The plot thickens as dolphin dealer holding dolphins in filthy swimming pool, allegedly attacks Animal Planet/The Cove’s Richard O’Barry (above).
Even environmental and animal welfare activists are not immune from attacks by Egyptian thugs. According to the Earth Island Institute’s Facebook page, The Cove’s Richard O’Barry was “attacked by [Egyptian] thugs” in Egypt’s Red Sea resort town of Hurghada. The attack comes as O’Barry continues efforts to save dolphins in the country, which were transported to the small resort city in order to be part of a planned dolphinarium. When O’Barry arrived in Egypt earlier this month, dolphins were being kept in a small swimming pool in the town.
He is in Egypt to help bring about a compromise between the government, the dolphin owners and the Hurghada Environmental Protection Agency (Hepca), which has called for the dolphins to be treated with respect and care.
According to the Facebook account, O’Barry had his car door opened and the alleged assailants attempted to put a pit bull into the vehicle. O’Barry was not injured in the attack.
O’Barry, 70, who also starred in “Blood Dolphins” for the Animal Planet, was unavailable for comment when Bikya Masr attempted to contact him on Thursday morning.
One Hurghada police official told Bikya Masr that they were “doing everything in our power to find out what happened.”
The Facebook report of the incident made it clear that they believe the attack was hired by the Hurghada dolphin dealer.
The dolphins, according to leading Egyptian animal activist Dina Zulfikar and the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), have been held in Egypt since August 17 in the private villa in Hurghada. They are allegedly from the infamous “Cove” in Taiji, made known through O’Barry’s efforts on the Academy Award winning documentary.
The Bottlenose dolphins are to be the new attractions at a dolphinarium in Sahl Hashish in Hurghada. Leading the campaign to house the dolphins for visitors viewing are hotel owners in the area. None of the four 5-star hotels Bikya Masr contacted on Friday returned phone calls. One assistant manager did say that “the dolphins are a part of the tourism industry and will be well kept and treated well.”
“There are serious conservation and welfare concerns associated with the capture of dolphins in drive hunts and other live capture operations and their export overseas for display in dolphinaria. These dolphins should never have come to Egypt. Due to a serious lack of regulations, these animals are now doomed to live a life of imprisonment,” HEPCA said in its call to obtain signatures in the campaign to end the dolphin transfer.
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