2012 January 21-30
Taiji and Wakayama City, Japan
Wearing another hat, as a Board Director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, On Wings of Care's "Dr. Bonny" flew to Taiji, Japan last week. We came because one of Sea Shepherd's volunteers and long-time chief engineer on Sea Shepherd's flagship the Steve Irwin was arrested and put in prison in December 16. His trial begins today, January 26, in Wakayama City. Read more about those details at seashepherd.org, including our updates and blogs and press releases about the activities in Taiji. Erwin was set up by a dolphin trainer, who lied to the police and claimed that Erwin had pushed him. Having no witnesses to disprove that, the Taiji police took Erwin into custody. It has been a horrendous case of unjust arrest, detention, and cruel isolation of Erwin from all communication with the outside world, including his own family.
Here I (Bonny) would like to share some personal thoughts with our On Wings Of Care supporters. Many of you may be unaware of Sea Shepherd's activities to protect marine life, though you may have heard about the controversial TV series Whale Wars which documents activities in Antarctica to stop illegal poaching of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Another activity that has received worldwide attention in the past decade is the capture and slaughter of thousands of dolphins each year off the coast of the small town of Taiji in southeastern Japan. A couple of years ago a courageous and vivid documentary titled The Cove was produced about this horror by a small group of activists from the United States. Most of the world's captive dolphins are caught from the wild, right here in Taiji. Virtually all of the dolphin meat sold freely in markets and restaurants in Japan is also caught and butchered here. I wrote the following early this morning from a borrowed computer in Wakayama City, sort of a venting to a few friends. it was hurried and is therefore stream of consciousness. But I think that all of you will understand what I am feeling and trying to convey.
Today is Thursday January 26, 2012 here in Wakayama city, Japan. Netherlands Sea Shepherd Director Dr. Street Vons, a dedicated Cove Guardian volunteer named Rex, and I came here by train from Taiji yesterday afternoon. Geert and I arrived in Taiji last Monday to see for ourselves what goes on there. We were told there had been no dolphins killed in over a week, that the seas had been too rough and the hunters had not succeeded in finding a pod that they could successfully herd into their killing cove with their noise-producing torture devices used to disorient and stress and force the dolphins into their death traps. I told them that always in my past work studying wildlife, the elusive animals always seemed to show up when I arrive. Of course while this coincidence has come true dozens of times in the past with great white sharks, elephant seals, whale sharks, sperm ahd other whales, and even land animals such as bear and cougar, I had no reason to believe that it would occur again and every reason in my heart to hope that it would not! But it did.
Within an hour of the start of their hunt that first morning of our presence, the hunters returned toward shore, banging on their ships with their noise-making poles and surrounding a large group of innocent confused, and stressed animals. We noticed two pilot whales among the 18 or so dolphins, but they got away just in time before becoming in the cove. Of the remaining, we witnessed 14 who never returned to their ocean homes or families, seven captured as slaves to go to that torture called "training," and seven others slaughtered in the spot. The Risso dolphins were kept for slaughter or slavery, while two striped dolphins were allowed to return to open water. Within an hour or so, these beautiful, intelligent sentient beings went from a morning of frolicking and feasting and freedom, to fear and frenzy, and then to freezers. Why?
The hunters say this is a grand tradition they refuse to end. They are paid handsomely by aquariums wanting live dolphin slave performers. They are also paid by those who sell dolphin meat as food to unsuspecting citizens. Unsuspecting of what? Dolphins are at the top of the marine food chain. In these waters, polluted by invisible heavy metals and other industrial byproducts brought here by natural currents, the dolphins themselves are ingesting untenable amounts of these toxins. Their health is spared somewhat because the toxins are predominantly stored in fat tissue, and dolphins have naturally high amounts of blubber. But feed dolphin meat to children, slender people, or elderly, and you might just as well inject their bloodstreams directly with these toxins. What do heavy metals do inside living bodies? They are neurotoxins, meaning they effect the entire system of communication within our bodies. They are known to cause cognitive and reproductive problems as well. Said plainly, they make you stupid, weak, and impotent, and bring with those problems a variety of other diseases.
Continued under present circumstances, this slaughter of dolphins for food is a tradition of evil. Those who promote it are poisoning the innocent people who eat it. The same is true of slaughtering whales for food. Let us not speak for the moment of the abhorrent cruelty and disrespect for fellow lifeforms on this planet, the lack of reverence for the unknown Creator of all of us. Is not the poisoning of our own people practical reason enough to cease this "tradition"? Does the government of Japan want to create a nation of dull, unhealthy, impotent people? What about the tradition of life? The tradition of nurturing children so that they grow up strong, smart, and beautiful, and remain that way until very old age? This tradition of death is insanity.
I could not volunteer for this campaign in Taiji which the Sea Shepherds call "Operation Infinite Patience." I could not witness this a second day without burning inside to find a way to stop the killing as soon as possible. I would probably wind up in prison or dead myself for destruction of property as my own frenzied reaction to the dolphins' frenzy of fear is to remove those killing boats. I am not built to witness such horror, nor to live with the anger it causes in my heart.
And here is the other quandary I have: I came here first and foremost as a human being wanting to understand the facts and the reasons why other humans choose to capture, torture, enslave and slaughter wild animals who are no threat to them. I interacted with the local people and found them courteous, gracious, kind to me. I saw them working hard at their jobs. I read their faces everywhere I went. I saw that we are far more alike than we are different. I would protect these people as ardently as I would any other innocent beings. Now I am angered by the cruel enslavement and killing of dolphins as whales but also by the grave injustice those actions are causing to these innocent people! I said "Stop killing the whales and dolphins." Now I also say "Stop poisoning your own people! Stop destroying your nation's future by poisoning your children's bodies and minds and failing to teach them to live in harmony and with respect for life."
I say no more here because typing without a keyboard is arduous, and terribly time-taking. You get my point. Can they?
"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
by Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
ALL proceeds go to benefit Gulf wildlife!
Order your autographed hard copies or an electronic copy here!
Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:
A Dog Named Pepper Doesn't Give up Easily on Life!
20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!
CHAZ - No Ordinary Extraordinary Cur!
20130422 - Left to die but instead, this super-intelligent deep-hearted dog discovered love, family, and even fun -- from the most unlikely mentors!
Turbulent Trails for Tails from TX-20130413
Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California!
Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.
A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231
This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them. Rescuers ROCK!
Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life!
20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!
Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!
This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!
20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!
2012 Sep 22
It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!
Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
2012 July 17 - present
With pitbull-like tenacity, we wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. Out of 21 dogs we sought, we have closure on all but two. Alas, one of those two is our Scarlett.
Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!
2012 July 16
Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!
Homeless Mom and Pups no More!
2012 July 08
Sometimes rescuers find the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!
From Empty Nest to Love Fest!
2012 May 11
That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
JEREMIAH has come home to us!
UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13
His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could. We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again. Read more here!
CHAMP found at the airport!
2012 January 01
A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight! Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
Abby & Dinozo -- Two of a Kind!
2011 September--2012 January
Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family. Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home! Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here!
Yo! Get a Load of Yolo!
2011 November--2012 January
Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
Little did he know, his adventures had only begun! As of January 7, it's back to snow but this time with a family who adores him, and lots of fun and play in the Pacific Northwest!
Saving Scarlett -- Love Forever at Last!
Found on the streets, teats full but puppies absent, a battle-torn very hungry pitbull.
Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
But after we brought Miss Scarlett home to love and food, warmth and stuffed animals,
we discovered a warm heart and sweet spirit that changed us forever.
2011 July--September 29, A Joyful Reunion At Last!
Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean" fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23 - IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5
2013 Feb 15 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010
Galapagos Veterinary Support
Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”