Why did you choose to write a book for your extended project qualification or EPQ? [a qualification taken by Sixth Formers which is equivalent to 50% of an A level]
When I was younger, I really enjoyed reading picture books; I also enjoyed learning creative writing and illustration at Kellett. Using a picture book as my medium let me explore those skills, and also create something that I loved as a child. The book would be aimed at children, but I hope its message reaches all ages.
Was it hard work?
Not really, I’d say towards the end was the hardest part. Every time I thought it was done, I would find something else I could improve or another mistake. So, after my EPQ I went through multiple additional drafts before publishing.
Where did you get your idea from?
The first documentary I watched was called “Inside the Tank”, it gave both an expert’s and the aquarium’s point of view on orca captivity. This led to many more videos about cetacean captivity. “Voiceless” by Blue Freedom would be the one that really struck a chord with me. Blue Freedom was a student non-profit organisation, and they captured what happened to (mainly) dolphins that were herded into the secluded cove in Taiji, Japan. The waters turned bloody as dolphins were pulled away from their families, some sent off to dolphinariums, others that didn’t make the cut were slaughtered for their meat. The information from “Voiceless” was nothing like I’d seen before, and I couldn’t believe that this inhumane practice goes on yearly, yet I’ve heard nothing about it. It should have been all over the news five years ago, (when the video was uploaded) but there was nothing.
Why are dolphins close to your heart?
After watching “Voiceless”, more disturbing footage surfaced where dolphins were kept in hotel swimming pools, or in a tiny tank that was only slightly bigger than the dolphin itself. As you looked past the ‘happy photos with dolphins’, you see their permanent face shape that gives the illusion they’re happy, paired with their blank, tired eyes while pulled along for a meet and greet with visitors.
I was able to empathise with the dolphins. Their traumatic journey started from being herded inland, torn away from their family, then trapped in concrete walls. I believe it's my responsibility to raise awareness for the cruel experiences they face before performing for our entertainment, and I want people to think twice before going to watch dolphins perform in aquariums. For the last two years, many people have struggled with being trapped in isolation due to Covid-19. Using these experiences I hope that they will also be able to empathise with dolphins.
What are your plans for the future?
In September, I’m heading off to the University of Exeter to study for a BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology. I’m unsure which aspect of conservation I would like to do - all I know is that I would like to make a difference in our world.
The Lonely Dolphin is available to purchase from The Old Kellettonian Shop page, School Shop at Kowloon Bay Campus, and all proceeds will go to Kellett Cares.
Eloise raised a wonderful GBP3,300 by donated her hair and received a personal thank you video from Scott Neeson, Founde… More...