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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An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
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Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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