THE former trainer of Makaiko the dolphin who was deemed “foolish” and too “heavy” to perform for humans has revealed the heartbreaking story of his life in captivity.
The tragic bottlenose dolphin was so sad after being left alone in his tank that he began banging his head against the walls in an act of self harm.
He died a lonely death some ten years ago after being snatched from a life in the sea with his 80-strong family pod – that were either murdered or taken too.
Makaiko — meaning “inner strength” — was born in 1996 in the waters of Taiji, Japan, where she socialised with other pods and spent carefree days playing and roaming the wide-open spaces of the Pacific Ocean.
Food was abundant and the pod looked after each other as dolphins do naturally.
But his tranquil way of life was soon torn apart – beginning with the jarring sound of loud motorboats surrounding the pod, according to an account by his former trainer Lorena Kya Lopez for World Animal Protection.
Some of the ambushed dolphins were dragged on board after being trapped by hunting nets.
Those who desperately tried to escape were killed, while the seawater turned red from their blood. Others were taken to slaughter for their meat.
Meanwhile, Makaiko and a few of the pod, including his sister Kumiko, were sold to a dolphinarium in Japan for tourist entertainment.
He was sprayed with water to keep his skin from drying out while being transported on a stretcher that hurt his fins and belly.
Ms Lopez met Makaikowhile working as a marine mammal trainer at an attraction in Mexico in 2001, 19 years ago.
In the article, she wrote: “Knowing what we know about dolphins, this must have been a painful, stressful and scary moment for them.
“After arriving at his temporary new home, he was placed in a small tank. The water in this tank didn’t come from the ocean, and was treated with chemicals to keep it clean.
“This place was just very different from the ocean. Very empty, sterile and quiet.”
No dolphin should have to endure the same sad life and death that Makaiko did.
Soon the trainers began giving fish to the disorientated dolphins – but only if they complied with their orders to perform tricks.
Makaiko was forced to jump up and down, push people with his nose and drag them with his fins, just to earn a meal.
The dolphins had to endure various people touching them and getting in the water with them for hours on end.
Soon he was moved to a dolphinarium in Mexico City, called Six Flags -… Brinkwire Brief News.