After Years of Captivity, Kidnapped Dolphins Re-Learning What It’s Like to Be Free


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 In 2009, five Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, including two named Taesan and Boksoon, were kidnapped from their ocean home in the waters off Jeju Island and sold to an entertainment park in South Korea where they were forced to perform – but, these dolphins, it seems, may be destined for a happier ending then most, because today, they’re learning what it’s like to be free again.

According to The Dodo, in 2013, a Supreme Court ruled that the dolphins were to be granted freedom and returned to the ocean. Of course, after years of captivity, they couldn’t just be released into the wild without re-learning survival skills. Three of the stolen dolphins were able to leave within just a few weeks, but Taesan and Boksoon were suffering with health issues and showing signs of anxiety due to abuse. Unfortunately, there was no money to treat them, but thanks to several Korean animal rights organizations that campaigned to donate money for their treatment and training, their efforts paid off in March of this year, when the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries was able to move forward with the training and eventual release.

On May 14, Taesan and Boksoon were finally able to take their first step toward freedom by leaving Seoul Grand Park and heading back home to Jeju, where they’ll be trained for one to two months, re-learning what it’s like to be free before they’re released back into the wild….where they belong.

As for Chunsam, Jedol and Sampal, the dolphins released back into the wild two years ago? They are now thriving.