While many of us mourn the loss, and celebrate the life of Robin Williams, I can’t help but wonder if the animals are sad too. Mr. Williams was more than an iconic comic who made us laugh. He was an intelligent person with a compassionate heart. Perhaps having a heart that big hurts sometimes.
It was the animals, Robin’s dogs, Koko the gorilla and dolphins that could engage with Robin without a word spoken. Koko turned the tables by making Robin laugh uncontrollably. Dolphins shared the same spontaneous sense of play. Robin was introduced to dolphins in the wild in a PBS video, Into The Wild, made years ago. He experienced firsthand the difference between life in the sea and life in captivity for dolphins. No sea pen or larger tank can replicate the life in the wild for these majestic animals. Robin and fellow celebrities made this video asking us not to support dolphins being held captive. They are abducted from their families for our entertainment, military advantage or ‘healing’.
A treasured memory I will hold dear to my heart was talking to Robin about a mutual dolphin friend of ours named JoJo. JoJo is featured in the PBS video. As we shared stories about JoJo, a group of male tweens we knew came up to talk to him. Robin broke into an improvisation as smooth as turning on a light switch.
“Hey Guys! Did I ever tell you about this cool dolphin who swims with people in the wild? He’s like, ‘Hey welcome to my world. Want me to introduce you to some dolphin chicks?’ ”
As he entertained us, we smiled. What makes the moment extra special is that it occurred in the lobby of a Broadway theater, right after a beautiful memorial to another mutual friend, Christopher Reeve. One of the boys was Chris’s youngest son, Will.
While Robin rests in peace after living a life well lived, we have the opportunity to carry the torch he left behind until all dolphins swim free in clean oceans.
September 1st will begin the annual Japanese dolphin drive hunt. While the Japanese claim it is tradition, the truth is that the barbic capture and slaughter of hundreds of dolphins is for economic reasons. Dolphins captured from the ocean are worth thousands of dollars. In order for any captive dolphin program to sustain itself, it must either introduce dolphins caught from the wild or breed incestuously. It’s a harsh reality that is leading the National Aquarium and others to consider ending their captive dolphin programs.
In honor of Robin, we can continue the peaceful initiative he was part of.
*Follow @CoveGuardians, @CoveMovie_OPS, @Dolphin_Project, @Voice_OT_Orcas, @Whales_org on Twitter and/or Facebook.
*Watch and share the movies The Cove and Blackfish
*Voice your opposition to cetacean captivity on social media, sign petitions like this one from Oceana, write letters to your political leaders. This does make a difference! Southwest Airlines recently ended their partnership with Seaworld. There is legislation proposed to end Orca captivity in California.
*Don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with captive dolphins.
*Help keep the oceans clean.
*Take kids to visit beaches where dolphins swim free in the distance. They will squeal with delight just spotting them, trust me.
Together we can carry the torch to the finish line. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140305-dolphins-video-megapod-superpod-california-captain-drone/)