Mittwoch, 20. September 2017

  • Pressemitteilung BoxID 341058

Back to the Blue - Dream Come True

International Efforts Successfully Return Captive Dolphins to the Wild

Horsham, (lifePR) - Three months after their release, Tom and Misha, two captive dolphins rescued from certain death in a filthy swimming pool in Hisaronu, are successfully adapting to life back in the wild. The Back To The Blue team made up of experts from the USA, Turkey and the UK, undertook twenty months of intensive rehabilitation, organised and funded by international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation, ultimately transforming Tom and Misha from lethargic dependent 'captives' who were close to death, into effective independent wild animals. "Tom and Misha's success in re-adapting to life back in the wild clearly illustrates that rehabilitation can work. By breaking down the concrete walls of their tanks and the mental barriers created by years in captivity and, literally, by showing them the way, Tom and Misha have demonstrated that dolphins can regain their freedom" said Will Travers OBE, CEO of the Born Free Foundation. Mr Travers continued "Ultimately, however, it is unlikely that this will work for all captive dolphins; many may have just had too many years locked away; and, of course, it's an expensive process. Nevertheless, as concerns grow about the keeping of cetacea in captivity, Tom and Misha's transformation and release clearly illustrates that these animals possess innate natural behaviours that captivity cannot extinguish."

While Tom and Misha have become the poster boys for freedom, the Born Free Foundation and NGOs around the world continue to campaign for an end to the commercial exploitation of dolphins in captivity, an increasingly controversial entertainment business built on deprivation. Jeff Foster, the marine mammal expert who headed up Tom and Misha's rehabilitation programme, and who previously led projects to return the orca 'Keiko' to the wild and also reunite 'Springer' with her wild orca family, believes that 90 days of freedom confirms Back to the Blue is a success,

"This has been a ground-breaking project and I admire the Born Free Foundation for stepping up to this challenge and taking it on and also for adopting such a responsible approach. The very high levels of experience brought to this project by members of the team meant that the individual needs - physical and psychological - of each animal could be addressed and each new challenge overcome. You can never predict what will happen next." Not only did the summer of 2012 see Tom and Misha return home, it also saw the spotlight turn on captive dolphins in Spain. A new campaign, 'SOS Delfines', launched by Spanish NGO FAADA in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, calls on the Spanish Government to cease circus-style shows involving dolphins and phase-out dolphinariums. The 'SOS Delfines' campaign objective is supported by research showing that 9 out of 10 Spanish citizens would back a ban on the keeping of dolphins in captivity. This follows the publication earlier this year of the EU Zoo Inquiry Report on Dolphinariums which clearly illustrated that all 34 captive dolphin facilities in the European Union fail to comply with the legal requirements of the EC Zoos Directive 1999/22. Back to the Blue has been an important learning process and the Born Free Foundation will be publishing a detailed report in due course. The Foundation believes that the 'Freedom Manual', will provide a blue-print which will allow others to transform captive dolphins into wild dolphins in the future.

The Satellite and VHF tracking devices attached to Tom and Misha have expired and after three months in the wild the dolphins have proved that they have the essential survival techniques needed to thrive in their natural underwater world. Virginia McKenna OBE, the Founder of the Born Free Foundation, concluded, "When Tom and Misha left their pen and swam back to the blue all those weeks ago, it confirmed my incredulity at our schizophrenic attitude to captive cetacea. The Born Free Foundation, supported by Helen Worth and Donal MacIntyre, alongside our wonderful rehab team and Dolphin Angels (the local group who spear-headed the campaign for Tom and Misha's freedom in Turkey) knew we had to act to rescue the dolphins from certain death in a filthy swimming pool. We all cried tears of joy when we saw them finally swim away. Yet countless people continue to be taken in by the captive dolphin's smile, unaware of the price these animals are forced to pay for our so-called entertainment or the suffering caused when they are caught from the wild."

Captive Dolphins:

There are at least 19 different species of cetacean currently held in captivity around the world, including over 800 bottlenose dolphins. Studies into the effects of captivity on dolphins implies that confinement is detrimental to their welfare. Dolphins are very intelligent, self-aware animals. The stress of confinement often results in behavioural abnormalities, illness, lowered disease resistance and premature death. For more information on captivity visit

EU Inquiry: EU Dolphinaria:

Findings of The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011, the most comprehensive investigation into the licensing and performance of zoos across the EU, has revealed the systemic failure of governments, competent authorities and enforcement agencies to ensure that European zoos meet their legal obligations to species conservation, education and animal welfare. Dolphinaria across the EU are not meeting these obligations and captive cetaceans are suffering from inadequate living conditions, harsh training regimes and premature mortality. More information at

Spanish Campaign: SOS Delfines:

Initiated by the Spanish NGO, FAADA and supported by the Born Free Foundation and others, the campaign hopes to collect a million signatures to call on the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment to respect public opinion and phase-out of the keeping of dolphins in captivity. More information at

Born Free Foundation

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.

Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit:

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