Friday 26 October 2018 | 8

But where is Martinha, the dolphin saved then held in a tiny pool for a decade?

A coalition, of which One Voice is a member of, made up of marine mammal advocates and experts, is asking for answers from the Portuguese government and an NGO to find out where Martinha is, a dolphin saved and then locked up in a private pool for ten years.

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Martinha, a female common dolphin, was stranded on the Portuguese coast in September 2007. Her rescuers left her languishing in a swimming pool, whose water was reaching her waist for ten years. They have repeatedly promised Martinha's rehabilitation and release to the sea, but there is strong reason to believe that she is still detained in conditions that seriously affect her well-being.

In 2014, Dr. Ingrid Visser, a New Zealand marine biologist and cetacean specialist, and Alexander Sanchez, a Spanish expert on cetaceans, including the rescue of dolphins, conducted an inspection. The report, following this visit, has raised many concerns about its living conditions. After these revelations, many scientists, marine mammal and conservation scientists, as well as NGOs from around the world, formed an informal coalition dedicated to Martinha's well-being. The coalition demanded information on the release of Martinha and offered to help the authorities responsible for her care.

"In studying Martinha's situation, we learned that the NGO Sociedade Portuguese da Vida Salvagem (SPVS) that had rescued him, had a second common dolphin named Barra, who shared the same pool as Martinha," Alexander Sanchez said, member of the coalition.

"Unfortunately, Barra died after barely three years in captivity. This same NGO had, in the past, already saved a pilot whale, which was then transported to the Lisbon Zoo to perform in a show alongside larger dolphins. He too is now dead. "

"This kind of intervention is extremely disturbing," said Alexander Sanchez, "it's not really about rescues, on the contrary, these animals are doomed to suffer for years."

Martinha was not born in captivity. It is therefore the responsibility of the Portuguese Government. The Portuguese authorities and the NGO SPVS refused to reveal the exact location where she was detained. They did not confirm that she was still in the private pool, despite requests from the coalition.

Since August 2014, the coalition has continued to offer support to the NGO SVPS in order to independently assess Martinha's well-being. They also proposed to provide a relaxation program and solutions to promote general well-being and improve the living conditions of Martinha.

In August 2016, despite many efforts to establish a dialogue, the NGO SPVS stated that the coalition had no reason to raise such doubts and certified the welfare of Martinha link to SPVS statement. However, to date, the SVPS has not provided any evidence.

"I have visited more than 30 structures around the world holding dolphins in captivity and the pool of Martinha ranks among the worst," said Ingrid Visser. "Given the appalling conditions in which Martinha and Barra, who I myself witnessed, were detained, I was very disappointed to learn that the SVPS rejected all the help offered by world-renowned experts."

The coalition is making continuous efforts to help Martinha. They contacted the Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas (ICNF), the Portuguese CITES Management Authority, as well as the body legally responsible for protecting Martinha and supervising her care. In February 2017, the ICNF responded that Martinha had the best possible medical care and conditions of detention in a newly built releasing facility. However, to date, no other information, including the location of this establishment, has been provided and all other requests have been rejected by the ICNF.

Martinha is a dolphin born in the wild and currently hidden by its "rescuers".

"Today, we do not know where she is, what her physical and psychological condition is, whether she is held alone in captivity, let alone whether she is still alive," Alexander Sanchez said. "For all these reasons, we have decided to make public our concerns, hoping that the public will lobby the ICNF and / or SPVS for more information on her condition. Of course, we continue to offer our expertise to improve the situation of Martinha and give her the most enjoyable life possible. Please sign and share this petition!

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Comments 8

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Karine et Philippe | Thursday 01 November 2018

Comment peut-on violer ainsi les droits des animaux et enfreindre les lois en vigueur. Il est urgent de savoir où se trouve "MARTINHA" afin de la libérer et de la transférer dans un sanctuaire marin où elle pourra s'épanouir et vivre en paix. Les hommes politiques de tous les pays doivent s'engager pour le bien être animal et faire respecter et appliquer les lois, afin que plus personne n'ait le droit d'exploiter ou d'asservir les animaux. Ils sont nés libres et doivent le rester, protégés de l'homme qui est le plus prédateur.

Luna | Friday 26 October 2018

Je veux savoir ce qu'elle est devenue.

Nath91 | Friday 26 October 2018

Comment peut on être aussi horrible!!!!

Strega59 | Friday 26 October 2018

Comment peut-on de dire sauveurs quand on fait endurer cela à un animal...liberez la 🐬🐬🐬🐬