August 6, 2009

Former Flipper trainer now animal activist

The man who trained dolphins playing Flipper on the popular 1960s U.S. TV show has turned animal activist, speaking out against dolphins held captive.

Ric O'Barry has protested attractions featuring captive dolphins and has been arrested for cutting nets. O'Barry said he expects his biggest protest against dolphins' treatment will be the documentary, The Cove, a film about dolphin slaughter in Japan, the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale reported Thursday.

During the filming, O'Barry, 69, of Coconut Grove, Fla., said he led a crew into a secluded cove on Japan's coast to film the legal capture and killing of dolphin. Throughout the $2.5 million film O'Barry and crew, dodged determined police and belligerent fishermen, including using some fake rocks whipped up by special effects shop Industrial Light and Magic.

I'm in Japan five, six times a year, and I see this slaughter every day for weeks on end, said O'Barry, now a marine mammal specialist for Earth Island Institute, a not-for-profit environmental organization. Words just fail me.