Honey the Dolphin Left Stranded in a Disused Japanese Aquarium

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Honey the dolphin with the scars from sunburn clearly visible (Photo: Animal Rights Centre Japan)

A report published this week by the Animal Rights Centre Japan (ARCJ), brings to light the sickening fate of Honey, a bottlenose dolphin left abandoned in a disused Japanese aquarium.

Inubousaki Marine Park in Japan's Chiba prefecture was shut down in January this year, leaving behind the aquarium's dolphins, hundreds of Humboldt penguins, fish and various reptiles. According to the report, Honey was accompanied in the marine park by four other dolphins – all of whom have since died.

The pictures and video taken by ARCJ are horrific, showing a clearly distress Honey shaking her head, and swimming at the surface where the skin of her dorsal side is cracked due to the dry weather, and an apparent inability to dive below the surface of the water. A quote from a Kaisou Health Centre official on the ARCJ website states that: 'Because the air is dry, her skin is also being dried. We use glycerin to take care of it.' Another member of the Health Centre's team added: 'She might not be able to go underwater because there is gas in her body due to internal disease. Her skin might be damaged by sunshine because she cannot go underwater.'

Sunburned, diseased and in solitary confinement in a small and filthy pool, hopes for Honey's survival are fading. She, along with the other discarded animals are fed by former employees of the marine park, but there is apparently very little in the way of support and funding. The news has sparked an outcry of public anger for the animal's treatment and the ARCJ has launched a 'send postcards for Honey' campaign in order to raise public awareness. A #SaveHoney social media campaign has also begun.

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The tiny and filthy pool where Honey is forced to live in solitary confinement (Photo: Animal Rights Centre Japan)

Honey was originally brought to the aquarium following the notorious Taiji dolphin slaughter, for which Japan has received international condemnation. Dolphins are herded into a small cove where they are trapped and butchered for meat. It is thought that Honey was pregnant when she was captured, as the baby - named Marine - that she gave birth to after being captured, also died in Inubousaki Marine Park.

The ARCJ is campaigning for Honey to be released into a dolphin sanctuary where she will be able to socialise with other animals and regain her health. Should she be released back into the wild in her home near Taiji, it is feared that she will be caught and killed in a future hunt. Appeals for assistance with her relocation are ongoing.

More information about Honey and the other animals' plight can be found on the ARCJ website, and the postcard campaign can be found on campaign group Animal Peace's website. The website is in Japanese but an English version courtesy of Google Translate is available here

The video below was shot by Eiki Sato, an animal journalist. Be warned, however, the footage is quite heartbreaking.




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