The world’s loneliest dolphin, Honey, dies at an abandoned Japanese aquarium
Honey, the world’s loneliest dolphin, who was discovered at an abandoned Japanese aquarium, has died alone.
The poor animal with the sweetest name died in solitary at the Marine Park Aquarium in the city of Choshi, east of Tokyo, after spending the last two years of her life enclosed in a small pool. Honey first made the headlines when people found out she and 46 penguins have been abandoned in the aquarium since January 2018.
Due to a decline in visitors following the 2011 apocalyptic earthquake and Fukushima nuclear crisis, the park had to close its doors.
Unfortunately, many animals like the female bottlenose dolphin were abandoned there, including hundreds of fish and reptiles. For a while, the deserted animals were fed by an employee, but were otherwise left to look after themselves and live in unhygienic conditions.
Honey was captured near Taiji, a western port town in 2005. This town has become infamous for its annual dolphin hunt that was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” from 2009.
The female dolphin’s lonely death was reported by the animal charity Dolphin Project.
On their website, they say that they had tried to rescue Honey and the other abandoned animals from the Marine Park Aquarium, but their attempts were unsuccessful. Moreover, they claim that the aquarium was sold, and they contacted the new owners to try to buy the female dolphin, so she could be ‘retired in peace and dignity’.
Sadly, in March, when they found out Honey wouldn’t survive, the Dolphin Project ended their discussion with the park’s new owners. According to them, she died alone in her small tank on March 29th.
News of the world’s loneliest dolphin’s fate spread quickly over social media.
Twitter users have posted photos and videos of her under the hashtag ‘Save Honey’.
Here's the video. Shocking.https://t.co/YlIdrkZcWJ
— Luna (@ur_my_sunshine7) April 11, 2020
The aquarium Honey has lived in for the last two years of her life was often criticized by visitors for the cruel way they have treated the animals. For instance, a review from Trip Advisor, where the aquarium had an average of three stars out of five, says:
“I’m disgusted by the captivity of these beautiful animals. They will have been driven in from out at sea with their pods, seen many of them slaughtered in front of them and then forced into venues like this. These dolphins will have been caught in Taiji, ask yourself how they got there. Then ask yourself what kind of life they live stuck in a tiny tank. These animals should be swimming wild, not swimming in disgusting water no bigger than a bath tub for people’s amusement.”
This poor dolphin and penguins 😭😭😭 #savehoney#savehoneythedolphinhttps://t.co/msw3q8w27M
— Hollie (bit loopy trot) (@LeftieHol) December 30, 2019
Another user shares:
“To keep dolphins in a small pool is cruel. Their home is in the ocean where they can swim miles every day with their pod. Captivity drives the Taiji dolphin hunts.”
Honey’s tragic fate attracted worldwide attention and inspired a huge movement from within Japan.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to escape the horrifying conditions she was forced to live in. But Honey will surely remain the symbol of dolphin captivity for many years to come.