A bottlenose dolphin at Sea Life Park photographed by Kirsten Ramirez.



Another dolphin has died at Sea Life Park. He was the 140th dolphin to die in their care.

WAIMANALO, HAWAII, February 28th, 2019- A Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Kamoana has died at Sea Life Park. He was one of the facility's last surviving wild captured dolphins, having been captured in 1971.

His death is the 140th cetacean death at the park since its opening. An additional 50 bottlenose dolphins, 5 hybrid “wholphins,” 11 false killer whales, 3 melon-headed whales, 9 rough-toothed dolphins, 9 short-finned pilot whales, 13 pan-tropical spotted dolphins, 3 pygmy killer whales, and 36 spinner dolphins have died in the park’s care.

The park told local news that Kamoana, who was considered the “grandpa” of Sea Life Park for his old age, passed away of “natural causes,” but a necropsy will be done to officially confirm the cause of death.

Sea Life Park has reported worrisome causes of deaths to National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) over the years that include drowning, suffocation, “killed by another dolphin,” food poisoning, trauma, “jumped out of tank,” died at capture, and malnutrition. The park is under investigation by the local Labor Department and was fined $130k by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division after a tip from an anonymous engineer alleged park management covered up knowledge of the imminent collapse of three structures while keeping them open to the public.

We urge you to join us in asking Hawaii's tourism industry to stop supporting Sea Life Park by signing the petition here.




Shark conservationists Kayleigh Burns attempts to remove a rope and hook from a well known tiger shark nicknamed "Roxy" who has a broken jaw from another fishing incident years ago. Photo by Juan Oliphant of One Ocean Diving/WaterInspired

Sharks and rays in Hawaii state waters are one step closer to gaining further protection.

HONOLULU, HAWAII, February 27, 2019- House Bill 808 was passed unamended by the House Committee on Judiciary today. If successful, this bill will prohibit the killing, capture, or possession of sharks and rays in state waters. Marine conservationists and biologists from around the world have submitted testimony in favor of HB808. The bill is also strongly supported by local organizations and groups Keiko Conservation, Moana Ohana, One Ocean Conservation, Water Inspired, For The Fishes, Bali Sharks, Animal Rights Hawai'i, Friends Of Hanauma Bay, and the West Hawaiian Humane Society.

Although Hawaii was the first state to ban the possession and sale of shark fins, an increase in cruel and harmful activity towards the animals sparked the need for stronger regulations. Over the past few years, beachgoers have repeatedly found dead shark pups tossed in nearby bushes, a pile of nearly a hundred scalloped hammerhead pups dumped at Sand Island on Oahu, sharks hung from street signs to rot in the sun, and two roped sandbar sharks dragged up the beach and staked in the sand to suffocate in back to back incidents. Posts on social media have also revealed numerous images and videos of cruel actions towards the animals, including scalloped hammerhead pups being tied to drones to use as "live bait." Keiko Conservation co-founder Natalie Parra told legislators at a recent hearing that, "it's sad that we now know who did some of these things but nothing can be done to stop them, because it's not illegal."

Local marine biologist and shark conservationist Ocean Ramsey of One Ocean Diving and Water Inspired told The Guardian earlier this month that she hopes the law will be passed in Hawaii and inspire similar laws in other states, and, ultimately, around the globe. “These animals have been around for 450m years, and during my lifetime so many of them will go extinct,” she said. “I want it to stop. It’s not fair to them and it’s not fair to future generations.”

With sharks holding such strong cultural and ecological importance in Hawaii, the bill has faced little opposition and there is hope that this will be the year it becomes law.

You can stay updated on upcoming hearings for both HB808 and its companion bill in the Senate SB489 by clicking here.



Illustration: @kokocuvier




Kahala Hotel And Resort plans to violate the terms of their approved firework permit to charge guests access to a public beach and restrict access to their captive dolphin "lagoon."

KAHALA, HAWAII, December 31st, 2018- Kahala Hotel And Resort, home to Dolphin Quest's captive dolphin facility on Oahu, plans to block access to the public beach in front of their hotel for a fireworks show aside their dolphin "lagoon." The resort paid the state $600 for restricted access to the beach for their private event, the cost of a mere 4 tickets for their event. The Kahala resort plans to charge guests $150 per adult, $100 per child (ages 6 to 12) and a 23% service charge, despite their approved permit specifying the event must be "open to the public and no admission fees of any kind shall be charged."

What's even more concerning than the resort's disregard for this conditions of their permit, is the impact this firework show will have on both captive and wild marine life in the area. The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal is known to haul out to rest in the surrounding areas. It's likely that a nearby firework show will spook these animals back into the ocean without the adequate rest they require. Past firework shows at Kahala Resort have also caused issues with their captive dolphins. In 2015, a mother and daughter visiting from California were removed from the property after seeing dolphins thrashing in their lagoon during the firework show and taking out a cell phone to record it. No explanation was given to them on why they were removed so they contacted animal rights groups in the area, including Keiko Conservation and Animal Rights Hawaii. This was brought up at a hearing for another firework permit the resort applied for shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, it was hardly acknowledged by the Board of Land And Natural Resources (BLNR). When a board member asked the present Dolphin Quest representative if they would be able to identify what behavior the animals might exhibit if stressed by the show, the representative responded that they didn't know. Despite this, the board approved the permit and collected the fee from the resort, a fee that they had increased from $50 to $550 in 2013 after applications for the permits became more popular.

We encourage the public to call the resort's reservation line (808) 739-8760 and tell them about your concerns for the welfare of the animals in their care and that they are violating the terms of their permit by charging visitors.

Instagram: @kahala_resort

You can also contact the board for the Department Of Land And Natural Resources to make them aware that Kahala Resort is planning to violate the terms of their permit and request that they stop giving out permits for fireworks to places that hold captive wildlife.

Phone: 1-808-587-0433

E-mail: dlnr.land@hawaii.gov


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