SeaWorld LLC quietly submitted an applicationin August 2012, requesting the import of Kirara from Kamogawa Sea World in JapanKamogawa Sea World
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
SeaWorld LLC quietly submitted an application to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in August 2012, requesting the import of captive Pacific white-sided dolphin, Kirara from Kamogawa SeaWorld in Japan. Just as quietly, in a federal register notice released Sunday night but dated for Monday June 7th, the NOAA has granted SeaWorld their permit to import this dolphin for “public display”.

As the permit is open until June 30th, 2017, SeaWorld could import Kirara at any time before that date. SeaWorld has estimated that her transport from Kamogawa Sea World to SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas will take approximately 22 hours. During this time, Kirara, like so many other whales and dolphins transported by the greedy captive industry, will be confined to a tiny, dark crate for the long and frightening trip via aircraft and truck.

Below is a graphic taken directly from SeaWorld’s permit application, depicting the method in which Kirara will be relocated. SeaWorld writes, “The animal will be transported under the direct supervision of the SeaWorld professional staff. A veterinarian will accompany the animal at all times during the move.” They then incorrectly state, “We have attached for your consideration an illustration of the transport unit which will be utilized to move this pilot whale.” The fact that the caring professionals at SeaWorld can’t even remember which species of dolphin they’re currently planning to transport for imprisonment is telling.

Kirara was born in captivity at Kamogawa Sea World, but her parents were taken from the wild. SeaWorld’s application states “the sire, CO9L0047, and the dam, CO9L0046, were collected from a set net procedure in the Kyoto Prefecture on 2-8-94 and 2-9-94 and transported to the Kinosaki Aquarium. They were transferred to Kamogawa Sea World on 11-8-94.” Kamogawa Sea World stresses that they were not caught in a drive fishery such as the brutal and infamous hunt in Taiji, but this indicates that they were intentionally taken for captivity. As we have previously stated, in Taiji, Pacific white-sided dolphins are no longer driven into the Cove like other species of dolphins, as they tend to throw themselves onto the rocks in their extreme fear and desperation to escape. They are now captured in nets beyond the Cove.

“Though Kirara was captive-born, by allowing this dolphin born of wild-caught parents to be imported by SeaWorld from Japan for captivity, the NOAA is supporting Japan’s continued capture and killing of dolphins. Sea Shepherd is outraged that this federal agency would stand behind Japan’s horrific treatment of intelligent, socially complex marine mammals, especially as the United States government has condemned Japan’s drive fisheries and illegal whale hunts,” said Sea Shepherd USA Administrative Director Susan Hartland.

CALL TO ACTION: Join Sea Shepherd in asking SeaWorld not to import Kirara for display at SeaWorld San Antonio. We must keep the pressure on and let SeaWorld know that the public stands against Japan’s cruel capture and slaughter of dolphins and the global captive industry’s ongoing financial support of these atrocities. SeaWorld and friends have enough blood on their hands.

Please use the contact information below to ask SeaWorld to halt plans to transport Kirara.

Brad F. Andrews
Chief Zoological Officer
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.
9205 South Park Circle, Suite 400
Orlando, FL 32819
Tel: (407) 226-5182

Office of Protected Resources (F/PR)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-427-8400
Fax: 301-713-0376


Jennifer Skidmore
Fisheries Management Specialist
Office of Protected Resources (F/PR)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301)427-8401
Fax: (301)713-0376

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