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Solomons Dolphin Trafficker Arrested

| Mark J. Palmer
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For many years, veterinarian Dr. Baddeley Anita has been trying to set up a live dolphin export business in the Solomon Islands. Last December, based on information supplied by an investigation from Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP), Anita’s dolphin facilities were raided and 27 captive dolphins were set free by the government.  (Another few dolphins were released from a captive facility that supplied Dr. Anita from the western provinces.)  

Now, Dr. Anita has been arrested by the Solomons government and charged with violation of the Fisheries Management Act, which prohibits capture of live dolphins in Solomon Islands waters and the granting of permits for export. Brokers for aquariums, notably from China, have been reported visiting the Solomon Islands looking for export of live dolphins. 18 dolphins from the Solomon Islands were exported in 2009 to the Philippines, and wound up at Resorts World theme park in Singapore. Since that time, IMMP has prevailed on the Solomons government to ban export of any live dolphins.  

Dr. Anita was arrested and then released on bail.  If convicted, he could be fined $64,000US and spend up to two years in jail.  He is expected to appear in court in early February.

As he has in the past, Dr. Anita continues to insist he is innocent and claims to have filed a $3.9 million (US) lawsuit in December against the government for interfering with his dolphin capture facility.  He claims it is designed for conducting scientific experiment to breed dolphins in captivity.  We believe it is, instead, a cover for his long sought export business.

IMMP salutes the government of the Solomon Islands for their efforts to enforce their laws protecting wild dolphins from capture, and forcing release of the illegally caught dolphins back into the wild where they belong, and filing charges against Dr. Anita for his continued flaunting of the law.  We appreciate their continued support for the protection of wild dolphins in the Solomon Islands.