Public Opinions Shifting Towards Dolphins In Captivity, Activist Says

SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — Ric O’Barry feels the tide turning in his long quest to change the public’s mind about dolphins in captivity.

He went from being a dolphin trainer on the beloved “Flipper” TV series in the 1960s to a notorious activist featured in the 2009 documentary “The Cove,” which shows the killing of dolphins in Japan. His methods and protests against keeping dolphins on display often have been unwelcome as dolphin shows are popular and lucrative.

But in the wake of “The Cove” and the documentary “Blackfish,” it seems O’Barry’s desire to see all dolphins swimming free may have gained mainstream traction.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore announced last year that it was exploring the feasibility of an oceanside sanctuary where its eight dolphins could retire.

Elected officials nationwide also have taken up the issue of marine mammals, including dolphins. In November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a non-binding resolution stating that whales and dolphins have the right to be free from life in captivity, and the city council of Malibu, California, issued a proclamation in February proclaiming that all whales and dolphins swimming offshore have the “right to their own freedom and lives.”

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