'World’s loneliest dolphin' Honey found dead in pool two years after being abandoned at marine park
Honey, dubbed as the world’s loneliest dolphin, has died in the same Japanese pool where she was abandoned two years ago. She was found dead on March 29 at the Marine Park Aquarium in Choshi, east of Tokyo.
According to reports, the Marine Park Aquarium was the same place where years ago she performed to entertain thousands of people after being captured in Taiji’s brutal drive hunts in 2005 for a “life” in captivity
However, later the bottleneck dolphin was abandoned in the pool along with 46 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles after the aquarium was shut down in 2018 following a drop in footfall after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The animals in the abandoned attraction were fed but otherwise left to fend for themselves as they spent two years in the same dirty water.
Earlier reports also claimed that Dolphin Project, an organization working for the protection of wild and captive dolphins worldwide since 1970, made several efforts to rescue Honey and the other animals abandoned in the pool. However, they failed to do so.
In 2019, when the dolphin and the other animals were sold to a different owner, the charity reportedly contacted them too. However, their discussions ended in March when it became evident that the dolphin will soon die.
To save Honey, the International Marine Mammal Project, headquartered in Berkeley, California, USA, also intervened and contacted the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), based in Switzerland. But they came to know that the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium was not a member of the WAZA.
“Unfortunately, Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium is not one of our current members, and as an NGO (Non-governmental Organization) we are limited in our capacity to address welfare issues at non-member organizations.
“We have, however, had contact the regional association Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA); they are well aware and have tried for many months now to help and move the animals. As you know from the newspapers, the owners of the park are as yet untraceable/not available for contact. Unfortunately, Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium is also not a member of the JAZA, which means we are limited in what WAZA and JAZA, and other members can do to help,” WAZA said in 2018.
Honey was captured in 2005 during the annual dolphin drives in Taiji, a western port town after it became notorious for its annual dolphin hunt that was featured in the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary 'The Cove'.
“Honey is a symbol of both the problem of marine parks and Taiji's hunting practices. When we went to check on the facility, she was showing signs of stress, putting her head weakly in and out of the water,” Akiko Mitsunobu, chief of aquarium issues for Animal Rights Centre, a local group, said in October 2018.
Meanwhile, in related news, a baby dolphin reportedly died due to “overwork” in the middle of her performance at a water park in Bulgaria. The dolphin was reportedly just nine days old when it passed away at the Varna Dolphinarium on August 21.