Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
If you were told that you would live to be 95 years old, you might very well be pleased.
If you also were told that your entire life would be spent in one small house, with no excursions anywhere for any reason, and if you have mates you’ll have no say in who they are or how long you will be together, and you’ll be ordered around and punished by members of an entirely different species, and tourists will pay to stare at you every day, you might very well be discouraged.
I read today that Terry, a bottlenose dolphin at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA, has died at age 51. According to writer Bill Lindelof in his Sacramento Bee story, “Her age was comparable to that of a 95-year-old person. Terry had lost the majority of her teeth and couldn't get out of the water much on her air spin.”
Pointing out that she had been at the park since it opened in 1985, Lindelof elaborated: “Despite being a senior animal, Terry was the most reliable of dolphins during interactions with guests. She was agile, friendly and, right up to her death, adept at her wave, kiss, spit and hug.”
Quite a sad legacy. A beautiful wild animal, confined to a lifetime of performing for humans’ profit and entertainment, was “adept at her wave, kiss, spit and hug.”
As you know, I am no fan of putting wild animals in captivity. But having captive animals forced to perform tricks is taking the insanity of captivity — and the specious claims that it’s “educational” or motivated by conservation — to another level. A deeper, worse level of human greed and exploitation.
I seriously wonder if Terry is happy she lived such a life for such a long time. Don’t you? At least we know for sure that she is now, at long last, free.