A captive dolphin – branded the loneliest in the world – has died while living alone in a tank, according to advocacy organization Dolphin Project.
Honey, a bottlenose dolphin, was captured in Taiji’s infamously bloody hunts in 2005 along with 46 penguins, and hundreds of fish and reptiles.
The animals were kept in captivity in Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium in the city of Choshi, just east of Tokyo.
By January 2018, the facility closed – with the owners all but abandoning the animals who were fed by a paid employee, but otherwise left alone in conditions described by animal rights charity PETA as ‘increasingly miserable and life-threatening’.
According to PETA: “In the wild, dolphins swim vast distances with their families, playing and exploring new territory together. But for Honey, life is spent floating listlessly all day long.
“She is kept all alone and is said to be engaging in repetitive, compulsive actions known as stereotypic behavior – a sign of the severe distress caused by captivity.”
Dolphin Project made many attempts to rehome Honey – who was kept isolated in a tank – and the other animals who had been abandoned by the park.
According to the organization: “In November 2018, according to a well-informed source, the aquarium was in debt and seeking a buyer. The following year in 2019, we learned that the aquarium had indeed been sold, and along with it, Honey.
“The sale of the park was confirmed by the Kaisou Health Center, which managed the health of the animals at Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium.”
Dolphin Rescue tried yet again to buy Honey in February of this year, in an attempt to home her somewhere where she could retire ‘in peace and dignity’.
The organization says: “These conversations ended in early March when it became apparent Honey was unlikely to survive. Later that month on March 29, Honey died in her tank.”
You can find out more about Dolphin Project and its advocacy work here