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Flipper : a catalyst to dolphin slaughterings?

January 19, 2010 1 comment

"Flipper" the television series

Ever been to Sea World? Ever been to any type of Dolphinarium or Seaquarium that has dolphins?
Yes? No?
Well ever heard of a famous dolphin named Flipper?

Even if you have never watched the television series “Flipper”, chances are you have heard of it.  Most people, when needing to name their dolphin stuffed animal, or the such, automatically think “Flipper” as a choice.  The name Flipper goes with dolphins as the name Shamu goes with killer whales, or as the name Snowball goes with a big fluffy white cat.
Point being, Flipper was a television series that changed the world of dolphins more than you probably could have even imagined.

The television show brought about a huge dolphin fascination.  Seaquariums and Dolphiariums became very popular, and visitors started pouring in to see these magnificent animals they were seeing on the television show.  With the rise in popularity of Sea Parks, there became a demand to make more Sea Parks, and to bring in more dolphins. 

But where were they getting all these dolphins from?  The dolphins weren’t lining up volunteering to be the next somersault star of the show. 

It’s known that a lot of asian countries will sometimes obtain an obsession with the latest American culture, and try to embrace it themselves.  They’re also very opportunistic.  Well, in this case, countries, such as Japan, started taking this obsession to the extreme.  If you haven’t figured out where this article is going yet, you are about to.

Remember the question asked above: “But where are they getting all these dolphin from?”
Well, Japanese fisherman, knowing how to herd and trap dolphin, found this dolphin fascination to be a great profit opportunity.  And, as whaling and dolphin slaughters is a huge issue, everyone always points at Japan first.  And it is a justified accusation. 

Dolphin Slaughters in Japan

Japanese fisherman herd dolphins toward shore or into coves.  They do so by lining up boats and creating a wall of sound by hammering on the end of a metal pole that stretches into the water.  This sound and its frequency disturbs the dolphins and scares them into being herded in a direction away from the sound- in toward the shore where they are trapped.  Once trapped, the fisherman  up ropes around the dolphin pod to fence them in.  Eventually  dolphins have freaked themselves out so much that they become exhausted. 

Now it is time to bring in the trainers from Sea Parks to let them choose which dolphins they want in their shows and in their tanks.  For every show dolphin a fisherman sales, he can get over $140,000 for.

As you can imagine, not many dolphins are picked out of the dozens that have been herded at this particular time.  So what happens to the remaining dolphins?  They are slaughtered.  Instead of releasing the unchosen animals, they are brutally slaughtered to be turned into meat.  Over 23,000 dolphins a year are supposedly slaughtered to be used as meat.

The majority of this information and inspiration for this posts and a series of posts to come, was taken from the movie “The Cove”.  This movie, or documentary, was made to alert the world of the unnecessary dolphin slaughterings that are happening in Japan.  The head of the operation: Richard O’Barry. 

Ironically, the very person that was behind the dolphin Flipper, of which the television series may have started the chain reaction to these dolphin slaughterings, is also the one that now stops at nothing to free dolphins, and expose situations such as those in Japan.  This person is Mr. O’Barry himself. 

Richard O'Barry & Kathy on the set of "Flipper"

Rick O’Barry was the best dolphin trainer of his time.  He loved his job, until one day his eyes were opened.  He was sitting in the water with Kathy, better known as “Flipper”, when she swam into his arms, and died.  He considered it as suicide.  He believes that Kathy was so depressed from living in captivity that she killed herself.  How do dolphins commit suicide you ask?  As human beings we take breaths subconsciously.  Dolphins have to think about taking breaths.  They’re breath is running out, they think to themself “time to surface and inhale air”.  So, when Kathy swam into Rick’s arms she took one last breath, then didn’t take another one.  She then passed away and sunk to the bottom of her prison belly up.  The next day Rick was in prison for freeing some dolphins at an aquarium.  From that day forward he  vowed to protect dolphins.  And to this day he continues to do so in what may be one of his riskiest projects yet: “The Cove”.

There will be a series of articles to come inspired by this documentary as stated above.  You will see not only the work Rick O’Barry has done over the years, but what “The Cove” exposes as well.

Photo of the week: Google Logos – Sesame Street and Wallace & Gromit

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Google Logo Of The Day: Sesame Street and Wallace & Gromit

You may have first noticed this week when you went to “google” something that the logo for the search engine was Big Bird’s legs.  Today you will notice the Cookie Monster featured in the Google logo.  This week in North America, these logos represent the 40th anniversary of the children’s television show “Sesame Street”.  At the same time Google’s British counterpart celebrates the 20th birthday of “Wallace & Gromit”. 

google

What ever happened to the twin boys from Full House?

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment
Everybody that was born in the 80’s remembers their childhood days of watching “Full House”.  And of course who could forget that gorgeous Uncle Jesse, John Stamos, and his wife Becky, Lori Laughlin?  But what about the twin boys that played the couple’s sons?  Well for the first newborn baby months of their TV lives, the twins were played by Daniel and Kevin Renteria.  The real stars however were Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit, who played Nicky and Alex Katsopolis.  When they were 18 months old, their mother auditioned them for the parts, and they soon took over the roles.  Blake and Dylan were on “Full House” for the last 3 of 8 seasons that the show ran.  By the end of the final season, the boys were 5 years old.  Their mother pulled them from the acting business until they were old enough to decide whether or not to continue an actor’s life themselves.
It’s been 11 years since their roles on “Full House” ended with the program itself.  Today, at 18 years of age, they run a charity based fan club with their mother.  It provides fans with a look of their past days on “Full House” as well as their current days.  They have not been in any films or any other programs, other than a reality tv show when they were 12, since their Full House days.  They just run a normal life now.
Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit

Blake and Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit

Shark Week’s the Hype

August 7, 2009 2 comments
    
        
Every year, whether a Discovery Channel watcher or not, most everybody
Shark Week 2009

Shark Week 2009

prepares for the hotest week on the Discovery Channel all year long:  Shark Week.  The popularity of this program grows each year.  In 2006, there was an estimated 20 million viewers.  In 2008, an estimated 29 million, being an 8% increase from 2007.  This year an estimated over 30 million is to be expected. 

Shark Week has ran for 22 years.

This year Shark Week brings you “chills and thrills”, showing you some of the deadliest sharks, why they attack, and some of the most memorable shark attacks in history.

The line up is as follows:

SundayAugust 2, 2009: Blood in the Water
This two hour premiere features the true story behind the movie Jaws.  Apparently a 9 foot long shark started attacking swimmers just off of New Jersey beaches.  The shark’s ancestors had been swimming these shores for centuries so when they appeared in 1916, the busy beaches became a feeding opportunity for them.  This was the first multiple shark attack in American history.

The shark uses its tail to speed up and catch prey

The shark uses its tail to speed up and catch prey


Monday August 3, 2009:
1) Deadly Waters

Survivorman’s Les Stroud is on a mission to find the deadliest waters around the world, test them, and determine why they are among the deadliest waters on Earth.
2) Day of the Shark 2
A great white breaks through a 300-lb shark cage and traps the divers inside.  Another shark attacks a former Navy Seal in Florida.  And a bull shark invades a spear-fishing trip in the Bahamas.

Tuesday August 4, 2009: Sharkbite Summer
The summer of 2001 deemed to be quite the bloody summer with fears that the sharks were taking back  America’s shores.  There are various interviews with survivors, victims, surgeons, and family members, are visits of the sites of attacks.  One man on his anniversary vacation, barely made it back to shore after a shark attack, leaving him bloody and almost dying on the sand.
Attacks in Summer of 2001

Attacks in Summer of 2001


Wednesday August 5, 2009: Great White Appetite

Consuming about 17% of its body weight

Consuming about 17% of its body weight

The great white, patroling  over 50-percent of the globe’s inhabited coastlines, is one of the most feared predators in the world.  Little is known about these beasts other than its incredible appetite which is even a mystery.  Watch as Charles witnesses a great white eats over 300 lbs of tuna within minutes, and escape from a great white chomping at the boat he’s sitting in.


Thursday August 6, 2009: Shark After Dark

More aggressive & active after dark
More aggressive & active after dark

With infrared thermography cameras and night vision technology, a team of divers travel to study sharks, who are most active and aggressive in the dark, in some of their dangerous after-dark hunting grounds.  See some amazing footage of how well this technology works, and how dense in population some of the seal grounds are. As they follow outward bound groups of seals, it is not long before you see a shark leaping out of the water catching one in its powerful jaws.

 
Shark Fun Facts:

-Sharks see in color, and are extremely sensitive to changes in contrast. So be careful if you’re swimming with an uneven tan!
-Sharks do not need to be constantly swimming to breathe.  They will not drown this way.
-There are three ways for a shark to give birth: live birth, hatching from an egg, or an egg and live birth combination.

-In the US you are more likely to die from the following than you are from a shark attack:     
greatwhite2>falling down the stairs
>from a fatal farming machine accident
>from a hornet, wasp, or bee sting
>drowning in a bathtub of water
>several times more likely being struck by lightening

 

-Sharks can’t grind to a halt or swim backwards.
-The smallest shark, the Dwarf Shark, averages 4 inches long.
-Whale sharks are believed to be capable of living up to 150 years.

Rows of teeth
Rows of teeth

-A shark may grow and use over 20,000 teeth in its lifetime.  They never run out of teeth
-Their skin is made of denticles (teeth-like skin) instead of scales.