Saving The Dolphins

Dolphins swimming.
File Photo
I'm Barry Petersen, and this Letter from Asia comes from Tokyo.

This is a story about a creature that many believe is one of the most intelligent creatures on earth after man. And that is part of their undoing, they learn fast and learn tricks that amuse and delight us.

Which is why this is a story not about beauty, but about bucks. Big bucks.

"A dolphin could be well be worth 30 to 50 thousand dollars as the point that it is trained and delivered," explains Hardy Jones. Jones has been campaigning to stop dolphin killing for almost three decades. His most recent focus is Japanese villagers who catch and sell young dolphins.

"Dolphin captivity agents come in and they pick out the most beautiful, unblemished, young, usually females, lift them out of the water, take them away to captivity and the rest of the dolphins have their throats cut," Jones says.

He and his camera teams are used to threats from angry fishermen.

"I determined a long time ago that arguing that dolphins are beautiful, that they're intelligent, in many cases they are threatened in terms of their population size…useless," says Jones. "They're argument back to me is always, we have to make a living, this is our living."

The most recent batch of dolphins captured here in Japan went to China for the growing market and Jones and his camera were there watching the care of the dolphins and the trucking to a Chinese aquarium.

How does he fight back? You're seeing it. He makes movies that are sometimes hard to watch and he brings to his mission what it needs, a sense of optimism.

"International pressure, which is the key to stopping them, is growing constantly," Jones explains. "I do believe, we will bring an end to it in the very near future."

Why give so much of his life to one cause. Perhaps Jones explained it best in his films. "Think of what their lives are like in the wild, and then look at this."
by Barry Petersen