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'World's Loneliest Dolphin' Honey Dies After Being Abandoned In Marine Park For Two Years

'World's Loneliest Dolphin' Honey Dies After Being Abandoned In Marine Park For Two Years

Despite tremendous efforts of the US-based animal charity, the Dolphin Project which has been working towards protecting wild and captive dolphins worldwide since 1970, Honey and the other abandoned animals could not be rescued.

Image Source: Getty Images/Marianne Purdie (Representative)

Honey, who was dubbed as the world's loneliest dolphin, has tragically passed away in the same Japanese pool where she was abandoned. The mammal died alone after spending two years in a small pool at the Marine Park Aquarium in the city of Choshi, east of Tokyo, according to Daily Mail. Honey first made headlines worldwide after reports of her being abandoned in the aquarium with 46 penguins in January 2018. Along with hundreds of fishes and reptiles, the dolphin was left behind in the facility after its course owing to the decline of visitors following the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima nuclear crisis.



 

The abandoned animals were reportedly fed by an employee but were otherwise left to fend for themselves as they continued living in the same dirty water. The female bottlenose dolphin was captured in 2005 near Taiji, a western port town, that became notorious for its brutal annual dolphin hunt. This was featured in the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary The Cove and received heavy criticism for its practices following the release of the film. Her lifeless body was found on March 29, reports US-based animal charity the Dolphin Project. Despite tremendous efforts of the charity, which has been working towards protecting wild and captive dolphins worldwide since 1970, they were unable to rescue Honey and the other abandoned animals.



 

When the aquarium was sold to new owners in 2019, the organization tried to contact them, so Honey could be "retired in peace and dignity." Unfortunately, their discussion came to an end in March after it became evident that she was not going to survive. Even the International Marine Mammal Project, headquartered in Berkeley, California, USA, attempted to save the dolphin by trying to get a hold of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Switzerland, reports Science Times. However, the WAZA revealed that they could not intervene in the matter as the Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium was not one of their members and neither was it a part of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 



 

"Unfortunately, Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium is not one of our current members, and as an NGO (Non-governmental Organization) we are limited in our capacity to address welfare issues at non-member organizations.  We have, however, had contacted the regional association Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA); they are well aware and have tried for many months now to help and move the animals. As you know from the newspapers, the owners of the park are as yet untraceable/not available for contact.  Unfortunately, Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium is also not a member of the JAZA, which means we are limited in what WAZA and JAZA, and other members can do to help," said in 2018 WAZA in response according to the International Marine Mammal Project



 

Apparently, when the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums were contacted they claimed to be aware of the dolphin's situation but because the owners of the park were untraceable, it seemed almost impossible to save her. Although she could not be saved, Honey would forever remain the face of captured dolphins everywhere as the fight continues. "Honey is a symbol of both the problem of marine parks and Taiji's hunting practices. When we went to check on the facility, she was showing signs of stress, putting her head weakly in and out of the water," shared Akiko Mitsunobu, chief of aquarium issues for a local group Animal Rights Centre in October 2018. 



 

Meanwhile, a baby dolphin reportedly died after being overworked during the middle of her performance at a water park in Bulgaria. According to Btv Novinite, the dolphin was just nine days old when it passed away at the Varna Dolphinarium on August 21."There was a disturbance, the dolphins stopped playing and performing tricks," shared  Bisser Lyubenov, a member of the audience. 

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