To raise money to help send some Gecko children to ‘The Cove’ in Taiji, Japan to try and help stop the slaughter of thousands of dolphins there every year.
Back in October 2014, Vicki Keily, a resident of Phuket who volunteers for the “Dolphin Project” came to Gecko community to talk to the children about the proposed opening of the dolphinarium in Phuket. She explained all the reasons why the place should not open and explained where the dolphins were coming from.
What happened next?
The children researched all about dolphins, some of them watched The Cove filmed in Taiji. They all decided that it was not a good idea to keep dolphins in captivity, especially considering that five of the dolphins bound for the dolphinarium in Phuket are believed to originate from Taiji.
What action did they take?
The kids wrote persuasive anti dolphinarium posters, signed online petitions, promised never to go to a dolphin show, created message rocks which were taken to Taiji Japan to the Cove, sent letters to the fisheries and government departments, created dolphin art using recycled materials, presented at the AMCHAM conference, attended the dolphin talk in Patong, did a whole day of kids in captivity so they could feel what it was like to be a dolphin in a tank and also went on a boat trip to see dolphins in the wild.
But people want to see dolphins...
Well, we are all very fortunate that we live on a beautiful island and there are dolphins around the waters of Phuket. So, a group from Gecko community hired a big boat and headed out to Phi Phi island with fingers crossed hoping to spot dolphins in the wild. They were lucky, after about 90 minutes, a pod of between 10 and 15 dolphins came to the boat and stayed with them for about 15 minutes. It was magical. It proved that if you live on Phuket you do not have to go to a dolphin show to see these amazing animals.
Patong: Quite a few of the Gecko children went along to the talk in Patong about the proposed dolphinarium to show their support against it.
AMCHAM at Laguna: Three Gecko children even presented at the AMCHAM meeting in December on Marine Tourism. Their message – No Dolphinarium in Phuket.
Message Rocks: The kids painted small pebbles with messages on and gave them to Vicki for her visit to Taiji as a ‘Cove Monitor’. She threw the pebbles into “The Cove” to wish the dolphins good luck. Gecko is continuing the cove message rocks when they go to Taiji at the end of January.
Celi Harper, owner and teacher at Gecko, decided that she should go to Taiji to support Vicki. She told the children she wanted to go and some of them said they would like to join her. So, after a lot of planning, six Gecko children will become the first ever child cove monitors to visit Taiji. They leave on January 29 and will be away for eight days.
Cycling the ‘Road to Sustainable Marine Tourism’ is not just about raising money for the children to visit Taiji, it is about raising awareness for protection and respect of all marine life.
To get in touch, involved, be sure to visit geckoschool.org