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Richard O'Barry

Richard O'Barry

Richard "Ric" O'Barry (born Richard Barry O'Feldman, October 14, 1939) is an American animal rights activist and former animal trainer who was first recognized in the 1960s for capturing and training the five dolphins that were used in the TV series Flipper. O'Barry transitioned from training dolphins to instead advocating against industries that keep dolphins in captivity, after one of the Flipper dolphins died in his arms. In 1996, a dolphin was seized from the Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary, a corporation O'Barry worked for, for violating the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. In 1999, O'Barry was fined for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act as the result of illegally releasing two dolphins that were not able to survive in the wild. The dolphins sustained life-threatening injuries. In 1970, O'Barry founded the Dolphin Project, a group that aims to educate the public about captivity and, where feasible, free captive dolphins. He was featured in the Academy Award-winning film The Cove (2009), which used covert techniques to expose the yearly dolphin drive hunting that goes on in Taiji, Japan.