Honey – a sad victim of the public display industry

Image of Honey courtesy of colleagues at ARCJ

DFE is saddened to hear the news that a female bottlenose dolphin, known as ‘Honey’, has been abandoned at the Inubosaki Marine Park in Choshi, Japan. Her case is an example of what DFE is trying to prevent in Europe.

Honey was captured from the wild in 2005 off the coast of Taiji, Japan, a location notoriously known for its annual dolphin drive hunts. She has outlived at least four other dolphins that have been displayed at the park.

The park allegedly observed a decline in visitor numbers following an earthquake and nuclear crisis in 2011, closing at the beginning of this year. Employees are reportedly still feeding all remaining animals. Honey has recently been described as having damaged skin, looking increasingly weak and floating listlessly in her small, uncleaned outside tank. She has also been displaying stereotypic (abnormal repetitive) behaviours, which are rife in captive dolphins as a result of unsuitable living conditions, frustrated biological needs and subsequent poor welfare.

Coalition member Marine Connection has been liaising with the Animal Rights Center Japan, which has been closely monitoring Honey’s situation, (as well as the remaining penguins, fish and reptiles), and is advocating for her rescue from the facility. The owners of the park have so far been ignoring all requests and enquiries regarding solutions for Honey, despite other dolphinaria in the country offering to rehome her.

Honey is an older wild-born individual, we believe she would be a good candidate for rehabilitation, pending medical clearance, with a view of either retiring her to a seaside sanctuary when available or potential release back into the wild.