Despite the actions of CARE and other activists, Ulsan Namgu Office went ahead with their importing of two bottlenose dolphins from Taiji, an infamous dolphin hunting town in Japan.

Here, we’ll document the dolphin’s journey from Osaka, Japan to the Jangsaengpo Special Whale Culture Zone in Ulsan, South Korea.

The dolphin’s journey started on February 8th, 2017 in Osaka, where they were loaded into shipping crates and into the hold of a cargo ship bound for Busan, a major port on the south coast of South Korea. The journey took 30 hours, with the dolphins sedated and unable to move for the entire time. It’s possible that Ulsan Namgu office wanted to save money by shipping the dolphins by sea for 30 hours than by air for significantly less time and stress.

After arriving in Busan, the dolphins were then driven to Ulsan by truck for another hour. The truck did not seem to be fitted with suspension designed to provide a smooth journey, and the speed at which the truck was driven–circa 80kms–did not indicate that the driver understood or cared that he was transporting live animals. Furthermore, the truck turned excessively to try to evade the activists who were following it.

On arrival in Ulsan, the shipping crates were unloaded from the truck by a forklift driver who considered his horn to be an essential ingredient to the moving process. He also did not seem to understand that he was moving highly intelligent sentient beings who had just suffered a stressful and terrifying 31 hours in transit.

These temperate and tropical ocean-dwelling creatures were then lifted into a freezing February wind-chill of -3°C while wet.

Yet again, the Special Whale Culture Zone staff did not seem to appreciate that they were handling live animals; treating them more like products to stack on a supermarket shelf. It also transpired that the center had incited the local residents to disrupt the activities of CARE and the other activist groups there by tearing down banners and in some cases physically obstructing us.

Finally, when CARE and the other animal welfare organizations tried to speak to officials at the Ulsan Namgu offices, staff barred the entrance for one hour. Public servants prevented citizens from accessing a public building to which they were legally entitled to enter.

This treatment of these intelligent and highly social animals cannot continue.

CARE will not stop until no more dolphins or other marine mammals are held in captivity in South Korea and, with the help of our international partners and donors, the world.

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