Shocking moment dolphin desperate to escape captivity leaps out of its own tank during marine show
By Mail Foreign Service
UPDATED: 12:49 GMT, 9 July 2010
This startling footage shows the dramatic moment a dolphin suddenly leapt out of its tank in a desperate bid to escape captivity.
The dolphin, a species known as the false killer whale, had been taking part in a marine show at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in southwestern Japan when it jumped on to the floor near its tank.
A U.S. tourist who was among spectators at the event shot the video footage and sent it to the former dolphin trainer for the ‘Flipper’ TV show.
Ric O’Barry, 70, who now makes a career out of freeing dolphins, said the video highlights the cruelty the animals suffer while in captivity.
The footage shows the stricken dolphin, called Kuru, lying on the floor as staff desperately wrap it in a mat and use a crane to lift it back into the water.
The other dolphins in the tank appear to be distressed and gathered around the side where the creature leapt out.
Mr O’Barry said: ‘The habitat of that false killer whale is so unnatural it leapt out in desperation. ‘It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?’ 「
Hideshi Teruya, who manages the dolphin section at the park, said the it suffered minor scratches and bruises on its head and fin, but had a healthy appetite for mackerel and squid after it was returned to the tank.管理公園海豚館的勇賢先生小黑
He said: ‘It was playing around and jumped out by accident from the momentum.’
Kuru, which means ‘black’ in the local dialect, was captured six years ago in the seas around Okinawa.
Mr Teruya denied the captivity was cruel and said the tank was not overcrowded and followed aquarium guidelines.
But Mr O’Barry said the guidelines were inadequate and that dolphins were used to roaming for many miles a day, not swimming in a circle and doing flips at shows.
He added that keeping them in a concrete box was cruel because it bombarded them with strange sounds and deprived them of their key sensory skill.
He said: ‘It proves that captivity doesn’t work. They are free-ranging creatures with a very large brain.
‘They’re self-aware and putting them in a small tank in a stadium setting is abusive.’
Mr O’Barry featured in a film about Japanese dolphin hunting – The Cove – in which he attempted to stop the slaughter of the animals for food in the town of Taiji.
It used hidden cameras to show how the dolphins are killed – workers herd them into a cove and stab they with spears as they writhe in the water.
The film, which won best documentary at the Oscars, opened in Japanese cinemas this month despite protests and threats.
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