Sep 08, 2009
Federal documents obtained recently by a watchdog group show the
University of Hawaii paid a $13,200 penalty last year for alleged
federal violations at the former Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal
Louis Herman, UH emeritus professor of psychology, founded the
research facility in 1970 and was president and director of the
Dolphin Institute, a nonprofit scientific and educational
organization. He was fined $7,503, according to documents provided
by the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now.
Frank Perkins, UH vice chancellor for research and graduate
education, said the university disagreed with findings of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service but negotiated a settlement to resolve the case.
The fines "are virtually meaningless," said Michael Budkie,
executive director of the watchdog organization. "The death of the
dolphins probably had more financial significance." His group asked
the National Science Foundation for a permanent ban on funding of
dolphin research at UH and/or to Herman.
Perkins said there has been no ban. He said the alleged
violations were related to a UH research permit and an exhibitor
permit. They generally concerned inadequacy of the facility and
handling of the animals.
The researchers were studying bottlenose dolphins. One died in
2000 of an acute abdominal infection. Two females Herman brought
here from the Gulf of Mexico when they were under 2 years old died
from cancer in 2004, and the last dolphin, a 20-year-old male, died
months later. A necropsy showed no obvious cause of death.
Herman was renowned for groundbreaking studies on dolphin
intelligence, behavior, communication and sensory abilities. His
research was often featured in National Geographic and other
The Kewalo laboratory was demolished last year by the Hawaii
Community Development Authority.
Herman could not be reached for comment.
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