RENOWNED DOLPHIN ACTIVIST RIC O'BARRY AND SON GO UNDERCOVER TO STOP THE BRUTAL DOLPHIN TRADE IN ANIMAL PLANET'S NEW MINISERIES BLOOD DOLPHINS
Animal Planet Follows BLOOD DOLPHINS with Basic Cable Premiere of Academy Award-winning Film THE COVE, on August 29, at 9 PM ET
(Silver Spring, Md., July 22, 2010) - On Friday, August 27, Animal Planet premieres BLOOD DOLPHINS, a three-part powerful miniseries spotlighting renowned dolphin activist and member of Earth Island Institute's Marine Mammal Team Richard (Ric) O'Barry's campaign to expose the plight of dolphins worldwide. With his son, filmmaker Lincoln O'Barry, Ric continues the journey that began in the Academy Award-winning film THE COVE, where he and a crew of experts, including free divers, underwater camera experts and passionate activists exposed the world to the shocking slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Japan. The series premieres on Animal Planet at 11PM ET/PT following the two-hour season finale of the network's groundbreaking series WHALE WARS and then moves to its regular timeslot at 9PM ET/PT the following week.
In the premiere episode of BLOOD DOLPHINS, Ric and Lincoln return to the site of THE COVE - picturesque, remote Taiji, Japan, the nerve center of the senseless annual slaughter of approximately 20,000 dolphins. Father and son, along with a small crew, revisit this little inlet that has been widely criticized for its customary six-month dolphin hunting seasons. What begins as a hopeful mission turns to outrage as the O'Barrys discover that the brutal practice they hoped had ended as a result of the publicity generated by the film still continues. Ric and Lincoln encounter serious opposition, but setbacks, disappointment and struggle are not foreign to them; these obstacles do not stop them from continuing their mission.
The next two episodes of BLOOD DOLPHINS follow Ric and Lincoln to the Solomon Islands - a tiny nation of nearly 1,000 islands in the South Pacific - that has emerged as a major crossroads in the blood trade of wild dolphins. Dolphin dealing is legal here and has sparked a gold rush among poverty-stricken indigenous tribes who have hunted dolphins for centuries and who even use dolphin teeth as a form of currency. For Ric and Lincoln, the mission brings intrigue and danger as well as high hopes. The most prominent dealer in the islands - Chris Porter - has made overtures to Ric, claiming he is ready to quit the dolphin trade. It could be the opening Ric needs to shut down the captive trade. But to make it pay off, the team must face down a rival dealer and broker an agreement with the native dolphin hunters to stop killing dolphins.
"Ric and Lincoln have been at the forefront of trying to stop the senseless slaughter and brutal treatment of dolphins. Unfortunately, there is far too much work left to be done and many more places to go to expose these terrible practices," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "By bringing our viewers the premiere of THE COVE and this groundbreaking miniseries, we're shining a light on the cruelty inflicted on these magnificent, wild creatures all over the world."
Dolphins are one of America's most beloved animals, according to a national survey conducted by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The survey notes that the more people interact with them and see them through aquaria, parks and zoos, the more people learn about their importance. However, Ric and Lincoln are firm believers that dolphins should always be free and not be confined to entertain or educate the general public.
"My father is more aware than anyone else of how extraordinary dolphins are," says Lincoln O'Barry. "Having worked almost 50 years with dolphins and as the trainer for the television-star Flipper, he has spent the last four decades trying to redeem himself for the mistake he made by working with the captive dolphin industry."
"Dolphins are highly intelligent, self-aware, complex creatures that should swim free without the threat of slaughter or captivity," says Ric O'Barry. "Dolphins' primary sense is sonar sound, and living within small confines causes sensory deprivation and distress, while also extremely limiting their range of space. The most important thing I can do...that my son can do...is show the world through projects like BLOOD DOLPHINS just how threatened dolphins are so we can all do something about it."
BLOOD DOLPHINS premieres at the special time of 11 PM ET/PT on Friday, August 27. Animal Planet premieres THE COVE on Sunday, August 29. An encore of the first episode airs Friday, Sept 3, at 9 PM ET/PT and episodes two and three premiere Friday, Sept 10, at 9 PM ET/PT and Friday, September 17, at 9 PM ET/PT respectively.
BLOOD DOLPHINS is produced for Animal Planet by Creative Differences in Association with BayRock Media. Erik Nelson, Dave Harding and Lincoln O'Barry are executive producers. Raymond Bridgers is a co-executive producer. Dawn Sinsel is executive producer for Animal Planet. Marc Etkind is vice president of development for Animal Planet.
ABOUT THE COVE:
Winner of the 2010 Academy Award� for Best Documentary, The Cove is an astounding piece of investigative journalism with the heart of an action thriller. Led by Louie Psihoyos, co-founder of the Ocean Preservation Society, and Richard O'Barry, an internationally recognized authority on dolphin training who is best known for his work on the 1960's TV show "Flipper," the film follows a high-tech dive team on a mission to discover the truth about the international dolphin capture trade as practiced in Taiji, Japan. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide.
THE COVE is directed by Louie Psihoyos, written by Mark Monroe, executive produced by Jim Clark and produced by Fisher Stevens and Paula DuPre Pesman. It is coproduced by Olivia Ahnemann and edited by Geoffrey Richman.
THE COVE can be purchased at the Discovery Store by visiting www.discoverystore.com.
ABOUT ANIMAL PLANET MEDIA
Animal Planet Media (APM), a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. APM consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 96 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond; Petfinder.com, the #1 pet-related Web property globally that facilitates pet adoption; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service; mobile content; and merchandising extensions.