Dolphin Escapes Captivity, Finds Her Family In The Wild And Has A Baby
- Linda Chivell
- Saturday, 23 April 2016
Sampal's story began in 2009, when she was accidentally netted by fishermen off the coast of South Korea. Rather than returning her back to the water, as the law dictates, those who caught her instead did the unthinkable — they sold her to a local marine park featuring dolphin shows.
It's there that, for nearly four years, Sampal was kep in captivity in a tiny pool and forced to perform tricks for entertainment. Though thoroughly robbed of any semblance of a natural life, she evidently never stopped longing for her life in the wild.
Then in 2013 her luck changed. After relentless campaughs from animal activists, a Korean high court ordered Sampal be set free. Along with other wild-caught dolphins also held captive, she was moved to a sea pen to begin months of rehabilitation to ready her for release.
Sampal, however, had no interest in waiting. Months ahead of schedule, she slipped through a tear in the pen and disappeared into the ocean beyond.
Initially there were concerns that Sampal was not yet reequipped with the skills needed to survive at sea but she ust days after escaping, she was spotted 60 miles away, swimming with a pod believed to be her original family.
Sampal was finally home — but her story doesn't end there.
Last month, a team from two Korean universities started seeing her again, only this time she was in the company of a calf.
"We have spotted Sampal and her baby swimming in a mother-calf position many times during the recent three weeks," said researcher Jang Soo.
This is believed to be the first time a dolphin freed from captivity has gone on to start a family in the wild, and it need not be the last.
While Sampal's offspring will hopefully never know the sad life her mother had to endure, there are countless others like her in marine parks around the globe — all eager to overcome imprisonment to forge their own new legacies of freedom.
Source: The Dodo