Ocean Bestiary

Month: March, 2015

Auction

It shone under the halogen lights. An object of desire. A symbol of power and wealth. The must-have of the millennium.

Sotheby’s had never been so crowded. Forget Monet, Matisse and Picasso oil paintings. This one was unique. Deep frozen. Ice dust on its surface bounced light with diamond-like brilliance.

The forty million dollar mark was long past. The bids kept hitting the auction floor, waves upon waves, each one higher than the last one.

Until it was done.

The last Atlantic bluefin tuna was sold to a man unsure of his manhood. He was a filthy rich tycoon who used death to buy his self-esteem.

Now, the oceans were forever empty of the great predator. In this way, humankind lost its humanity.

 

Author’s note: the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is endangered due to overfishing. You can stop the Auction fable from becoming a reality. Don’t eat sushi or sashimi made with this species. Use a Sustainable Seafood Guide to choose wisely. Support the conservation of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Learn more at the WWF bluefin tuna project

 

Bluefin tuna. Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres

Bluefin tuna. Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres

Home

Salty. No boundaries. No empty echoes bouncing into her lower jaw, but the complex image of the seafloor only her sophisticated echolocation can provide. Seeing with her voice, her birthright, denied to her in prison.

So many years performing circus tricks just to get a bunch of disgusting dead fish: up into the air, through the hoop, forward, backward. The endless laps she swam in that fish pond, trying to bring peace to her restless body. Dozing on and off from the drugs she was given by her trainers. The anguish, the torture, the solitude.

And one day, humans different from the ones who captured her as a baby, took her to cooler and cleaner waters. A bay up North, with a delicate barrier separating her from the Big Blue.

She has been listening to the songs of her long lost family. And what sweet voices they are! She sings them her name, as taught by her mother. And they reply: “Come to us, we are waiting for you”.

Now, the sea pen is open. The boundless ocean awaits.

Today, she is going home.

 

Author’s note: I dedicate this fable to all the captive orcas and dolphins worldwide. May humanity understand one day the atrocity of incarcerating these highly intelligent and social animals. Then, I hope we use science-based protocols to rehabilitate them back into the wild ocean.

Closeup orca (Orcinus orca). Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres

Closeup orca (Orcinus orca). Iridescent oil pastels on paper. Credit: Sarah Frias-Torres