Documents obtained by The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) show that Canadian, Chris Porter, who reportedly masterminded the capture of at least 200 dolphins in the war torn Solomon Islands worked at the Vancouver Aquarium and at the now defunct Sealand of the Pacific, which was located in Victoria, according to Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. An Australian-led peacekeeping force has been sent into the Islands to restore peace and end the violence."The capture of these dolphins for resale to amusement parks has prompted an international outcry and along with many others, The Humane Society of Canada has demanded that further shipments be halted, that the remaining 170 dolphins be set free and that the 28 dolphins already shipped to Mexico be returned at once. Last week, the Mexican Government confirmed that 1 of the dolphins has already died," said Hickey.
The document obtained by The Humane Society of Canada and which has been identified as Porter's CV reads:
CHRISTOPHER PORTER, WAVE CONSULTANT, CANADIAN CITIZEN, BORN: WILLIAMS LAKE CANADA, 27/09/1970
AQUARIO DI GENOVA, July l998 to present
Marine Mammal Consultant
Supervise and train staff of five for display, research and husbandry purposes of Bottlenose Dolphins, South African Fur Seals and Harbor Seals.
Liaison between senior management staff and marine mammal staff regarding feasible animal development programs and species for display purposes.
Liaison between Acquario di Genova and Narvalo on the care and management of the dolphins leased at the Acquario di Genova.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM. October l996 to June l998
Supervise and train staff of ten for display, research and husbandry purposes of Killer Whales, Dolphins, Beluga Whales, Steller’s Sea Lions and Harbor Seals.
Create, develop and coordinate Animal Encounters, a new visitor interaction program with numerous Aquarium species involving all Aquarium departments.
Winner of Tourism B.C.'s Most innovative Tourism Program Award.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM. October l994 to l996
Steller’s Sea lion co coordinator
Supervise and train staff of three for display, research and husbandry purposes of six juvenile Steller’s Sea Lions.
Liaison between research consortium and Aquarium representatives to achieve their needs and expectations.
SEALAND OF THE PACIFIC
Victoria BC Canada. October l989 to October l993
Train and care for Killer Whales, California Sea Lions, Northern Fur Seals and Harbor Seals for display and husbandry purposes.
Directly co ordinate the daily training advances in the three Killer Whales.
DR JOHN NIGHTINGALE. DIRECTOR OF VANCOUVER AQUARIUM (01) 659 3400
CLINTON WRIGHT, GENERAL CURATOR VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
THAD LACINAK, VICE PRESIDENT SEA WORLD CORPORATION (01) 407 363 2561
DR CLAUDI GILI, VETERINARIAN ACQUARI DE GENOVA
MEMBER INTERNATIONAL MARINE ANIMAL TRAINERS ASSOCIATION SINCE l990
Sealand of the Pacific finally closed following the tragic drowning death of trainer Keltie Brynes. All of the Orcas were sold to other amusement parks and have since died.
News reports indicate that Porter originally went to the Solomon Islands under the guise of showing fishermen how to prevent the unnecessary killing of dolphins.
"The latest from the Solomon Islands is that Porter reportedly paid the Solomon Islands USD $500 for each dolphin and is now offering to double that figure. Amusement parks typically pay up to $USD 30,000 for each dolphin, so Porter still stands to make as much as USD $ 6 million from the deal. Canadians are required to report their worldwide income to Revenue Canada and we've alerted them to this transaction," said O'Sullivan.
"In our opinion, Porter, ought to be fully investigated, and if there is sufficient evidence, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said O'Sullivan. His organization is trying to learn whether or not Porter can be extradited for his activities in the Solomon Islands, and whether all of those involved in the capture can be punished under the laws of more than one jurisdiction.
"Unbelievable as it may seem, even after an international protest, our contacts tell us that an additional 8 dolphins were reportedly captured last week. Local sources report that the dolphins are still being kept in shallow pens, and that some animals are suffering from injuries. Local sources report that all of the dolphins are still being kept in shallow pens, and that some animals are suffering from injuries," according to HSC Executive Director, Michael O'Sullivan.
There are about 1,000 dolphins held in captivity worldwide, and in the opinion of O'Sullivan who has worked for the rehabilitation and release of former captive dolphins: "I've been working to help animals around the world for more than 30 years. This is the largest capture of dolphins for amusement parks that I am familiar with, representing 20% of all dolphins now held captive in concrete tanks." The dolphins were captured and exported during a time of complete breakdown of civil society in the Solomon Islands calling into question who was in control of the government, and on whose authority the dolphin were caught and sold. The Government of Mexico, which accepted the shipment of dolphins, was fully aware of all of these facts, and in our opinion should never have allowed the dolphins into Mexico. The Government of Mexico should refuse all further shipments, and return the surviving 27 dolphins home at the expense of those who in our opinion, illegally captured, sold and exported them in the first place.
Although the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Secretariat in Geneva has now confirmed that it advised Mexico to allow the export of 120 bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands, subject to certain requirements, it is now investigating whether this criteria was met. If the CITES Secretariat determines that the shipments broke the treaty then he will reportedly advise that any export permits issued by the Solomon Islands should be rejected.
CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) is the most important international wildlife treaty in the world and more information can be found here. Administered by the United Nations, Canada and 162 other nations are signatories. The Solomon Islands is not a signatory. However, in an effort to stem the abuse of this law, as a signatory nation, Mexico was obliged to follow the letter and spirit of the CITES treaty as if the Solomon Islands were in fact a signatory nation.
The CITES Secretariat based in Switzerland has issued the following expression of concern over the shipment of dolphins: STATEMENT: Trade in live dolphins from the Solomon Islands to Mexico.