Pacific Horror

Dolphins Peru

Why a documentary?

Up to now, it is largely unknown that year after year up to 15’000 dolphins suffer a painful death in Peru. Despite a hunting ban, local fishermen keep harpooning the marine mammals to use their flesh as shark bait. The massacre is taking place at sea – hidden from the eyes of the public.

Documentary as a turning point

In late 2013 Stefan Austermühle, biologist of German origin and president of OceanCare’s partner organisation Mundo Azul, managed to go incognito along with a fishing boat and – risking his life – to film what was going on for one month. He documented how the fishermen used hand harpoons to hunt the dolphins, letting them bleed in the water to attract sharks. As soon as the dolphin is devitalised, it is pulled into the boat and dismembered to use the flesh as shark bait. The sharks, too, are suffering a gruesome death. By now the shark populations of Peru’s coastal region became dramatically overfished.

Filmteam in Peru

Stefan Austermühle’s footage is made into a documentary on the dolphin hunt in Peru. This documentary is to inform and alert the people of Peru – as well as the public worldwide – and to make the Peruvian government act.

Public pressure is effective: Even in Japan, such a documentary (“The Cove”) contributed to lower the number of dolphins killed in dolphin drive hunts by more than 50%.

Organisations involved

Stefan Austermühle

The German biologist, resident of Peru, has been campaigning for dolphin protection and species conservation for 30 years – since 1999 as the president of marine conservation organisation Mundo Azul.

In 1995 he supported, still from Germany, Peruvian conservationists already in their first campaign against killing dolphins for human consumption. Two years later he played a major role in achieving the dolphin hunt ban in Peru. In 2000 his undercover research exposed illegal killing of dolphins for human consumption for the first time. Over the subsequent years he worked with Mundo Azul to achieve more effective police investigation.

In 2013 Stefan Austermühle risked his life to make the first ever footage of fishermen illegally and ruthlessly hunting dolphins for shark bait.

Mundo Azul

Mundo Azul was founded in 1999 and aims at protecting and preserving marine biodiversity and marine habitats.

Mundo Azul has good connections around the globe and developed into the most important coastal and marine conservation organisation in Peru. The organisation’s work has been recognized several times. Mundo Azul received the “Cambie” Award of the University of the South Pacific for their achievements in protecting endangered dolphins in 2003, and the “Cambie” Award for marine habitat conservation work in 2004. Further, a coalition of 24 international NGOs decorated Stefan Austermühle with the “Dolphin Defender” Award 2014 for his heroic activities in dolphin protection.

OceanCare

OceanCare has been working for the protection of marine mammals and oceans since 1989.

With research and conservation projects, campaigns, environmental education as well as its contributions to a range of important international committees, OceanCare has undertaken concrete steps worldwide to improve the conditions of life in the world’s oceans. In 2011, OceanCare was granted Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations to provide expert advise on questions surrounding the protection of the marine environment.

Bluevoice

BlueVoice is an ocean conservation organization founded in 2000 by Hardy Jones and Ted Danson.

Its mission is to protect dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals and to raise popular awareness about the plight of the oceans. BlueVoice has fought to end the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and to expose the harmful levels of toxins in the marine environment, including mercury, PCBs, and persistent organic pollutants, and their impact on both marine mammals and humans.

One Voice

For two decades One Voice has campaigned for animals to be protected and respected as sentient beings.

The organisation investigates and exposes animal suffering around the world, raising awareness, calling for legal protection and working with enforcement authorities to end animal suffering. In 2004 a One Voice investigation in Taiji revealed the connection between the international dolphin captivity industry and the Japanese dolphin slaughter. The investigators documented the capture of more than 200 bottlenose dolphins, revealing the presence of dozens of dolphin trainers gathered to select the best dolphins.