Mass Animal Deaths News StoriesExcerpts of Key Mass Animal Deaths News Stories in Major Media
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Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared. Recent research ... has uncovered similar trends across Europe. Flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years. Despite a government plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2020, sales in France have climbed steadily, reaching more than 75,000 tonnes of active ingredient in 2014, according to European Union figures. “What is really alarming, is that all the birds in an agricultural setting are declining at the same speed, even ’generalist’ birds,” which also thrive in other settings such as wooded areas, said [ecologist Vincent] Bretagnolle.
Note: A United Nations report recently noted that pesticides have produced “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, and condemned the pesticide industry for aggressively promoting lies about the usefulness of their products. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bee colonies have been dying off in high numbers, with suspicion falling on agricultural pesticides like herbicides and fungicides, as main factors behind the declines. Now, a new study out of the University of Maryland is the first to look at how a “cocktail” of all of various pesticides could be impacting bee colonies over time. “Our results fly in the face of one of the basic tenets of toxicology: that the dose makes the poison,” study senior author Dennis van Engelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, said. “We found that the number of different compounds was highly predictive of colony death, which suggests that the addition of more compounds somehow overwhelms the bees’ ability to detoxify themselves.” The study looked at 91 honey bee colonies that were owned by three migratory commercial beekeepers over one farming season. The research team examined 93 pesticide compounds that were found in the colonies throughout the season. These compounds were found building up in the bees’ wax in processed pollen, [as well as] in the bodies of nurse bees. The researchers ... measured three key things: the total number of pesticides, the total number of pesticides that were above a minimum level of toxicity, and each colony’s “hazard quotient,” which factors in the hazard posed by the total toxicity of all pesticides present in the colony. What did the researchers find? Unfortunately, all three measures corresponded with a higher probability of colony death or the loss of the queen bee.
Note: This study was published in Nature Scientific Reports, and found that some compounds regarded as "bee-safe" could be a major contributors to honey bee colony losses. Prior to this, neonicotinoid pesticides were found to be connected to colony collapse disorder. Bayer, a major manufacturer of this pesticide, attempted to cover up the connection between its products and the massive die off of bees.
The large-scale, long-term decline in wild bees across England has been linked to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by a new study. Over 18 years, researchers analysed bees who forage heavily on oilseed rape, a crop widely treated with "neonics". The scientists attribute half of the total decline in wild bees to the use of these chemicals. Several studies, conducted in the lab and in the field, have identified a negative effect on honey bees and bumble bees from the use of neonics. But few researchers have looked at the long term impacts of these substances. This new paper examined the impacts on populations of 62 species of wild bees across England over the period from 1994-2011. The team ... used distribution data on wild bees, excluding honey and bumblebees collected by the bees, ants and wasps recording scheme. They were able to compare the locations of these bees and their changing populations with growing patterns of oilseed rape across England over 18 years. The amount of this crop being sown has increased significantly over the period of the study, from around 500,000 hectares in 1994 to over 700,000 in 2011. A key innovation was the commercial licensing of neonicotinoid insecticides for the crop in the UK in 2002. Seeds are coated with the chemical and every part of the plant becomes toxic. The European Food Safety Authority is currently conducting a review of the scientific evidence about neonicotinoids. An EU-wide moratorium on their use was implemented in 2013 and is still in place.
Note: Bayer, a major manufacturer of this pesticide, attempted to cover up the connection between its products and the massive die off of bees. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A new study of male honeybees shows that two insecticides, banned in some European nations but still used in the United States, can significantly reduce the bees’ ability to reproduce. The study ... found that thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two chemicals from the neonicotinoid family of insecticides, reduce living sperm in male honeybees, called drones, by almost 40 percent. The effects of pesticides on honeybee populations are considered one culprit among several factors causing periodic declines. Neonicotinoids have been shown by other studies to harm the health of individual bees and the reproductive ability of female insects. The new study expanded on the dangers of the pesticides for males. The two neonicotinoids used in the study were banned in the European Union in 2013, but are used on an industrial scale in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency ... will release risk assessments for the two chemicals, as well as another neonicotinoid, dinotefuran, in December. A significant amount of the global food supply is made up of plants that require pollinators like bees to survive. Any widespread threat to bees also constitutes a greater ecological threat. Beekeepers in the United States lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies from April 2015 to April 2016, according to an annual survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership. The loss was 3.5 percent greater than that found from 2014 to 2015, when beekeepers lost 40.6 percent of colonies.
A lack of diversity in farming and a related over-reliance on pesticides have triggered a host of negative effects, including the decline of pollinators, such as butterflies and bees. Commercial beekeepers continue to report escalating losses of 42 percent or more, jeopardizing $30 billion in annual revenue and our health. A couple of years ago, [Jonathan] Lundgren - running a government lab, winning awards from both his agency and President Obama - occupied the right position to aid in this crisis. He says he was doing just that when the trouble started. In October, Lundgren filed a whistleblower suit alleging that he was disciplined to suppress his science. Nine additional USDA scientists have been ordered to retract studies and water-down findings, or have faced discipline in retaliation for their work. Three of those scientists, beyond Lundgren, were also working on pollinator-related research. This dynamic of government scientists claiming suppression extends across institutions. Such disputes show how complicated the intersection of government, science and industry can become when billions of dollars are at stake. Bee declines, says Lundgren, are not difficult to understand.
Note: Read an article showing how the USDA is often bought out by corporations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bumblebees exposed to common neonicotinoid pesticides may do a poorer job of pollinating crops such as apples, leading to poorer-quality fruit, a new Canadian-led study suggests. When apple trees were pollinated by bees exposed to those pesticides, commonly called neonics, the trees produced about a third fewer seeds. The number of seeds is generally linked to fruit quality in apples. "Bumblebees are essential pollinators of many important crops other than apples, including field beans, berries, tomatoes and oilseed rape," the researchers wrote in a paper published today in the journal Nature. "If exposure to pesticides alters pollination services to apple crops, it is likely that these other bee-pollinated crops would also be affected. Most importantly, the majority of wild plant species benefit from insect pollination services." The information suggests that using neonics has costs – to both production of other crops and wild ecosystems – that may not have previously been considered when weighing the costs against the benefits of using the pesticides. Many studies have shown that exposure to neonics has a negative impact on the behavior and reproduction of bees. That has prompted restrictions on neonics in some places, such as Europe and Ontario. The study ... only looks at the effects on bumblebees. Neonics are also known to have more severe effects on many wild bees. For the production of crops where wild bees are important ... the effects may be more severe than seen in the results of this study.
Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been implicated in colony collapse disorder. Bayer, a major manufacturer of this pesticide, attempted to cover up the connection between its products and the massive die off of bees.
A groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. â€śWe may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,â€ť said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. There is still time to avert catastrophe. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and [an] author of the new report [said], â€śThe impacts are accelerating, but theyâ€™re not so bad we canâ€™t reverse them.â€ť Humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree. Carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic. â€śIf you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,â€ť Dr. Pinsky said. â€śIn effect, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing to the oceans." Mining operations, too, are poised to transform the ocean. Contracts for seabed mining now cover 460,000 square miles underwater, the researchers found, up from zero in 2000. Limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover, [but] slowing extinctions in the oceans will [ultimately] mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.
Note: Ocean acidification was the number one story subjected to press censorship in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.
Mass die-offs are individual events that kill at least a billion animals, wipe out over 90 percent of a population, or destroy 700 million tons—the equivalent weight of roughly 1,900 Empire State Buildings—worth of animals. According to new research, such die-offs are on the rise. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to examine whether mass die-offs have increased over time. Researchers reviewed historical records of 727 mass die-offs from 1940 to 2012 and found that over that time, these events have become more common for birds, marine invertebrates, and fish. Disease, human-caused disturbances, and biotoxins ... are three major culprits. Big die-offs can permanently change food webs. Massive die-offs can also endanger human activities like farming by disrupting insects that pollinate plants, like bees. "Such events can reshape the ecological and evolutionary trajectories of life on Earth," the study authors write. It's unclear what's making diseases more common. Climate change and environmental degradation are some contenders. Researchers also don't know why die-off rates differ between animal groups. What's clear is that lack of coordinated attention from scientists is a problem, the study authors say. There needs to be better monitoring of these events.
Note: A combination of GMO crops and common pesticides was reported by Reuters to cause mass honeybee deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.
The mysterious vanishing of honeybees from hives can be directly linked to insectcide use, according to new research from Harvard University. The scientists showed that exposure to two neonicotinoids, the world's most widely used class of insecticide, lead to half the colonies studied dying, while none of the untreated colonies saw their bees disappear. "We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering 'colony collapse disorder' [CCD] in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter," said Chensheng Lu, an expert on environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health [who led the study]. The loss of honeybees in many countries in the last decade has caused widespread concern because about three-quarters of the world's food crops require pollination. The decline has been linked to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use. In December 2013, the European Union banned the use of three neonicotinoids for two years. In the new Harvard study, published in the Bulletin of Insectology, the scientists studied the health of 18 bee colonies in three locations in central Massachusetts from October 2012 till April 2013. At each location, two colonies were treated with realistic doses of imidacloprid, two with clothianidin, and two were untreated control hives. "Bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had abandoned their hives and were eventually dead with symptoms resembling CCD," the team wrote. "However, we observed a complete opposite phenomenon in the control colonies."
Note: For more on mass deaths of many species of animal, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
One of North America’s most dazzling natural phenomena, the annual winter migration to central Mexico by millions of monarch butterflies from the northern United States and Canada, has shrunk to record lows and is in danger of ending. The monarch migration has been documented in books and movies and attracts thousands of tourists to a nature preserve about 100 miles west of Mexico City. The black-and-orange butterflies hang from the trees there like shaggy beards. In the 20 years since environmentalists began keeping detailed records of the monarch’s winter habitats, the butterflies have covered as much as 45 acres of forest in the Mexican state of Michoacan. But the most recent winter count showed how far the migrating monarch population has fallen: As of December, they blanketed just 1.6 acres of forest, the smallest area yet. The butterflies face numerous threats across North America. In Michoacan, illegal logging has cut into their winter habitat in the oyamel fir trees, although government conservation efforts have slowed the rate of deforestation. In the United States and Canada, herbicides used in industrial-scale farming have destroyed the milkweed plants where they lay their eggs. Omar Vidal, the director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico office, said he wants North American leaders to agree on a plan to protect the monarch, saying the migration “symbolically unites our three countries.”
Note: For more on mass animal deaths, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Navy training and testing could inadvertently kill hundreds of whales and dolphins and injure thousands over the next five years, mostly as a result of detonating explosives underwater, according to two environmental impact statements released by the military [on August 30]. The Navy said that the studies focused on waters off the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Hawaii from 2014 through 2019, the main areas that the service branch tests equipment and trains sailors. Most of the deaths would come from explosives, though some might come from testing sonar or animals being hit by ships. According to the reports, computer models show it may kill 186 whales and dolphins off the East Coast and 155 off Hawaii and Southern California. But Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the Navy was underestimating the effect its activities on marine mammals. For example, he pointed to a study by government and private sector scientists published just last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society showing mid-frequency active sonar can disrupt blue whale feeding. The study says feeding disruptions and the movement of whales away from their prey could significantly affect the health of individual whales and the overall health of baleen whale populations. Jasny said the Navy's ocean activities are "simply not sustainable." "These smaller disruptions short of death are themselves accumulating into something like death for species and death for populations," Jasny said.
Note: For more on the impacts of Navy operations on marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Worldwide bee population decline has motivated recent action by governments and activists. On April 29, the European Union announced a two-year suspension of three neonicotinoid insecticides, or "neonics," that pose "high acute risk" to bees. The ban was demanded in a large campaign by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental groups, along with more than 2.5 million people who signed a petition in support. On July 16, the EU added fipronil, another pesticide linked to bee kills, to the list of restricted chemicals. The province of Ontario has recently banned some pesticides. Oregon temporarily banned dinotefuran, a neonic, after 50,000 bumblebees died when ornamental trees were sprayed with the chemical. And corporate accountability group SumOfUs is raising funds to send beekeepers to a conference for garden-store owners. They'll ask the store owners not to stock pesticides that kill bees. Other bee protectors are using the legal system. Four beekeepers, along with the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Environmental Health, filed a lawsuit on March 21. They're charging the EPA with failing to protect honeybees from clothianidin and thiamethoxam, two of the neonics included in the EU ban. "America's beekeepers cannot survive for long with the toxic environment EPA has supported," said Steve Ellis, one of the beekeepers bringing the lawsuit. "It's time for the EPA to recognize the value of bees to our food system and agricultural economy."
Note: For more on mass deaths of bees and other animals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Honeybees are very useful to human beings, and species that are very useful to us—think domesticated animals and pets—tend to do OK in the increasingly human-dominated world we call the Anthropocene. But other wild species aren’t so lucky—and that includes the thousands of species of wild bees and other non-domesticated pollinators. Bumblebees have experienced recent and rapid population loss in the U.S., punctuated by a mass pesticide poisoning in Oregon this past June that led to the deaths of some 50,000 bumblebees. A 2006 report by the National Academies of Science concluded that the populations of many other wild pollinators—especially wild bees—was trending “demonstrably downward.” The threats are much the same ones faced by managed honeybees: pesticides, lack of wild forage, parasites and disease. The difference is that there are thousands of human beings who make it their business to care for and prop up the populations of honeybees. No one is doing the same thing for wild bees. “You don’t hear about the decline of hundreds of species of wild bees,” says Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. That’s meant almost literally—we don’t hear them anymore. The plight of the bees illustrates our outsized influence on the this planet as we reshape it—consciously and not—to meet our immediate needs. But just because we have this power doesn’t mean we fully understand it, or our impact on our own world. We are a species that increasingly has omnipotence without omniscience. That’s a dangerous combination for the animals and plants that share this planet with us. And eventually, it will be dangerous for us, too.
Note: For more on mysterious mass deaths of animals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Federal wildlife officials raised a formal alarm on [August 8] over the deaths of scores of bottlenose dolphins in waters off the east coast, saying that a fast-spreading infection could be attacking dolphin populations from New York to Virginia. At least 124 of the mammals have washed onto beaches since July, all of them dead or dying, a spokeswoman for the National Marine Fisheries Service said. The agency, which is responsible for monitoring and protecting marine mammals, declared the deaths to be an “unusual mortality event,” opening the way for federal help in finding the cause. In July alone, 89 dolphins were beached, seven times the usual number. Tests on one dolphin carcass have uncovered possible signs of morbillivirus, an infection similar to canine distemper that ravaged East Coast dolphins over a 10-month span in 1987 and 1988. More than 700 dolphins were stranded from New Jersey to Florida during that outbreak, one of the worst on record. But news reports state that other dolphins stranded this summer had pneumonia, and officials said that it could take weeks to pin down the precise cause, if one is found. Unusual mortality events are declared when a marine mammal die-off is judged unexpected, large and in need of immediate attention. Investigators have failed to find a cause of death in roughly half the 60 mortality events declared since the first one in 1991. There are undoubtedly more dead or sick animals at sea that have gone undetected, officials said. The bulk of the deaths, at least 64, have occurred off the coast of Virginia. At least 18 strandings have been recorded in New York waters and 26 off New Jersey.
Note: For additional details about the mysterious deaths of dolphins, manatees and pelicans on the East Coast, click here. For more on mysterious mass deaths of animals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A mysterious mass death of a herd of cattle has prompted a federal investigation in Central Texas. Preliminary test results are blaming the deaths on the grass the cows were eating when they got sick. The cows dropped dead several weeks ago on an 80-acre ranch owned by Jerry Abel in Elgin, just east of Austin. Abel says he's been using the fields for cattle grazing and hay for 15 years. "A lot of leaf, it's good grass, tested high for protein - it should have been perfect," he [said]. The grass is a hybrid form of Bermuda known as Tifton 85 which has been growing here for 15 years, feeding Abel's 18 head of Corriente cattle. Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle. Other farmers have tested their Tifton 85 grass, and several in Bastrop County have found their fields are also toxic with cyanide.
Late last year, fishermen began finding dead dolphins, hundreds of them, washed up on Peru’s northern coast. Now, seabirds have begun dying, too, and the government has yet to conclusively pinpoint a cause. Officials insist that the two die-offs are unrelated. The dolphins are succumbing to a virus, they suggest, and the seabirds are dying of starvation because anchovies are in short supply. There is growing suspicion among the public and scientists that there might be more to the story. Some argue that offshore oil exploration could be disturbing wildlife, for example, and others fear that biotoxins or pesticides might be working their way up the food chain. At least 877 dolphins and more than 1,500 birds, most of them brown pelicans and boobies, have died since the government began tracking the deaths in February, the Environment Ministry said last week. The dolphins, many of which appeared to have decomposed in the ocean before washing ashore, were found in the Piura and Lambayeque regions, not far from the border with Ecuador. The seabirds, which seem mostly to have died onshore, have been found from Lambayeque to Lima. In offshore seismic testing, ships tow arrays of air guns that release high-pressure air under water, producing sound waves that can be analyzed to locate oil and gas deposits deep under the ocean floor.
Note: A San Francisco Chronicle article on this states, "All of the 20 or so animals ... examined showed middle-ear hemorrhage and fracture of the ear's periotic bone. ... Most of the dolphins apparently were alive when they beached." Clearly sonic blasts of some sort are driving these intelligent animals to beach themselves and commit suicide. For clear evidence that this is the result of oil exploration, click here. For lots more from major media sources on the threats to marine mammals from human activities, click here. And for more on the mysterious mass animal deaths occurring worldwide, click here.
Thousands of migrating birds, apparently mistaking parking lots for ponds, crashed into the ground throughout southern Utah this week. Thousands of the birds were killed [and] officials said they had rescued more than 2,000 as of Tuesday evening. Wildlife officials said the grebes ... were likely migrating toward Mexico and probably mistook the parking lot of a Cedar City Walmart and other areas as far south as Anderson's Junction for bodies of water. Thinking they were landing to rest atop a pond or lake, the grebes plummeted to the ground Monday night. "The storm clouds over the top of the city lights made it look like a nice, flat body of water. All the conditions were right," Griffin said. "So the birds landed to rest, but ended up slamming into the pavement." Griffin said the event was unlike anything she had seen before in her professional career. "I've been here 15 years and this was the worst downing I've seen," she said. "Most of the downings I've seen have been pretty localized, but this was very widespread." Cedar City resident Stephen Gwin was among the volunteers who helped DWR officials gather the surviving birds. "I have never in my life encountered such a thing," he said. "I've heard of fish die-offs and other strange natural phenomenon, but I've never experienced one before. It was very strange."
Note: Do birds really mistake parking lots for ponds? Could a more likely explanation be that someone is messing with HAARP technologies? Perhaps some kind of experiment was conducted to see if they could successfully disorient and kill large numbers of birds, as may have happened in other very strange incidents about a year ago. Other mass wildlife deaths are reported here.
A virus has killed millions of crickets raised to feed pet reptiles and those kept in zoos. The cricket paralysis virus has disrupted supplies to pet shops across North America as a handful of operators have seen millions of their insects killed. Some operations have gone bankrupt and others have closed indefinitely until they can rid their facilities of the virus. Cricket farms started in the 1940s as a source of fish bait, but the bulk of sales now are to pet supply companies, reptile owners and zoos, although people also eat some. Most U.S. farms are in the South, but suppliers from Pennsylvania to California also raise crickets. The virus had swept through European cricket farms in 2002. It was first noticed in 2009 in the U.S. and Canada. The virus marks the latest in a recent series of mass animal deaths. Blackbirds fell out of the sky on New Year's Eve in Arkansas. In the days that followed, 2 million fish died in the Chesapeake Bay, 150 tons of red tilapia in Vietnam, 40,000 crabs in Britain and other places across the world. In the past eight months, the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center has logged 95 mass wildlife die-offs in North America and that's probably a dramatic undercount, officials say.
Note: Could some of these die-offs be the result of secret experiments like those conducted by the government's bioweapons labs or by the secretive HAARP program? For reliable information on the disturbing HAARP program, click here.
Some 500 dead and dying birds fell onto a Louisiana highway on Monday, just three days after a similar incident in Arkansas. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries [said] that necropsies on some birds indicated many "exhibited traumatic injuries." Two dozen of them had head, neck, beak or back injuries. In Arkansas, preliminary tests showed the blackbirds there, as many as 5,000, died after massive trauma. "The birds suffered from acute physical trauma leading to internal hemorrhage and death," the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said in a statement. "There was no sign of chronic or infectious disease." The injuries were primarily in the breast tissue, with blood clotting and bleeding in the body cavities. Dr. George Badley, the state's top veterinarian, told NBC News that the birds died in midair, not on impact with the ground. That evidence, and the fact that the blackbirds fly in close flocks, suggests they suffered some massive midair collision, he added. That lends weight to conclusion that they were startled by something. The commission noted that "loud noises were reported shortly before the birds began to fall from the sky," adding that blackbirds seldom fly at night. The commission also is trying to determine what caused the deaths of up to 100,000 fish over a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near a dam in Ozark , 125 miles west of Beebe. The fish were discovered on Dec. 30.
Note: Startling does not cause internal hemorrhage and massive trauma. The birds "suffered from acute physical trauma" and "died in midair." This sounds like a secret experiment from the government's HAARP program might be involved. For reliable information on the disturbing HAARP program, click here.
Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos discusses his new documentary, "The Cove", a shocking and moving account of dolphin abuse off the coast of Taijii, Japan. Psihoyos and his team painstakingly documented a thriving operation that captures dolphins, the healthiest and handsomest of which are sold to aquariums worldwide. The rest are slaughtered, often ending up as food for human consumption, despite high mercury levels. Going into the village of Taijii, Psihoyos tells Fresh Air, is "like walking into a Stephen King novel." There's lots of visible marketing — statues, murals— proclaiming the town's love of dolphins. "The whole town was built around loving dolphins and whales. And then in the middle of town, is this national park that even Japanese people can't go in. Big tall fences, steel spikes on the gates, razor ribbon, barbed wire, a series of tunnels to get through on one side to get there — it was like a fortress. And Ric said, 'That's where this all happens' — in this national park.' " "Ric" is Ric O'Barry — a former dolphin trainer responsible for teaching the dolphins of TV's Flipper their tricks. He has devoted years to rescuing the intelligent mammals he once helped capture. "I get more upset with the dolphin trainers I see there than the fishermen," O'Barry tells Terry Gross. Japanese fishermen, he explains, think of dolphins as being in the same category as fish — not least, O'Barry says, because the Japanese character for "whale" translates literally into "monster fish." "But the dolphin trainers, who are there working side by side with them, look [the dolphins] in the eye every day," O'Barry says. "They give them names. They spend time with them. They know they're self-aware."
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.