On Saturday, March 3, 2012, Ric O’Barry, star of the Academy Award winning film, “The Cove,” was honored at a red carpet fundraising event, “A Night For The Dolphins.” The posh affair was held in a Beverly Hills mansion owned by James Costa and raised much needed funds to continue to save slaughtered Dolphins around the world and advance awareness for the protection of them.
Tickets were $150 each, which included vegan hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail reception, champagne toast and a generous gift bag. Around 200 people crowded into the scenic home and were entertained by vocalist Mia Maestro with a DJ set by Michelle Rodriguez, a seasoned actress from the popular TV series, “Lost.”
A new PSA, ‘Kids Speak Out Against Dolphin Captivity” was shown at the party, which featured children – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” Ric O’Barry was introduced to a supportive audience by event producer Deborah Bassett and brought the crowd up to speed with the latest happenings around the world stating that “(The dolphin) hunting ended early this year, due to lack of demand. It usually goes from September to April.” He continued, “I guarantee (the hunting) will stop.” Speaking over a cheering flock of supporters, he explained that they had signed contracts with other places and that had stopped hunting completely. He made it clear that he “likes” Japan, and only “has an issue with certain men who are killing the dolphins.” He ended saying, “this is an ongoing campaign and thank you so much for supporting it.”
Well known animal activist and Animal Alliance Founder, Ellen Lavinthal said, “Tonight is a night for the protection of the intelligent and sensitive mammals of the seas– the dolphins who are needlessly slaughtered, all for the sake of having entertainment at Sea World and other water parks.” Environmental activist, Earth Island/Dolphin Project consultant and “A Night For The Dolphins” event producer Deborah Bassett explained, “Ric is one of the most dedicated activists working on behalf of marine mammal protection and wildlife conservation on the planet today. I have a profound respect and admiration for his sincere desire and tireless mission to eradicate dolphin slaughters around the world and put an end to the captive dolphin industry.” Bassett continued, “Having worked in the field with Ric in Taiji and as a consultant for Earth Island Institute and Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, I have witnessed firsthand his unique approach and it is one that encompasses the people of Japan. Ric has always been about embracing the culture and working with the Japanese people to effect change from within as he understands that this is ultimately where it needs to come from. He remains steadfast in this vision and those of us who are honored to work so closely with him support his efforts 100%.”
Ric O’Barry was first recognized in the 1960’s for capturing and training five dolphins, which were used in the well-known TV series “Flipper.” After witnessing the ‘suicide’ of one of the beloved “Flipper” dolphins, Kathy, who swam into his lap and died, O’Barry made a radical turn around and began combating the industry which captures dolphins. In 1970 he founded the Dolphin Project, a group that aims to educate the public about captivity, and whenever possible, free dolphins. He was front and center in the 2009 Academy Award-winning film, “The Cove” which used brilliant and gutsy covert techniques to expose the yearly dolphin hunting drive that occurs in Taiji, Japan.
Prominent guests who came out to honor Ric O’Barry included One Tree Hill’s Sophia Bush, Ed Begley Jr., Veteren actress Joanna Cassidy, Breaking Dawn actress Maggie Grace, Biggest Loser fitness icon, Jillian Michaels, Licoln O’Barry, Hit recording artist Fawn, Lost actress Michelle Rodriguez, Whale Wars Ady Gil, Q’orianka Kilcher, Leilani Munter, Eric Balfour, Lina Esco, Abilgal Spencer, Ashley Scott, Lasse Larsen and Steve Hart.
Some of the event sponsors were Zico Coconut Water, Golden Mean Café’, Julian Hard Cider, Ecojoia and many more. All proceeds benefitted Richard O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, a campaign under the International Marine Mammal Project at the non-profit Earth Island Institute.
To find out more about Richard O’Barry and the Dolphin Project, go to www.dolphinproject.org and Dolphin PSA