Ric O'Barry, star of last summer's Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", says footage of a dolphin attempting to escape its tank in Japan is proof that these animals need to be set free.

The suicide attempt/escape went down on July 4 at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in southwestern Japan. A species of dolphin, known as a false killer whale, threw itself out of its tank in front of a crowd of spectators, causing screams and gasps from the audience. Trainers immediately ran to its side to spray it with water and get it back into the tank.

"The habitat of that false killer whale is so unnatural it leaped out in desperation," he said in a telephone interview with the LA Times. "It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?"

O'Barry, a former dolphin trainer turned animal-activist, says dolphins are not meant for captivity — moving in circles instead of roaming miles of open sea. "It proves that captivity doesn't work," he said of the videos. "They are free-ranging creatures with a very large brain. They're self-aware, and putting them in a small tank in a stadium setting is abusive."

"Release all of them and find a cruelty-free way of making a living," he added.

Check out the video of the dolphin jump below:

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Cove' star weighs in on dolphin escape video
Ric O'Barry says footage shows why dolphins should not be kept in captivity to entertain us.