Sampal, pre-escape.
Sampal, pre-escape.
KAWA Dolphins Seapen

Some jerkwads fishing off the coast of South Korea accidentally snared a dolphin a few years ago, and instead of releasing her, they illegally sold her to an aquarium. (KARMA, PLEASE BE REAL.) The dolphin, Sampal, performed at the Pacific Land Aquarium for several years, underfed and no doubt missing her family and favorite TV shows. Then the story gets brighter:

About a year ago, thanks to the efforts of individuals such as Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Sampal and her two companions at Pacific Land were ordered by the Korean High Court to be returned to their home waters. The dolphins were transferred to a temporary sea pen this May for rehabilitation and an eventual release, which was officially scheduled for sometime later this summer …

“They need to be un-trained what they learned at Pacific Land and retaught how to live in the ocean,” said [Dolphin Project Director Ric] O’Barry, while predicting that the dolphins would fare well once they were returned to their home range.

But after only a month of rehab, Sampal spotted a rip in the dolphin pen’s netting and made a mad dash swim for the open seas. (Bustin’ loose!) People were worried she wouldn’t be ready for freedom yet, but like an Amish teenager, she seems to be doing just fine — in fact, she was spotted with her original pod of 50-some dolphins. Aww! Cockles = warmed. (And if anybody tries to recapture Sampal, I will personally find you, confine you to a kiddie pool, and feed you sardines until you see the error of your ways.)