Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Powerful Letters Connect SeaWorld with Taiji Cove & have a Blackfish Movie Twist

The connection between SeaWorld and the brutal drive hunts at Taiji, Japan, has been known for decades. SeaWorld's former Vice-President & head veterinarian, Dr Lanny Cornell, famously told PBS Frontline that, "The drive fishery process is not necessarily an inhumane process."

Two Pseudorca (false killer whales) Teri (L) & Hana (R). It it now known Teri was captured in Taiji, Japan, on 21 Feb 1983

Cornell worked for SeaWorld from 1973 to 1987 and was later hired to be Keiko's veterinarian, an apparently opportunistic move considering his former employer, SeaWorld, continues to smear the Keiko reintroduction; an effort which transported an orca from Mexico to Oregon and finally to the sea, where he lived from 1998 until his death in 2003. 

Keiko gained thousands of pounds after moving to the ocean from Mexico

After Keiko swam to Norway, Dr. Cornell reported, "His physical condition was robust & showed no sign of weight loss."

In a new twist involving Cornell, a paper trail from Kamogawa Sea World to Dr. Cornell at SeaWorld, demonstrates the process of how small cetaceans are moved through Kamogawa to other facilities like SeaWorld:

No. 1 male is Teri, and No. 2 female is Suki who were moved  from Taiji ultimately to San Diego

This letter reinforces that the animals were for SeaWorld, with "Yours Faithfully" as the closing

This diagram was included by SeaWorld in the agreement paperwork  
It also shows, surprisingly, that ex-SeaWorld trainers, including four who appeared in the movie Blackfish, worked directly with drive-hunt-captured whales from Taiji, unknowingly.

This diagram was also shared with Kamogawa Sea World  to show how the false killers would be moved to USA

Like many secrets at the company, the trainers were kept in the dark regarding the brutal collections. Some were told the whales they worked alongside were "rescued." Just today, former trainer Samantha Berg commented:

"Makes me even sicker that I didn't know anything about Taiji or the drive fishery back then... "

As it turns out, Carol Ray, Samantha Berg, Dean Gomersall, and Jeffrey Ventre all worked directly with drive-hunt-whales at the Whale & Dolphin stadium in Orlando in the 1990's. These whales were Teri, Suki, Hana, Yaki & Zori, and all died young. Like belugas & killer whales, pseudorca do poorly in captivity at places like SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium. 

Ex trainer Jeffrey Ventre performs with Yaki, a whale captured in a drive hunt 
While the paper trail is new, we can only confirm that Teri & Suki were taken directly by the infamous killer-fishermen at Taiji's cove. We do know that Yaki, Hana & Zori were also drive-fishery-captured, but don't know precisely where they were corralled up & out of the ocean, in Japan. The odds are that it was Taiji, but we don't possess the documentation.

Samantha Berg with Suki, a whale captured at Taiji, Japan in 1983
We wonder how these revelations will effect the dozen or more current trainers at SeaWorld in Orlando that worked with these drive-hunt-whales. This will be disturbing news to them, too.