'Flipper' trainer against dolphin tourism

Oct 28, 2005

Ric O'Barry, the man behind the TV series "Flipper" says the capture of wild dolphins for tourist attractions should be stopped.

O'Barry, who used to humanely capture dolphins, said one of the five dolphins that used to play Flipper died in his arms from stress and depression, ABC News reported Friday.

Since the 1960s TV series, O'Barry and other environmentalists have gotten the United States and Mexico to ban or restrict the taking of dolphins from the wild, however, he says dolphin brokers can still make $100,000 per captured dolphin worldwide.

Chris Porter, the biggest dolphin broker in the world who bought almost a hundred dolphins from the Solomon Islands in 2003, says he works in the interest of conservation, not profit. "If it wasn't good for the dolphins, I wouldn't do it," he told ABC News.

Mexican Wildlife Department documents say six of the dolphins from Porter have died from a variety of causes. At the Parque Nizuc, a water park in Cancun, Mexico, tourists pay $100 to pet, kiss or be propelled through the water by dolphins.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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