O'Barry has worked both sides of the dolphin
street, the first 10 years with the dolphin
captivity industry, the past 30 against them.
back in the 1960s for Miami Seaquarium, O'Barry captured
and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played
the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of
the same name. When Cathy, the dolphin who played Flipper
most of the time, died in his arms, OBarry realized
that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly
tricks is simply wrong.
that moment on, O'Barry knew what he must do with his life.
On the first Earth Day, 1970, he founded the Dolphin
Project, dedicated to freeing captive dolphins who were
viable candidates and educating people throughout the world
to the plight of dolphins in captivity. Over the years he
freed 14 dolphins. He launched a searing campaign against
the billion dollar dolphin captivity industry, telling the
public what was really going on at dolphin shows and urging
people not to buy tickets to see dolphins play the fool.
40 years of experience with dolphins and his firsthand
knowledge about the methods used to capture and train
them has taken him all over the world to participate
in lectures and conferences about the controversial
dolphin captivity issue.
O'Barry knew it would, this created a lot of hostility toward
him by those who stood to profit from the continued exploitation
in this for money. Take it away, and they'll quit doing
this," OBarry says and adds: "Dolphins
are free-ranging, intelligent, and complex wild animals,
and they belong in the oceans, not playing the clown in
our human schemes."
recognize his contribution, in 1991 OBarry received
the "Environmental Achievement Award" presented
by the Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program
book "Behind the Dolphin Smile" was published
in 1989, a second book, "To Free A Dolphin" was
published in September 2000. Both of them are about his
work and dedication.
January 2001 O'Barry has worked as Wildlife Consultant for
the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA),
the worlds largest network of animal protection organizations,
representing more than 400 member organizations in 91 countries.
WSPAs latest dolphin rescue operation took place with
the rehabilitation and release of two dolphins in Guatemala
in the summer of 2001.