The letter that follows below was posted to the FB group “Oppose the Ushaka Rave: Sipping Cocktails & Killing Dolphins“. It follows a previous post on this subject.
One of the issues highlighted during the meeting today was the damage done to the reputation of uShaka, SAAMBR and associates by both misinformation and a lack of information during this protest. Ironically, it was highlighted by the activists.
I would like to enquire as to the naming of this group, and why it still refers to killing dolphins when patently the dolphins are not at risk, and the outcome of today’s meeting is very clearly that the marine life at uShaka are not at risk from this event.
The core area of concern highlighted at the end of the meeting was acknowledged to be more ‘social’ than ‘scientific’ and that was the ‘appropriateness of holding such events at a marine park’.
SAAMBR, uShaka and the event organiser met and openly discussed every issue put before them today – whether you liked the answers or not, there was nothing they could answer that they didn’t. When pressed to put their personal assurances behind their statements, they did just that.
The scientists explained, without anything to the contrary being put on the table, that whether it was noise, cigarette butts or even drugs being dropped into the water, that the animals were not at risk.
So other than it just not feeling right to hold such an event at uShaka, what reason is there to continue to associate uShaka with “killing dolphins” and putting the rest of the marine life at risk?
My question now is at what point the responsibility on the activist group kicks in to mitigate the reputational damage that has been done to the uShaka Marine World, SAAMBR and the City?
I remain convinced, as is continually evidenced in posts on this page, that the genesis of this whole protest is anti-captivity, and I’m pretty sure that not all activists really know that is what they’ve been dragged into. As just one example, see below where it is highlighted that places like uShaka are called “abusement parks”.
Judy Mann explained today the integral role that aquariums play in conservation education, explaining that 80000-100000 learners, teachers and others go through their education centre every year. For many, an aquarium is the only way they will see what lives beneath the “carpet” that is the surface of the sea.
That may not sway most hardened anti-cap campaigners, but it does bring a different perspective to the standard anti-captivity rhetoric. These marine animals receive world class care while facilitating the education of hundreds of thousands of people in the importance of marine conservation.
So, is it still about “killing dolphins” or is that just to draw in the crowds and whip them into a frenzy before giving them a little more information about what the concerns actually are?