After becoming entangled in a fishing net off the coast of Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefrecture in Japan, a wounded and exhausted young dolphin was taken to Umitamago Aquarium, also known as Oita Marine Palace Aquarium. The dolphin did not have the energy to keep itself afloat and after a couple of days of holding the dolphin to make sure it didn’t sink, the aquarium staff were also worn out. This is when aquarium vets got the clever idea of fashioning a dolphin lifejacket shown below.
This is where the story gets less cute. According to this Reuters article, the aquarium intends to keep their newest arrival and conduct research on her in collaboration with the Institute of Cetacean Research. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ICR, this is the organization that was established to get around the whaling moratorium under the auspices of “research.” After 18 years of killing whales the organization has published only 43 papers, a staggeringly low number for a government funded organization, and much of the research has been totally bizarre. One of the better known useless experiments involved injecting dead minke sperm into cow and pig eggs to see if anything would happen. Sounds like something my friend Raja and I would have done in 2nd grade, had we had better access to whale sperm and cow eggs.
Hopefully the Japanese public will keep a close eye on their new captive lest the Joseph Mengele wannabes at the ICR experiment on combining the dolphin with cucumber, avocado and wasabi.
You can read more about the first “cute” half of the story here. Thanks to Liz Carter for bringing this to our attention.