Illegally captured Korean dolphins freed

The Korean Animal Welfare Association in July 2013 celebrated the successful release of the bottlenose dolphins Sampal and Chunsam, shown en route to release, and Jedol, who were the surviviors among 11 dolphins who were illegally captured in 2009 for the Jeju Pacific Land marine park.

Jeju District Court Judge Kim Kyeong-seon in April 2012 fined Jeju Pacific Land $9,000, issued suspended jail sentences to the company president and one employee, and ordered that the five dolphins from the illegal capture who were still alive and still at the marine park be released. Five dolphins had died. Jedol had reportedly been traded to the Seoul Grand Park Zoo for two sea lions.

The release order was upheld by the Korean Supreme Court. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon ordered that Jedol should be released as well. KAWA and Dolphin Project founder Ric O’Barry in May 2013 moved the dolphins into a sea pen to rehabilitate them for release.

Escaping on June 22, 2013, Sampal rejoined her wild pod within five days. Chunsam and Jedol, were freed on July 18, 2013. Chunsam, a female, soon joined two female dolphins and a calf from her wild pod. Jedol, a young male, has socialized with other dolphins, but has not rejoined a pod.

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