3 Pictures That Will Make You Think Twice Before Visiting a Marine Park
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launched a series of images today illustrating the tragic fates met by real-life captive cetaceans.
The images come just as the holiday season begins and families are making choices about how to spend their money on entertainment. The pictures are being published to educate and deter travelers around the world from buying tickets to marine shows, swim-with-dolphin programs and other similar animal encounter experiences.
The photos, featuring a dolphin, beluga and orca, respectively, show each animal breaking the water with their backs. Drops splash around them as they land from an aerial trick. Upon closer look, the viewer will see the drops of water are, in fact, broken glass. Each visual is accompanied by text that tells the true story of the mammal in the poster.
Sharky was held captive at SeaWorld properties.Sea Shepherd Conservation Society / Nicolas Dumenil
"That was the idea behind this campaign—to look closer and see what really happens to animals in marine parks," said Nicolas Dumenil, the Paris-based art director who created the designs for Sea Shepherd. "Going from a splash of water to a smash of glass was a simple but powerful way to illustrate the cruel reality of captivity. Marine parks work hard to hide what people should not see and work harder to engage in disinformation each time an animal dies in their parks."
Dumenil said he wanted to use stories of actual captive marine mammals for the campaign to remember and honor all of those who met similar tragic fates. The hardest part was choosing which ones to spotlight, especially as new deaths occurred, including the November 2016 passing of Aurora and Quila, a mother and daughter beluga pair who died nine days apart at the Vancouver Aquarium.
"Who will be next?" asked Dumenil. "Bucky, the 47-year old captive dolphin in Australia who is still jumping through hoops despite his history of cancer?"
Hugo was kept at the Miami SeaquariumSea Shepherd Conservation Society / Nicolas Dumenil
The art director said he grew up surfing in the oceans as a child and as such, was always concerned with the marine life around him.
"Now that I'm in a creative position, I felt it was time to take action," stated Dumenil. "I have long admired Sea Shepherd's commitment to save marine wildlife and am honored to team with them on this campaign. I hope the real-life stories of Hugo, Sharky and Nanuq can serve as reminders that animals are not here for our entertainment and must not be held prisoners, deprived from their natural settings and social structures."
Sharky and Nanuq were both held captive at SeaWorld properties, while Hugo was kept at the Miami Seaquarium. SeaWorld and other similar facilities have come under fire in recent years with blistering campaigns by animal activists since the 2013 release of the SeaWorld-critical documentary Blackfish.
"Every year Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians document the atrocious dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan, where cetaceans are being slaughtered, torn apart from their families and transported to concentration camps masquerading as marine parks," Sea Shepherd Founder, president and CEO Captain Paul Watson said. "Nicolas' images are a wakeup call for those who think these animals actually like spinning in the air and giving rides to trainers on their backs."
Sea Shepherd COO David Hance agreed. "Having witnessed firsthand the atrocities in Taiji, I can attest to just how horrific life is as a captive prisoner in these parks," he said. "A captive life is no life for any animal. I hope everyone can make the humane and moral choice not to support marine parks this holiday season, or any season for that matter."
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By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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