Denver is going to the dolphins at the end of August for Japan Dolphins Day 2012. It will join several cities across the US that hope to raise awareness about the dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan. Digital Journal caught up with event host Heather Hintz.
Hintz is "a musician, a songwriter, a former TV broadcast professional, a jewelry artist" and now an "Animal Welfare activist!" she proudly tells me. And this is her second year organizing an awareness campaign in Denver, Colorado, for Ric O'Barry's Save Japan Dolphins and the Dolphin Project.
As portrayed in the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, the Taiji dolphin drive season is an annual hunt that begins in September and ends in March. The movie revolves around the small group of Japanese fishermen in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan that use boats to drive pods of dolphins into a small cove.
Once the dolphins are trapped they are either slaughtered for meat, or sold to captive marine facilities around the world. Last year, 719 dolphins were killed in the cove; others were sold into captivity to countries such as China, one of the largest purchasers of Taiji dolphins in the world.
Last year's event said Hintz, went well, but despite her background in media at PBS, and in freelance production for many TV and news outlets, getting coverage was tough. Not one reporter or journalist that she contacted (and she "contacted every media outlet in the state of Colorado" she says) would cover it. They all "said no," Hintz explained, citing that "it was not important nor relevant to Colorado, since we have no dolphins here anywhere."
But that didn't stop Hintz. In fact tenacity and a wicked sense of humor appear to be this lady's middle name. After being in an auto accident that crushed her leg and ankle, Hintz found herself confined to a wheelchair for over a year.
It was during this time that she discovered The Cove movie she said. The message it sent was so powerful suggested the activist, that it "shocked me right out of my wheelchair and into action." For this year's event, Hintz is going to extra measures to get the word out, and she has drummed up support from the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), the Boulder non-profit organization who produced The Cove movie.
Two days before the event, on Aug. 29, the activist is planning a free screening of The Cove movie. Then on Aug. 31 at 11:30 AM, she will host a 'Dolphin Appreciation Day' rally outside of the Japanese Consulate, 1225 17th Street, in downtown Denver. In attendance for the rally will be members from OPS and also the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Hintz' event is just one of over 80 cities around the world that will rally for Japan's dolphins this year. It will be the single largest gathering ever for the Save Japan Dolphins campaign as they make make a stand for the dolphins of Taiji on August 31 and September 1.
For further details on the Denver rally or other cities involved, visit the Denver event page, or the global event page on Facebook.