Marineland Owner to Sue U.S. after Customs Seize 6 Dolphins

Published in the Toronto Star, written by Jim Wilkes.

The owner of Niagara Falls, Marineland and game farm says he will sue the U.S. government for “at least 3-million” for the loss of six dolphins en route to Canada which were seized by Texas customs officials and dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

John Holer, owner and founder of Niagara Falls ONT,, Tourist attraction called the seizure “an act of piracy”

Agents of the U.S. National Fisheries service boarded a Toronto- bound Millardair DC-3 aircraft on Friday after poor visibility and freezing rain forced the plot to make an unscheduled refuelling stop at Jefferson county Airport near Beaumont Texas.

The cargo of eight dolphins was confiscated.

Captured in Mexican waters over 2 ½ months the dolphins were to be stars in a new 10-dolphin show, part of a $50 million expansion at Marineland.

Six of the Mammals were released into the Gulf off Sabine Pass near the Texas- Louisiana border, by U.S. Coast Guard crewman supervised by officials of the customs and fisheries service.

The remaining two dolphins both males arrived in special slings aboard the DC-3 at Toronto International Airport on Saturday night. They were taken in heated van to Marineland. Both were reported active and well yesterday.

Holer said in a telephone interview last night from Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, he tried unsuccessfully to bargain for return of the dolphins after he was informed customs officials were imposing U.S. federal regulations prohibiting the transport or handling of endangered species.

“I told them I had a permit from the Mexican Government authorizing the export of the dolphins, but they would hear none of it” he said.

Holer said he plans to go to Mexico City today in an attempt to secure a new permit to catch six replacement dolphins.

Two Dolphins not seized by U.S. customs officials in Texas arrive at Toronto International Airport Saturday night. Marineland attendants carry one of the lanolin-covered mammals in a sling from Millardair DC-3 for the rest of the trip.

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