Avaaz — thanks for saving the dolphins but don’t hurt the innocent!

QUICK UPDATE (June 11)
Thanks Avaaz for including the following statement on your campaign page yesterday – acknowledging the error, apologising to Samoa and recognising Samoa’s conservation efforts. Avaaz stated at the foot of their revised campaign: CORRECTION — Our early campaign communications mentioned Samoa as the country in whose waters the wild dolphins had been captured, where it should have said Solomon Islands. All the texts have been now corrected. We apologize for the error and gratefully acknowledge the role of Samoa as a leader in marine conservation, and that dolphins are fully protected in its waters

Earlier today Avaaz – a normally highly reputable and even more powerful internet based lobby/campaign organization unleashed a campaign to save dolphins from captivity as 25 wild dolphins were being trapped for a luxury resort’s latest exhibit.

Avaaz, saddest dolphins, Samoa, tourism, impact,

The initial text read: “The pod was swimming peacefully in the Samoa when nets closed in from behind — trapping 25 wild dolphins for a luxury resort’s latest exhibit. They are now locked in tiny pens, starved of food — but we can free them …For wild dolphins captivity is torture, their powerful sonar bounces off the walls back at them — as if they are trapped in an endless house of mirrors. Most die young from stress induced illness, but some even commit suicide. If the wealthy Resorts World Sentosa succeeds in keeping them captive then half the dolphins will die in the first 2 years — and it will legitimise the widely banned  practice of capturing dolphins in the wild. We can’t let that happen — let’s use our voices to set them free”

A reader who contacted me about this story  was outraged that Samoa would be building resorts that trapped dolphins!

So let us set the record straight!

1. After receiving over 250,000 signatures Avaaz has quietly corrected their story to pin point the waters as being the Solomon Islands with no public statement as to their responsibility for such a mistake.

2. As confirmed by Conservation International,  Samoa has never exported live dolphins and dolphins are fully protected in Samoa’s waters,  there are no resorts here that could or do hold captive dolphins. Sue Miller Taei, Director Marine, Pacific Islands Program, Conservation International, Samoa had this to say:

“Samoa is a leader in marine mammal conservation, including dolphins. Their waters have been a sanctuary for nearly 10 years and are part of a Pacific Island whale sanctuary network that includes 9 other Pacific Is states and covers more than 18 million sq km of ocean.  Avaaz should immediately apologize on its social media to the Government and people of Samoa and many people have seen the Avaaz website and signed the petition when it wrongly mentions Samoa.”

And Michael Donoghue, also of Conservation International added: “I don’t know of any country in the Pacific Islands who has done more to promote conservation of whales and dolphins than Samoa”.

Samoa was also one of the first Pacific Island countries to sign the MoU for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands region under the auspices of CMS and in partnership with SPREP when it opened for signature in 2006.

3. The impact of having 250,000 signatures to a petition erroneously implying such anti conservation behaviour by Samoa could be devastating to a tourism industry already trying to recover from a Tsunami in 2009 and a global recession that is constricting major source markets. Samoans depend on a healthy marine ecosystem to survive and have been practicing sustainable fishing practices for thousands of years.

Again, we implore Avaaz to make good their sloppy mistake by publicly issuing an apology and drawing their petitioners to the truth about these stunning islands and its beautiful people. 250,000 minds can be changed for the good – so in addition to saving dolphins, the livelihoods and reputation of many hard working people might be improved too!

A link to www.samoaselect.wordpress.com would really be of enormous help to those trying to build a sustainable tourism community too!

In that case, it would have been a good day’s work Avaaz!

QUICK UPDATE (June 11)
Again, we thank Avaaz for including the following statement on your campaign page yesterday – acknowledging the error, apologising to Samoa and recognising Samoa’s conservation efforts. Avaaz stated at the foot of their revised campaign: CORRECTION — Our early campaign communications mentioned Samoa as the country in whose waters the wild dolphins had been captured, where it should have said Solomon Islands. All the texts have been now corrected. We apologize for the error and gratefully acknowledge the role of Samoa as a leader in marine conservation, and that dolphins are fully protected in its waters

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About xplorer

Strategist, change agent, thinker, and as often as possible a heretic. My passion helping others "make sense of their world" then find ways of working collaboratively to make it a better place in which to flourish.

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