Dolphin protest

A free Dolphin in the wild

A free Dolphin in the wild

There is an active protest happening in Kaş, Turkey, against four dolphins which are being held captive in a pen smaller than a tennis court and within just a few hundred meters of the new Kaş marina. This protest is currently being discussed on the Free the Kaş Dolphins Facebook site.

Bougainville Travel believes that tourists SHOULD come to Kaş to voice your support for the Free the Kaş Dolphins initiative. Adventure operators in Kaş are against the close confinement of Dolphins as are many local business owners. However, there are many issues related to releasing these creatures back to their natural habitat, not least of which is the expense.

The Kaş forum of TripAdvisor also has a posting urging tourists to come to Kaş but to make your views known against the confinement of these dolphins to hotels, restaurants and bars.Watch movie online Logan (2017)

Bougainville Travel does not support the confinement of Dolphins in the Kaş pens. We also encourage you to make your complaints known on the Free the Kaş Dolphins Facebook page and also to travel agencies, the local and Turkish authorities and to other responsible agencies and persons. Bougainville Travel believes this runs counter to sustainable tourism.

The web site Born Free-Back to the Blue, gives some background for those who have little previous knowledge of this issue: “While the focus of this project is the rehabilitation of Tom and Misha, it is also hoped that the project protocols, as they are developed, will provide a workable, realistic and cost effective process that can be internationally replicated in the future. Back to the Blue will also aim to highlight the plight of captive dolphins and the repercussions of the increasing demand for ‘swim-with’ opportunities.”

It appears that rehabilitation and return is a lengthy and costly process according to the Born Free-Back to the Blue website because they are asking for donations in the amount of at least £150,000 GBP! Satellite tracking and satellite tags cost between $3,000 and $10,000 each!

A seemingly well researched and written article by Kelly Waples, PH.D. who “is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University where she completed her Ph.D. studying the reintroduction of bottlenose dolphins from Atlantis Marine Park, Western Australia.” can be found at The Atlantis Marine Park Project.

Dr Waples says in part “Dolphins had occasionally been released from marine parks, but few of these releases had been properly conducted and documented. They had often involved simply returning an animal to the ocean without sufficient preparation and follow-up work.”

The chapter in her article called The Release states “The first inkling of trouble came the next day. Reports were received of the dolphins interacting with people on the beach, and of the new born calf being helped into deeper water on several occasions after nearly beaching himself.”

The chapter Assessment of Success states “we learned that not all animals are suitable candidates for release into the wild. Length of time in captivity, captive conditions, medical history and a dolphin’s behavioral tendencies all affect the likelihood of successful release. To even try to release some candidates will mean placing them under severe stress and discomfort, or risking mortality. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, any release must have available sufficient technology to track animals after release in order to ensure their well being.”

Dr Waples goes on to write that “My involvement in this project also changed my attitude and perception of releasing captive animals into the wild. Initially I strongly favored release, believing that to return animals to their natural habitat after years of confinement was an admirable goal as it seemed to guarantee improvement in living situation and welfare. But as the release developed and I was faced with the difficulties encountered by the dolphins and their obvious decline in welfare, my attitude changed. Was release really in the dolphins’ best interests?”

“Unless there is virtual certainty of success (including adequate funding and technology, selection of appropriate candidates and a careful plan for rehabilitation and post-release monitoring) it might be best that the animal remains in captivity.”
Controversial comments to say the least…

Another web site called Dolphin Research Center’s Stranding Experience which is about stranded creatures Why Rescue Stranded Animals? “The fact is that the majority of all stranded animals do not survive. The odds of an animal making it through rehabilitation are very slim. The cost in time, money, energy and emotion is great. Knowing that, why do rescuers continue to try?”

“For many, the answer is simply because the animals are in trouble. Feelings toward marine mammals, and the belief that they are sensitive and intelligent creatures compels rescuers to save them from what is perceived as a horrible death, thrashing on a sandbar or being devoured by sharks. Even if you can’t save a life, you can at least make the animal’s final days more comfortable.”

“Perhaps, too, everyone is motivated by a sense of responsibility because the heavy impact of our human species on the oceans may create some of the conditions that cause animals to strand in the first place.”

Please contact and leave your comments and/or send your support to the Free the Kaş Dolphins group.

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