When Ric first started training dolphins, there were only three dolphinariums in the world. Now, you can swim with dolphins and see them in action in hundreds of zoos, water parks and vacation destinations around the world.
"[With] all of these captures, you help create the largest slaughter of dolphins on the planet. I have to see this end in my lifetime," Ric says. "Nobody has actually seen what takes place back there, and so the way to stop it is to expose it."
To document the slaughter, Ric and a dedicated group of filmmakers went undercover and risked everything to expose the truth of the cove. "The secret cove is a natural fortress. It's surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs," says Louie, the film's director. "High fences [are] surrounded by razor ribbon."
When the local Japanese government banned Louie's cameras, he found another way in. Louie asked Hollywood special effects masters to build fake rocks to conceal cameras, and a military expert created a balloon device that shot secret aerial footage. Then, under the cover of night, world-class divers planted sound equipment deep in the water.
"I wanted to have a three-dimensional experience of what's going on in that lagoon," Louie says. "The effort wasn't just to show the slaughter. You want to capture something that'll make people change."
After seven attempts and the scariest night of Louie's life, the cameras and microphones were in place. Then, at daybreak, the slaughter began. The cameras captured it all. "It was kind of a collective horror when we started to see the footage. It was mind-boggling," Louie says. "[Fishermen were] slaughtering every one they can get."
The blood of the slaughtered dolphins turned the blue water red.