Demand Action Against Dolphin Slaughter in the Solomon Islands

Target: John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)

Goal: End the commercial hunting and sale of dolphins in the Solomon Islands

An ongoing dispute between the Earth Island Institute and villagers in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean has resulted in the death of 900 dolphins.  The slaughter comes as a huge blow to the efforts of the Berkeley-based Earth Island Institute to work with local communities to curb the hunting and sale of dolphins around the islands.  Whether it is the work of a “renegade group of villagers” or the failure to provide development funds by the Earth Island Institute, the massacre is a call to action for justice for these animals and the creation of a sustainable path for their continued protection and conservation.

The Solomon Islands have long been the target of conservationists for the hunting and export of the dolphins that live in the surrounding waters to places like China and Dubai.  Dolphin hunting has been practiced by native villagers on the islands for years.  Villagers will drive dolphins together using boats, disorient them using stones and then drive the animals into the bay where they are more easily hunted.  The captured cetaceans are then either sold locally, where their meat and teeth are used by villagers for food and currency, or sold to other countries who will pay around $150,000 for one of the creatures.  The Earth Island Institute has been trying to work with local communities to stop dolphin hunting by investing in income-generating projects.

Some villagers claim that the Earth Island Institute has failed to provide the money it promised to these communities, forcing them to engage in the lucrative hunting of dolphins.  The Earth Island Institute claims that money that was promised to be distributed for local initiatives has been seized by a renegade group of villagers who may be responsible for the recent attack.  In 2005, dolphin hunting was banned in the Solomon Islands, but that decision was overturned by a court in 2007.  The result is a political and legal conundrum that has resulted in the death of hundreds of these animals.

It is time for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) to draw a clear line on the issue and propose a solution that respects the wishes of the communities, conservationists and animals who all have a stake in the matter.  The Earth Island Institute must be more responsible in their commitment to and distribution of funds to the island dwellers.  If these communities see dolphin hunting as the most economically viable option, they will not stop.  But the individuals who continue to kill and trap the animals must be held accountable and punished.  The CITES must take the lead role in negotiating a deal and making sure that another massacre like this does not occur.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. John Scanlon,

Nine hundred dolphins are dead in the Solomon Islands as a result of a lack of a clear message on the preservation of the cetaceans that surround the islands.  The Earth Island Institute has been working with village communities on the islands to try to curb the dolphin trapping and hunting industry that has seen these innocent creatures mercilessly killed and shipped across the world.  The Solomon Islands have been a source of dolphins for countries like China and Dubai who will pay up to $150,000 and some villagers on the island hunt the dolphins for their meat.  A 2005 ruling outlawed dolphin hunting on the island but it was overturned in 2007, leaving the fate of these creatures in legal limbo.

In light of the recent dispute, some villagers say that the Earth Island Institute hasn’t paid the money they committed for local income-generating projects.  The Earth Island Institute claims that the money has been snatched up by renegades who they think may be responsible for the latest horrific slaughter.  Whoever may be at fault, you cannot let these dolphins continue to die.  Please take the lead in mediating an agreement that honors both the Earth Island Institute’s continued noble efforts to conserve the animals and the villagers desire to see other economic opportunities open up in exchange for their cooperation in stopping dolphin hunting.  The Earth Island Institute must be more accountable for their funding, but those responsible for the slaughter of the dolphins should be sent a clear message that their actions are not acceptable.  Please work with the legal bodies of the Solomon Islands to ensure that a sustainable solution is reached.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photograph: Robin Moore/NGS/Corbis

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14 Comments

  1. Beverley Ancuta says:

    I’m shocked! In Switzerland?? Disgusting

  2. We are all interconnected. When we kill the dolphins we kill ourselves

    • Mercedes Martell says:

      Agree. When an earthquake is about to take place, animals like dogs are the first to sense. We are not here to kill everything around us and much less for stupidities like using a Rhino’s horn for cursi and abominable decorations. We were given knowledge. We are born to know better and that knowledge carries responsibility. It carries a responsibility to protect those around us not to maim and bleed out other animals for fun.

  3. You will answer for what you have done and are doing. That’s just the way it is. There are good people like the ones petitioning and there are bad people like the ones who can’t think of anything but themselves.

  4. Janice Sprow says:

    It is hard to accept anytime people kill or harm innocent animals. Dolphins are beautiful, friendly, intelligent animals who should never be killed. Please stop this horrible slaughter. Take a stand to protect animals.

  5. The human race is the worst on earth.

  6. In the story, “A Christmas Carol”, Jacob Marley said that the chain you forge in life you will carry with you throughout eternity. I believe this will be so for those who cruelly and unnecessarily torture and kill animals, they will be building their chain one link at a time.

  7. hilda storey says:

    It’s unconscionable that these intelligent, wonderful animals can’t live in peace and contentment. Get a grip and stop this mindless slaughter yesterday! NOW

  8. Will animal cruelty ever end. I so hope the people who are cruel to our lovely animals suffer. We should be testing drugs etc on these cruel people.

  9. What does this say abut us as humans? These dolphins died because people are ignorance and greed.

  10. Silvia Helena Camargo says:

    É preciso deixar a natureza seguir seu caminho. Os Golfinhos são criaturinhas alegres que não fazem mal à ninguém. Deixem os Golfinhos viverem suas vidas no mar, em paz.

  11. Cheryl Murray says:

    stop the killing!!!!!

  12. Myrna Burdick says:

    I would assume that the people of these islands have limited resources to make money. But if the money to
    develop resources was given and taken by a renagade
    group, it is clear that this renagade group are the ones causing the problem. The dolphins are not the problem but they pay with their lives or are sold into slavery to entertain the rich and affluent.

    Dolphins are not only a thing of beauty to see swimming
    and cavorting alongside of or in front of a boat. They are intelligent beings who deserve to live their
    life free of human interferrence.

  13. Mercedes Martell says:

    I love the comments expressed on this website. There have been cases of dolphins helping stranded sailors. What if all of a sudden dolphins decided not to help humans but invade them and kill them when they are down and drowning – something that does not seem to have happened ever? Then humans would kill even more because humans would term the dolphins as dangerous beasts. When an earthquake is about to take place, animals like dogs are the first to sense. We are not here to kill everything around us and much less for stupidities like killing a Rhino and using a Rhino’s horn for cursi trinkets sold to name brands. We are not here to make abominable decorations out of the suffering of others. We were given knowledge. We are born to know better and that knowledge carries responsibility. It carries a responsibility to protect those around us not to maim and bleed out other animals for fun or unjustly torture them for profit.

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