O'Barry has worked both sides of the dolphin street, the first 10
years with the dolphin captivity industry, the past 30 against them.
back in the 1960s for Miami Seaquarium, O'Barry captured and trained
dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper
in the popular American TV-series of the same name. When Cathy,
the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms,
O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform
silly tricks is simply wrong.
From that moment on, O'Barry knew what he must do with his life.
On the first Earth Day, 1970, he founded the Dolphin Project, dedicated
to freeing captive dolphins who were viable candidates and educating
people throughout the world to the plight of dolphins in captivity.
Over the years he freed 14 dolphins. He launched a searing campaign
against the billion dollar dolphin captivity industry, telling the
public what was really going on at dolphin shows and urging people
not to buy tickets to see dolphins play the fool.
O’Barry’s 40 years of experience with dolphins and his firsthand
knowledge about the methods used to capture and train them has taken
him all over the world to participate in lectures and conferences
about the controversial dolphin captivity issue. As O'Barry knew
it would, this created a lot of hostility toward him by those who
stood to profit from the continued exploitation of dolphins.
"They're in this for money. Take it away, and they'll quit doing
this," O’Barry says and adds:
"Dolphins are free-ranging, intelligent, and complex wild animals,
and they belong in the oceans, not playing the clown in our human
To recognize his contribution, in 1991 O’Barry received the "Environmental
Achievement Award" presented by the Committee for the United Nations
Environmental Program (US/UNEP).
His book "Behind the Dolphin Smile" was published in 1989, a second
book, "To Free A Dolphin" was published in September 2000. Both
of them are about his work and dedication.
Today O'Barry is the Marine Mammal Specialist for One Voice, a leading
French animal protection group. www.onevoice-ear.org. He has been
working diligently in Japan to curb the brutal drive fisheries and
dolphin slaughters supported by the marine park captivity industry.
more on Ric and wife Helen please visit : www.dolphinproject.org