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WW ’15: Conservation group discusses the brutality of dolphin hunting

Above is Sea Shepherd advocate Olga Pristin presenting. Pristin is a member of the Sea Shepherd conservation group, which aims to protect marine life such as dolphins, whales, and seals. “Just the fact that I’m here today and maybe changing someone’s mind is really worth it for me,“ Pristin said.

Olga Pristin from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society spoke about the treatment of captive dolphins as part of Winter Week on Thursday. During her presentation, she discussed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s goal of protecting marine life, including whales, dolphins, seals and coral reefs. Pristin was invited to speak at WHS by junior Anne Flaherty.

At the beginning of the presentation, Pristin showed a video clip about illegal whaling ships. After the clip, she talked about the village of Taiji, Japan, where she volunteered to film.

According to Pristin, 12 boats leave Taiji and find dolphins, which they surround and drive towards the harbor. At the harbor, the divers throw nets on the dolphins to trap them, and then trainers from marine parks choose which ones they want to bring back. The team forcefully separates these dolphins from the rest of the pod, who are either killed for meat or put back in the sea. It is estimated that 12,000 dolphins die each year because of this practice.

After capture, the chosen dolphins are trained to perform tricks and are rewarded with food. They are then transported on planes to marine parks around the world. Fifty percent of these dolphins die within their first three months in captivity.

“I want you to think about dolphins dying in marine parks and about dolphins dying in Taiji for our money spent. Without our money these hunts can’t be sustained any longer. They will not make any profit,” Pristin said.

At the end of the presentation, she answered questions from audience members. When one teacher asked what students could do to help, Pristin answered that they should educate the people around them and try to raise awareness.

“Since ‘Blackfish’ came out the attendance at Seaworld dropped dramatically. If we drop the demand, it will die,” Pristin said, referencing the 2013 film “Blackfish,” which is about a captive orca.

Another student asked Pristin what she thought her biggest contribution to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s mission was.

“Just the fact that I’m here today and maybe changing someone’s mind is really worth it for me,” Pristin said.

Miss an event from Winter Week 2015? WSPN’s got it covered.

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WW ’15: Conservation group discusses the brutality of dolphin hunting