"I feel somewhat responsible because it was the Flipper TV series that created this multibillion-dollar industry," he says. "It created this desire to swim with them and kiss them and hold them and hug them and love them to death. It created all these captures."
After seven years of training dolphins, Ric says he realized these intelligent mammals were suffering in captivity. He became an activist the day he says Flipper took her own life. "She was really depressed," he says. "I could feel it. I could see it."
Since dolphins and other whales are not automatic air breathers like humans, Ric says every breath they take requires conscious effort. "They can end their life whenever life becomes too unbearable by not taking the next breath. She did that," he says. "She swam into my arms and looked me right in the eye and took a breath and didn't take another one."
The next day, Ric went to jail for trying to free a dolphin, and ever since, he's been on a mission to release dolphins from captivity.