Last month, we reported on the Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) base in San Diego Bay, where activists monitoring the scene documented the tragic death of a 46 year-old male dolphin named Makai. Channel 8 News, which broke the story, issued a FOIA request to SPAWAR for the necropsy reports. The request was refused, raising questions as to what Makai died from (according to a statement from SPAWAR, it was "age-related"), and why the Navy wants to keep it a secret.
Now, the Navy has made another move to shroud their activities with dolphins from the public. Channel 8 reported that Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) is relocating the dolphins at the facility so that they will be out of sight of animal activists.
"They're trying to take this out of public view because they're concerned that what is going to be shown is not going to make the Navy look good," said David Phillips, Director of the International Marine Mammal Project that has been coordinating with the volunteers in San Diego who videotaped the Navy dolphin pens. "It's time for people to see what's going on."
The Navy claims that they had always intended to return the pens to the original location, where they now reside. But the timing is certainly conspicuous.
Even if they aren't visible, they will still be suffering. The Navy needs to recognize that dolphins are far too intelligent and sensitive to be used as weapons of war, and should explore retirement options for them and send them to a seaside sanctuary.
Photo credit CBS8.