1 day ago
After 20 years in captivity in South Korea, two captive dolphins named Geumdeung and Daepoin will soon be returning to their rightful home in the ocean. According to Dolphin Project, both are male Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins believed to be in their mid-twenties. Both dolphins were caught illegally by fishing nets near Jeju Island in 1997 and 1998, and were then used at various dolphin shows before being sent to Seoul Grand Park in 1999 and 2002.
The official announcement to confiscate, rehabilitate and release the dolphins was made by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation. The documentary "The Cove" heavily influenced the decision to try to release the dolphins— showing that documentaries such as "Blackfish", "Born to be Free", and "The Cove" have great influence not only on the public, but also on political figures.
This won't be the the first time South Korea has released captive dolphins back into the wild. In 2013 three captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins were rehabilitated and released back into the ocean after four years in captivity— two of the dolphins even went on to produce healthy calves once free! Hopefully Geumdeung and Daepo are good candidates for a full return to their native waters. More successful releases of captive cetaceans will offer both evidence and hope that captive whales and dolphins can be returned home, and that they can thrive if given the chance.
Source: Dolphin Project (@dolphin_project)