Dolphin activist in bitter row over funding

2014-06-29 08:36
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Cape Town - Well known South African animal rights campaigner, Nan Rice, has come under fire for apparently trying to use donation money from the Dolphin Action Protection Group (DAPG) to fund her retirement.

According to the Sunday Times, the Capetonian, who is in her 80s, is well known for looking after marine life, including dolphins and whales. However, Rice, who is the founder of the group, is at the centre of a bitter dispute with the group’s committee after she proposed closing it down and using the money for herself.

The group’s money is mostly from a bequest of R1.5m by a wealthy South African who died eight years ago.

Last year, Rice’s plan was blocked by the committee but she retaliated and appointed a new committee at last week’s annual meeting. The matter has been reported to the Department of Social Development.  

The Dolphin Action and Protection Group was founded in 1977 with the motto and policy that “dolphins should be free”.

In 1979 the group launched the “Save the Whales” campaign in South Africa and approached the government in the same year in a bid to ensure whales were protected from killing, disturbance and harassment in South African waters. In 1980 regulations were promulgated, but the whales were only protected in their breeding season. Once again, the group approached the authorities and in 1984 the regulations were extended to protect the whales all the year round.             

The DAPG is a non-governmental organisation, and has launched many successful marine campaigns over the years. It has also run scores of national educational and fundraising campaigns. Every year the group distributes thousands of educational pamphlets through libraries and schools, and to merchant vessels and fisherman, to prevent the dumping of plastics at sea.

The group also campaigns against high-seas pelagic drift-netting and had this fishing technique phased out in the southern Indian and Atlantic oceans. It has also collaborated with Marine and Coastal Management to form the South African Whale Disentanglement Unit (SAWDN) – which aims to prevent whales from getting caught in fishing gear, such as rock lobster buoys.

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