Honey the Dolphin, Dozens of Penguins, and Hundreds of Fish and Reptiles Abandoned at Japanese Marine Park
Inubosaki Marine Park in Choshi, Japan, closed at the end of January, and the lives of the animals there – Honey the bottlenose dolphin, 46 Humboldt penguins, and hundreds of fish and reptiles – have been hanging in the balance ever since.
Eight months ago, the owners shut up shop and abandoned the animals. While it appears that former staff members are still feeding them, their living conditions are increasingly miserable and life-threatening.
According to The Guardian, Honey was taken to the marine park over a decade ago after being captured in Taiji on Japan’s Pacific coast. Home to the infamous “killing cove”, Taiji has an annual slaughter, during which thousands of dolphins are killed for their flesh – and some, like Honey, are caught and sold to be used in shows and “swim with dolphins” programmes.
In the wild, dolphins swim vast distances with their families, playing and exploring new territory together. But for Honey, life is spent floating listlessly all day long. She is kept all alone and is said to be engaging in repetitive, compulsive actions known as stereotypic behaviour – a sign of the severe distress caused by captivity.
Penguins are complex, social animals with distinct personalities. Emperor penguins are team players who will huddle tightly together to stay warm, and gentoo penguins can dive as deep as 200 metres in their natural environment. Some penguins are monogamous during breeding season, and it’s common for both penguin parents to care for a chick.
But at the run-down marine park, dishevelled penguins are reportedly covered in dust and living on a crumbling structure near a pile of debris. No animal deserves to be treated like this.
Not much is known about the conditions of the fish and reptiles trapped in the park, but their situation is unlikely to be any better than that of Honey and the penguins. All these animals are able to feel pain and suffer.
What’s happening at Inubosaki Marine Park is heartbreaking yet not surprising. Aquaria tear animals away from their families and homes and exploit them for profit – they treat these sentient beings as products.
An industry that sees animals as nothing more than merchandise will never prioritise their needs, and the worst facilities have no qualms about subjecting animals like Honey to unrelenting misery.
That’s why it’s vital that all the animals imprisoned at Inubosaki Marine Park be released into accredited sanctuaries, where they would be protected and free from harassment. PETA Asia stands ready to help facilitate their transfer.
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