The Solomon Islands Dolphins Tragedy Continues
August 20, 2003
The latest news from the Solomons is shocking!
A TV cameraman filming the seapen in Honiara where at least 20 dolphins are incarcerated was yesterday bashed by guards at the seapen with rocks. He was so badly injured that he had to be hospitalized.
The number of dolphins in the shallow seapen in Gavutu is now 35. We believe six dolphins have died. The Australian Government is currently dialoguing with Christopher Porter who informed Dr Kemp's office that he had 'released' the dolphins. There is not a single shred of evidence to support this assertion by Porter.
An independent veterinarian who is experienced in caring for dolphins has indicated that the dolphins are in a very serious condition. He advises along with other experts that converting a wild dolphin's diet to dead stale fish is not a task that can be done overnight. In all likelihood, the dolphins are being fed fish species they would not normally eat. In response to AFA's query in regard to dolphins being seen in the pen with distended stomachs floating upright with their tail on the seafloor, we were advised that gas caused by dead stale fish could cause the distension.
It is becoming clear that the dolphins are dying; that they are in an appalling situation which is deteriorating and that anyone who tries to film or document this abuse is at risk of their life.
The Federal Government continues to stonewall over sending a government veterinarian to assess the situation. The latest violence towards the cameraman has given the government highly questionable grounds to say that it isn't safe for anyone to go out to the seapens. This is ridiculous and unacceptable. If the Australian and NZ governments allow this kind of violence to take place in the Solomons it is clearly a breakdown of law and order. That's why our troops are there.
The Federal Government will not send in a vet without a formal invitation from the Solomon Islands government. It seems pretty clear that no such invitation is likely to be given in the near future. In the meantime, the dolphins will continue to die. AFA believes that Christopher Porter is backed by very significant interests who are obviously willing to bash cameramen, refuse access to sites that should be open to the public and to ignore all government and diplomatic pressure.
It is now critical that organizations and individuals target the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia, the Hon. Alexander Downer who is in charge of the Australian troops to demand that a government vet be accompanied to Gavutua Island seapen and the Honiara seapen as well as any other incarceration sites by Australian troops. It is important to point out that this latest attack represents a breakdown of law and order and that this kind of violence and intimidation is completely unacceptable.
There is little doubt that if any help does get to the Solomons, that some or most of these dolphins may have to be euthenased. Experts AFA has consulted say it could be a long term proposition to release these dolphins because of their poor health and trauma. AFA has organized an independent vet and highly experienced dolphin person to go to the Solomons, however this is now unlikely as no one can guarantee their safety.
Mexican activists should note that the Solomon Island dolphins are being fed fish species in Cancun that would be completely foreign to the dolphins. These dolphins have been through no period of adjustment from one shocking diet in the Solomons to another diet in Mexico.
Welcome to the captive industry.
Alexander Downer's email is: A.Downer.MP@aph.gov.au
It is vitally important that people ACT. Australia is in a position to take action. We must keep up the protest. These dolphins are suffering horribly. What is happening in the Solomons must be made known far and wide. This is murder, there is no other way to describe the treatment of these poor creatures.