The Cove Timeline
Learn about the series of events that have brought the issue of dolphins in captivity to the forefront of news, media and activism.
- Ric O’Barry captures and trains dolphins for television show, Flipper.
- Flipper commits suicide. Ric O’Barry realizes dolphins shouldn’t be held in captivity. On Earth Day, he attempts to release captive dolphins into the wild but is arrested. He becomes an activist for dolphins and whales in captivity.
- Ric O'Barry forms DolphinProject.net.
- At a conference in San Francisco, Ric O’Barry hears about the dolphin drive hunt that happens in the Taiji, Japan cove for the first time.
- Ric O’Barry witnesses the dolphin slaughter in Taiji for the first time.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 1,537. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 139.*
2003 - 2008
Ric O’Barry visits Taiji yearly to document the dolphin slaughter in hopes to bring attention to the now infamous Cove.
- Ric O’Barry is joined by the Oceanic Preservation Society to capture footage in the cove multiple times over the course of the year. The footage is composed into a documentary film: The Cove.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 1,402. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 93.
- The Cove wins the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.
- The Cove is released in theaters.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 1,122. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 139.
- The Cove wins an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Ric O’Barry holds up “Text DOLPHIN to 77177” sign at Oscars and over 200,000 viewers respond to his call-to-action.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 503. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 59.
- Over 2 million petition signatures delivered against the dolphin slaughter.
- In March Taiji activists distributed DVDs, dubbed in Japanese, to all 3,500 residents of Taiji.
- The Mayor in Taiji calls a meeting to discuss the slaughter. Hundreds of press show up, but Ric O’Barry finds out that it’s going to be a sham. Instead, he leads journalists out to the cove in protest.
- First time, dolphins are released from Taiji’s cove before they’re slaughtered.
- In December Ric O’Barry lights the Empire State Building red to remind the world of the dolphin slaughter.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 705. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 68.
- Taiji Dolphin Amusement Park breaks ground and will eventually hold over 100 captive dolphins.
Mix Martial Artist Enson Inoue convinces the mayor of Taiji to upgrade the living conditions for 2 dolphins "Sad & Lonely". They were living in what may have been the world smallest dolphin enclosure at the Taiji Whale Museum.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 1,032. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 68.
- 250 dolphins captured in the cove, one of whom is “Angel” an albino dolphin. Angel becomes a new rallying point for the movement.
- Satoshi Komiyama and a record number of Japanese activists take a stand against the slaughter.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 1,032. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 167.
- Over 1 million people sign the petition calling for an end to the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
- Ric O'Barry delivers the petition signatures to The White House, and a special event projecting 1 million names in Washington DC takes place.
- Number of Dolphins Killed in the Cove: 652. Number of Dolphins in Captivity: 117.
Concerns for the future
- Dolphin drive hunting season in Taiji, Japan begins anew on September 1st each year.
- We must stop the dolphin slaughter, and be aware that as the killing declines captivity around the world goes up.