The ‘world’s loneliest dolphin’ has died after spending almost the last two years of her life completely alone in a small pool at an abandoned aquarium in Japan.
In September 2018, Japanese activists obtained footage of Honey which revealed that the bottlenose dolphin was being held in captivity in a tiny pool, along with 49 penguins and hundreds of fish and reptiles. The footage soon went viral, giving Honey the title of ‘world’s loneliest dolphin’.
At the beginning of April, Honey’s tragic death was reported by the Dolphin Project, the original organisation to make her plight public in 2018. The organisation posted a video showing the lonely bottlenose dolphin floating back and forth in the pool at the abandoned aquarium.
The organisation made an investigation and learnt that in November 2018 Inubosaki Marine Park Aquarium was in debt and was desperately in need of a buyer. Due to an earthquake in 2011 and Fukushima nuclear crisis, there had been a decline in visitors.
In 2019 the aquarium was sold along with Honey and other animals, which was confirmed by the Kaisou Health Center, which were responsible for managing the health of the animals at the marine park.
For months, Honey and the other animals were being fed by a lone employer yet otherwise, were completely on their own in dirty water.
In 2018 PETA wrote: “In the wild, dolphins swim vast distances with their families, playing and exploring new territory together. But for Honey, life is spent floating listlessly all day long.
“She is kept all alone and is said to be engaging in repetitive, compulsive actions known as stereotypic behaviour – a sign of the severe distress caused by captivity.”
Recently, Dolphin Post posted that they had been desperately trying to acquire Honey so that she could live out retirement in peace and dignity. Talks were put in place with animal rights colleagues in Japan and a deal was soon to be sorted but unfortunately, it was becoming apparent that Honey was undergoing some serious health problems and any move would likely be too distressing.
On March 29, Honey passed away in the pool.
The Dolphin Project released a statement following the dolphin’s tragic death: “Honey’s plight attracted worldwide attention, and sparked a huge movement from within Japan.
“While tragically, she wasn’t able to escape the man-made enclosure she suffered in, Honey will remain the face of dolphin captivity for many years to come.”
Thankfully, the Dolphin Project organisation aims to prevent this from happening to any other of the beautiful creature, as they have now partnered up with local partners to establish the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary which is based in West Bali. The sanctuary is the first of its kind in the world and cares for formerly captive dolphins.