(TMU) — It’s no secret that dolphins are among the world’s most intelligent creatures.
From their playful nature to their sociability and friendly behavior toward humans, dolphins have long been adored by humans. Indeed, researchers are continually discovering new information about dolphins’ skills and sophistication which had previously been attributed only to us humans.
Yet just like people are capable of brutally mistreating one another despite our shared humanity, dolphins are often subject to inhumane acts at the hands of humans, ranging from the destruction of their habitats through pollution to illegal poaching.
Among these cruel acts is the practice of confining dolphins for the sake of entertainment at amusement parks and aquatic zoos that offer up-close experiences with exotic animals.
A bottlenose dolphin named Honey recently suffered a tragic death after being left in a tiny water tank at the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium, just east of Tokyo. Due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the park was eventually mired in financial trouble.
And while the park was sold last year, visitors showed little interest in visiting the park—leading to its eventual closure. However, Honey was left abandoned in the park along with 46 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles.
According to LADBible, only one employee was assigned to feeding all of the animals who were left to a miserable fate in their enclosures.
When animal welfare advocates spread word of the heartbreaking scene unfolding at Marine Park Aquarium, the Dolphin Project sprang into action to try to rescue Honey.
Sadly, however, it was already too late to save Honey from the repercussions of her mistreatment.
A statement on the Dolphin Project website read;
“In late February of this year, we reached out to our Japanese colleagues once again in attempts to purchase Honey in order that she could be retired in peace and dignity.
“These conversations ended in early March when it became apparent Honey was unlikely to survive.
“Later that month on 29 March, Honey died in her tank.”
The group also produced a video showing Honey living out her final days without interacting with any other creature—a fate similar to solitary confinement for such normally vibrant and energetic creatures.
Honey has now earned the heart-rending title of the “world’s loneliest dolphin.”
Advocates hope that her death won’t be in vain, and her posthumous role as the “face of dolphin captivity” can be used to improve the plight of other dolphins and sea creatures who are confined in hideous conditions for people to exploit for commercial entertainment purposes.
PETA director Elisa Allen explained in a statement:
“While her death in a concrete cell marks the end of her wretched existence, PETA hopes it also marks the beginning of a new era for animals held prisoner at marine abusement parks.
“We all know enough about other living, feeling beings now that we can no longer justify depriving intelligent, self-aware animals of a meaningful life for human amusement.
“We must work to move captive marine animals to seaside sanctuaries – where they can enjoy some semblance of the natural life they’ve been denied for so long.”
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