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TCA Press Tour: 'The Cove's' Ric O'Barry knows his work isn't done

August 6, 2010 | 11:43 am


Ric O’Barry is returning to "The Cove."

The star of the Academy Award-winning documentary is continuing the effort to expose the plight of dolphins who are subjected to a brutal world of captivity and oftentimes wind up slaughtered for their meat.

O'Barry and his filmmaker son, Lincoln, are set to premiere "Blood Dolphins," a three-part miniseries on Animal Planet.

Ric O’Barry said he hopes the show not only shows the brutality of the trade but paints a portrait of the people behind it. 

"We’re hoping 'Blood Dolphins' is going to change everything. It's going to be a game-changer," he said. "There is no point in saving the dolphins without saving their habitat."

In the series, which premieres Aug. 27, the O'Berrys return to Taiji, Japan (the same setting as "The Cove"), the epicenter of the annual slaughter of approximately 20,000 dolphins. The father-and-son team, along with a crew, go back to see if the critical acclaim for the film had any impact on the six-month hunting season. It hasn’t. 

Dolphins are one of America's most beloved animals, according to a survey conducted by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The survey found that the more people interact with dolphins and see them in aquariums, parks and zoos, the more people learn about their importance. However, the O’Barrys believe that dolphins should always be free and should not be confined in order to entertain or educate the general public.

"It makes you ask, where do these animals come from," Lincoln O'Barry said. "They didn’t just magically appear in the aquarium. We are showing where they come from."

Ric, who is best known for his work on the 1960s TV show “Flipper,” said he hopes that seeing the show will make people think twice before buying tickets to see dolphins.

"We have been brainwashed by this society to think dolphins belong in a concrete tank doing tricks for us," he said. "Flipper was a blood dolphin."

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Ric and Lincoln O' Barry. Credit: Animal Planet