely wouldn’t sustain them. In addition, we must ask the question: are pandas becoming dependent on zookeepers? Caged pandas are provided food and shelter; could this dependence lead to an inability to survive in the wild?

A common suggestion is to restore the China forests and grow the population in their natural habitat. But as stated in the article, “captive breeding is an integral part of that goal.” It is a very difficult balance.

And meanwhile, as people fight over money spent on captive breeding versus habitat preservation, many endangered species are neglected entirely. It’s unfortunate, but it’s simply not possible to protect every single endangered species on the planet. I think it’s important that we turn our attention to overhunting, overfishing, and the other ways in which humans impact wildlife populations for unnecessary purposes. But we must also realize that it’s not always our fault.

I read another article, which pointed out that giant pandas eat only bamboo. This is clearly a very limited diet; they are dependent on a single food source. While pandas eat through their food supplies, society tears down bamboo forests for land use and product manufacturing. With their limited diets, pandas are a difficult species to protect.

Pandas are beautiful creatures, and no one wants to see them die. But we must ask the question: where do we draw the line for money use? How do we control the species in captivity versus the wild? And how do we divide the funds between pandas and the rest of earth’s endangered species?

-Brenna Thummler

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Outreach Project Reflections

After listening to all of the presentations in class and the discussions, a lot of problems in our world have been brought to my attention. Problems that I might’ve vaguely known about, but had no idea that they were as bad as they are. The Great Pacific garbage patch and the shark finning projects were extremely shocking to me. I’ve always known that recycling is important and the way we dispose of our waste is bad, but I had no idea that the garbage build up was that horrendous. Another project I found very intriguing  was the one about the Red Tide app. I didn’t grow up next to the ocean, so before moving down here I had no idea what red tide even was. It would be great if there was an app to give me more information about it and to protect me from going to beaches where red tide is happening.

My own group’s project was about a lighter issue, but I still think it’s important. We wanted to inspire children to care more about the world around them. As the saying goes, the children are our future, and if we can get the younger generations to care about what is outside and what’s happening, then maybe the future will be one step closer to fixing/stopping the problems. We collectively noticed that younger kids these days spend less time outside and more time indoors using technology. Technology is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does seem to be causing a disconnect between human beings and nature. To try and change that, we created a 20 page coloring book full of some creatures and plants that grow in Sarasota along with facts about them. The idea was to try and sell the book in local shops, or to maybe get some funding and give to the local schools for free. I think it would be cool if our group partnered up with a couple of the other groups that had projects aimed at children and did some sort of rally or fair or fundraiser of some sort. All in all, it was a very informative project that taught me about both the world I’ve moved myself into, and the world I grew up in.

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Use less plastic

Our presentation was essentially an outreach project that not only educated children as well as allowed them a fun and interactive way to reduce their plastic use and allow for more recyclable materials and reduce the amount of plastic pollution which is a huge problem in society today as well as in sarasota. When on our field trip at lido beach we saw multiple plastic bottles and such in which not only are bad for the environment itself as they don’t break down naturally, they also are commonly ingested by multiple animals that make the lido beach coastline their home.

Our campaign was aimed at elementary school children, we primarily were looking into the younger target market as it is something that really should be taught in schools more often at a young age. As i child i grew up in East Africa and speaking from experience we have very little to no real teaching about the impact of plastic on the ocean. The coast lines i grew up on once were perfectly untouched, no human contact and they were thriving ecosystems, now with the over population of the coast line and the receding shore lines the coast is flooded with trash and plastic with little to know effort to clean it up as coco beach has now become a meeting place to sell food and drinks and eat on the beach in public on the top of your cars so when Brenna suggested we do a campaign about using less plastic this really resonated with me.

Our campaign essentially involves creating unique re-usable items that the children can decorate themselves with supervision from their parent or teacher they also have the opportunity to choose an image to be ironed on to a re-usable tote bag so that they can get their groceries and such without the use of plastic as often. We included examples of lunch bags, boxes, totes and we initially had a water bottle too.  We also made a set of cards they can take home that shows them tips on how to  reduce their plastic use as well as some cute illustrations so that they relate to it better, in addition the stickers made are all spot illustrations of animals found in sarasota so that they can compare and identify the animals as well when they see them. Overall the cause that we chose to display for our campaign i feel has very little to no attention in the media and we as people should be much more aware of the situation if we want to preserve these beautiful ecosystems we live inOur presentation was essentially an outreach project that not only educated children as well as allowed them a fun and interactive way to reduce their plastic use and allow for more recyclable materials and reduce the amount of plastic pollution which is a huge problem in society today as well as in sarasota. When on our field trip at lido beach we saw multiple plastic bottles and such in which not only are bad for the environment itself as they don’t break down naturally, they also are commonly ingested by multiple animals that make the lido beach coastline their home.

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Outreach Project Coloring Book and a little observation about Recycling

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As illustration students, we wanted our Outreach project to have to do with hands-on drawing. A suggestion was made that a coloring book would be a great idea for young children to interact with while learning. We added one fact about each animal on each page for the children to read while channeling their inner artist. There are a total of 20 species including animals and plants that are locally found, here, in Sarasota. Physical distribution would be at book stores, gift shops, museums, and classrooms. The coloring book pages can also be printed from home by parents or in school by teachers. We wanted to keep the project fairly simple for a younger audience. A suggestion was made to keep the lines simple and not so busy, I thought this was a great suggestion. I initially thought that it would be too simple and the species itself would not be recognizable in real life for the children, but I realize that having too many lines may even confuse the children when they’re coloring and giving them the artistic freedom is very important.

Many creative ideas were presented in class. My personal favorites were the Red Tide warning application and the Use Less Plastic project. The Red Tide application seems like it would be used in real life fairly often by beach-goers around the globe. I watched a short documentary about the plastic garbage patch when I was in middle school. I didn’t know that it was impossible to clean up and it makes me so sad to learn that it’s grown so large so fast. While we were discussing the use of plastic around the world, the topic of recycling came up.

Over summer vacation after my sophomore year of high school, I went to South Korea to visit family for the first time in six years. So many things have changed, but what I’ve noticed right away is the fact that it was so clean compared to six years ago. The roads and streets had basically no litter and the people are basically forced to recycle. When I went to go throw out the trash, I had noticed that my grandmother had sorted out the plastic, glass, paper, and food waste in separate boxes and bags. I went to go throw out the trash and this is exactly how everything was set up for the entire apartment complex: there was a bin for paper, glass, plastic, and food wastes. I went to my uncle’s house and it was the same. I also saw many people carrying a large bag with wheels to put their groceries in. This is probably because quite a large amount of people in Korea don’t own cars and take public transportation. This is also reducing the amount of overall plastic used in the country. It seemed like my family members were very comfortable with this system of recycling. Compared to the US, it was such a huge step forward for the environment.