Palau dolphin habitat admits Taiji ties with Sony

Floortje Dessing was not a name I knew, until she held the "microphone" for Dolphins Pacific in Palau, who admitted on camera that they import dolphins from the drive hunts in Taiji, Japan. But then the real shocker came...who was responsible for this idea?

You can watch the archived footage here (fast forward after the penis plant segment to when she arrives at the dolphin habitat at around 19:00 minutes).

According to locals, Dessing has been hosting all the major dutch travel shows for about 15 years. She hosts a travel show RTL Travel and in this particular episode, went to discover Palau.

The episode was broadcast on one of the biggest TV station in the Netherlands, RTL4.

We enter the facility. We see dolphins in pens obediently jumping...

We are introduced to a dolphin trainer Billy, who isn't listed on their website as staff.

"Now we are in the habitat where the dolphins are living right now, all these dolphins came from Japan. Actually these were supposed to be slaughtered, so these were harvested for the market."

- "Really? They eat the dolphins?"

- "Yeah they eat them, they kill about 500 a year, basically."

- "So the Japanese eat the dolphins..." she repeats, grimacing to the camera afterwards.

- "Yeah, but there's this good guy, his name is Joe Morita, he owns Sony Corporation, so he donated a lot of money to having these dolphins sent to Palau.". That's Joe Morita, eldest son of the founder of SONY Akio Morita, who in 1946 cofounded what would become Sony Corp. with an investment of 190,000 yen ( $500).

Early in 2001, his son Joe completed Dolphins Pacific, a $2.5 million nonprofit dolphin park in Palau on the west end of Micronesia; ten imported Japanese dolphins live in an enclosed natural water narrows among several islands where guests can participate in dolphin swims. He has been quoted as saying, "Actually, I had no intention of creating a fishing lodge or a dolphin park," but he has had some crazy business ideas in the past that worked. Although this dolphin facility is "non-profit", there are plans for a "for-profit" hotel to be erected on the property.

He explained his role as the first-born and his family business in a video called, "Growing up SONY".

As they pass by a dolphin in a pen who is floating near a container of the dead fish he will be fed later, she looks over and asks the big question:

- "But, still, these dolphins are here in sort of, you know...kind of captivity, and people feel sorry for them..."

- "Yeah, it's actually still captivity but it's better than having them on your sushi."

Is it?

Captivity doesn't work with dolphins. The majority of dolphins typically die within 2 years of being captures which further fuels the need to replenish inventory.

The next segment shows just why these dolphins die early. The dangers of the Swim-With programs are well-documented and should always be shared with those who are considering these excursions. I have already sent a letter to Dessing educating her on the dangers of promoting such a facility.

As long as the demand is there, these facilities will exist. Especially if they are sponsored by big Japanese companies like Sony Corporation. More on this in a future post.

Prior to this airing, and admission on camera, I had sent numerous letters to the staff at Palau's Pacific Dolphin habitat inquiring the origins of the dolphins. To my surprise a direct and honest answer came from the booking manager:

"For your information, our Dolphins are from Japan. And that's the only detailed information I know about our Dolphins." - Stomi Asanuma, Staff at Dolphins Pacific.

The taiji hunting season commenced in Japan on September 1st.

15 blue cove days (no slaughter, no capture) were followed by two brutal days of slaughter September 15-16, 2014. Two pods of Risso's dolphins were completely butchered. Due to not being meaty enough to count in the quota, 4-5 juvenile calfs were dumped back out to sea to die alone and hungry.

I'm not sure which fate is worse.

Originally posted on Cetacean News Network September 18, 2014 by Maral kalinian.