Ric O'Barry, lead activist of the Oscar-winning film, The Cove - and his son, filmmaker are two men driven by a single passion.
In Blood Dolphins, a three-part series that premieres August 27, on Animal Planet at the special time of 11 PM ET/PT, former Flipper trainer Ric continues on his redemptive mission to save dolphins at the peril of man.
Blood Dolphins begins back at The Cove—the remote location in Taiji, Japan that is witness to an annual mass slaughter of dolphins. The pair, along with a small crew, discover that the brutal massacre portrayed in the Academy Award-winning film continues in spite of the success and international awareness of The Cove. Despite the many obstacles father and son encounter, they forge on, continuing their mission.
"Having a higher media profile is a tool," Ric said during the TV Guide show's Television Critics Assocation summer session. The drawback is that in Japan "I am a marked man." Ric said there are four major dolphin trade groups from which he has to stay away. "Two of my associates have been murdered," he said.
Still, Ric said, he'll continue the work of education. "In some ways, the Japanese people are victims because they don't have the information," Ric said. "But we're here to listen and learn... We're not cultural imperialists."After leaving Japan, the team travels to the Solomon Islands—a small nation consisting of nearly 1,000 islands where dolphin dealing is legal and big business. The islands are the nerve center of dolphin slaughter and trade. Threatened by annual hunts, dolphins are slaughtered by the thousands. The O’Barry’s dangerous mission is to confront cultural, political and economic forces that affect the world's dolphins. They met with high hopes as they learn that a prominent dealer is thinking of leaving the business.
Dolphins are victimized by a highly lucrative (at times cutthroat) captive trade, where a "prime specimen" can rake in up to $200,000 for the dolphin entertainment industry. Either scenario is a sad fate for one of the most remarkable, intelligent and loved creatures on the planet.
“Dolphins are highly intelligent, self-aware, complex creatures that should swim free without the threat of slaughter or captivity,” says Ric O’Barry. “Dolphins’ primary sense is sonar sound, and living within small confines causes sensory deprivation and distress, while also extremely limiting their range of space. The most important thing I can do…that my son can do…is show the world through projects like ‘Blood Dolphins’ just how threatened dolphins are so we can all do something about it.”
"It's not conservation," Ric said. "Flipper was a blood dolphin."Animal Planet’s Blood Dolphins premiers on Friday, August 27 at 11 p.m. ET/PT following the season finale of Whale Wars.
Watch Ric O’Barry and son Lincoln talk about Blood Dolphins on CNN.