An Open Letter to Tilikum

I am so sorry.

Tilikum in tiny tank

Words cannot even begin to express my sadness for you. I am sorry that you are dying, but even more sorry that you are dying in a concrete tank instead your ocean home off the coast of Iceland.

For more than thirty years, you have been held captive in one tiny pool or another, first in Sealand and now in SeaWorld.  Of course, neither place resembles the sea where you were born.  Your imprisonment spans nearly your entire life.  You have been forced to perform tricks for food, forced to donate sperm, forced to endure isolation, and forced to live a shell of a life that in no way resembles the true nature of an orca.  The pain you have suffered is simply incomprehensible.

Making the Difference for the Vaquita

By Captain Oona Layolle

Crew remove an illegal totoaba long line from the vaquita refuge. Photo: Carolina A Castro

After the highly anticipated arrival of the Farley Mowat to the Sea of Cortez, we have concentrated on testing different techniques to find illegal fishing gear hidden undersea. The gear is placed to catch the endangered Totoaba, and those same nets also are trapping and killing the Vaquita Marina, the most endangered porpoise in the world.

Finding those nets has not been an easy task.

First, the weather hasn’t helped. The winter storms forced us to shelter for two weeks while we waited out the high winds and huge swell – hoping that at least the bad weather would keep the poachers from fishing. Unfortunately, the nets are always there,left under the sea, and set to kill. We also learned that some poachers went out, undeterred by the worsening weather conditions. Since we’ve arrived, we have heard about eleven illegal fishermen that have died from trying to fish during the storms. It is shocking to see how far the hunger for money can drive this awful illegal act.

Greenpeace Has Gone Over to the Dark Side With Their Endorsement For the Sealing Industry

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

editorial-160126-1-1-seal-280w.jpgGreenpeace has now crossed the line with their endorsement of seal fur as “sustainable.”

I initiated and led the first Greenpeace campaigns against sealing from 1975 until 1977. I really never thought I would see the day when Greenpeace would sell out to the sealing industry.

Jon Burgwald speaking for Greenpeace has announced that Greenpeace supports “sustainable” sealing.

Welcoming Pamela Anderson

Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

Pamela Anderson has been appointed Chair of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Credit: Pamela Anderson Foundation

Pamela Anderson has been appointed Chair of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Credit: Pamela Anderson Foundation
On behalf of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I am very happy to announce that Pamela Anderson has joined Sea Shepherd’s Board of Directors and has been appointed Chair of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Pamela Anderson is a passionate, compassionate, and committed activist for animals and the environment, and she brings a great deal of media and cultural influence to our table.
She is an international icon whose understanding of the nature of media has enabled her to be an effective and outspoken advocate for all animals and for Sea Shepherd.

“Sniffing” Out Wildlife Crime in Galapagos

Commentary by Dr. Godfrey Merlen, Director, Sea Shepherd Galapagos

Godfrey Merlen with Truss and Xaver. Photo: Sea Shepherd

On November 19, 2015, I traveled 55 miles to the island of San Cristobal to bring four “sniffer” dogs to the environmental unit of the Ecuadorian National Police. These remarkable hounds can differentiate many smells, but in the Galapagos they particularly seek out illegal products being smuggled out of the archipelago, especially shark fins and sea cucumbers, but including wildlife.

While these four dogs are just beginning their service to the remarkable eco-system of the Galapagos Islands – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – an agreement signed by Colonel Zambrano and myself now brings to a close a process that began in Holland with the selection of the dogs at the Canine Center, which specializes in selecting individual animals for their power of detection through a remarkable sense of smell and for their concentration.

Opposing the Japanese Pirate Whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Tim Watters

Japan has declared war on the whales in the Southern Ocean. Their fleet is en route to the Southern Ocean NOW, in abject disrespectful defiance of the International Court of Justice.

The signatory nations to the relevant conventions have not done anything but talk. All other NGOs aside from Sea Shepherd are not doing anything to intervene. Japan returns to the killing fields with an arrogant confidence that they will be unopposed.

Behind the Green Mask

Cocaine and Shark Fins, Corruption and Costa Rica
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

File photo: Drying shark fins  Photo: Sea Shepherd/Gary Stokes

Fourteen years ago in 2001, I took my ship Ocean Warrior to Cocos Island, Costa Rica. When we arrived we found an Ecuadorian long-liner, the San Jose, busily slaughtering sharks not far off the beach of Cocos Island National Park.

The rangers were watching from the shore but, not having a boat, they could do nothing.

We offered our help and together the Cocos Island rangers and the Sea Shepherd crew stopped the San Jose, confiscated many kilometers of longlines and hundreds of dead sharks. We then assisted with the arrest of the crew.

Polluting the English Language to Justify Slaughter and Destruction

Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

“You don’t ‘harvest’ seals, pigs, dolphins, deer, fish or any other animal. So, why the use of this word to refer to the killing of seals and dolphins?” Photo: Sea Shepherd/Greg Hager

For many years I have been annoyed at some of the terminology used in our societies in reference to our brutal treatment of animals.

We need to put an end to the utilitarian, consumeristic jargon that is employed to justify ecological exploitation and the infliction of cruelty upon nonhuman species.

The first word that needs to go is the word “harvest,” when used in reference to the killing of animals.

You don’t “harvest” seals, pigs, dolphins, deer, fish or any other animal. That use of the word is senseless. You harvest corn, oranges, or apples but not seals or fish. I notice that even farmers don’t use the term for the killing of cows or pigs; they slaughter cows and pigs, they don’t harvest them. So, why the use of this word to refer to the killing of seals and dolphins? It’s just another attempt by those who kill them to remove the ugliness of their actions from the language and to justify their crimes with denial.

Message to the Crews of the Bob Barker and the Sam Simon

Commentary by Captains Sid Chakravarty and Peter Hammarstedt

Monday, October 12 marked 300 days since the poaching vessel Thunder was located by the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barkerin the Southern Ocean. Monday also marked the world’s first successful prosecution of an INTERPOL-listed vessel’s officers on counts of forgery, recklessness, pollution and damage to the environment. And we want to thank the crew on the ships who made this incredible result possible.

Orca Dies at Marineland Antibes

Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

Orca show at Marineland Antibes. (source: Wikimedia)

A few days ago I posted that there was an unconfirmed report that an Orca had died at Marineland in Antibes.

Marineland denied the report and, in a statement, said that all the Orcas had survived and were healthy.

The report is now confirmed. Valentin, an Orca born at Marineland, has now been confirmed as having died. The report in the Nice Matin confirms the death of Valentin. He was 19 years old.