Coconut Grove resident and former Miami Seaquarium trainer Ric O'Barry recently starred in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, which captured the fight to stop dolphin slaughter in Japan. It was brutal to watch, from the sonic-bullying bangs of Japanese fisherman, to hearing O'Barry describe how Flipper committed suicide in his arms, to the eventual blood red water off the coast of Taiji, Japan. The film was censored in Japan, and the dolphin slaughter continues.
Realizing there's more work to do, Animal Planet produced a three-part series titled Blood Dolphins that picks up where The Cove left off. It, of course, stars O'Barry as well as his son, Lincoln. Blood Dolphins premiers this Friday at 11 p.m. And if you haven't yet seen The Cove, Animal Planet will air it on Sunday at 9 p.m.
In the film, Japanese officials claim whaling is simply part of their
culture, although it's revealed that dolphin meat contains toxic levels
of mercury and should not be sold or consumed. Additionally, this past
May, researchers have been pushing to get dolphins protected with a
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non-human status as their intelligence, self-awareness, and complex social
structure are on par with that of humans.
Here's Animal Planet's synopsis for the first episode:
In recent years, the Solomon Islands -- a tiny nation in the South
Pacific -- has emerged as a major crossroads in the blood trade in wild
dolphins. Dolphin dealing is legal here and has sparked a gold rush
among poverty stricken indigenous tribes who have hunted dolphins for
centuries and who use dolphin teeth as a form of currency. For Ric and
Lincoln O'Barry, a mission to The Solomons brings intrigue and danger,
as well as high hopes. The most prominent dealer in the islands -- a man
named Chris Porter -- has made overtures to Ric, claiming he is ready to
quit the business. It could be the opening Ric needs to shut down the
captive trade. But to make it pay off, the team must face down a rival
dealer and broker a deal with the native dolphin hunters to stop killing