Operation Infinite Patience Week 3
Good news from Taiji, the dolphins are safe…for now!
Report by Cove Guardians Leader Rosie Kunneke
An unidentified white substance on the sick dolphin. Photo: Carisa WebsterThe dolphins passing by Japan's coast had a very hard and tiring Sunday, battling it out with the killers of Taiji, but eventually coming out victorious! The entire fleet of banger boats, 12 in total, left the harbor early in the morning to hunt for dolphins. Around 7:45 a.m., we saw five of the boats on the horizon starting to form their drive formation. Puffs of black smoke could be seen which is normally indicates that they have spotted a pod of dolphins and are chasing after them. The five killer boats chased the dolphins for approximately an hour, when we noticed the other seven boats racing towards them from the south for additional support.
For the next five hours, we watched the 12 banger boats slowly driving the pod from far out in the North Pacific Ocean towards the shores of Taiji. They managed to drive the pod really close to the entrance of the harbor. This is where we suspect the busy shipping lanes lent a hand in favor of the dolphins. The banger boats desperately searched for the dolphins in a scattered formation after each ship passed through for the following two hours. We were really worried the dolphins might become extremely exhausted, which would normally favor the killers, but these dolphins kept fighting and eventually escaped. It was such a relief to know that pod of dolphins are still alive and swimming in the seas!
The rest of the week turned out to be good for the dolphins as well, the the hunters returning emptyhanded on four more days. They remained in the harbor the other two days to bad weather.
Meanwhile, we are keeping a very close eye on the condition of the sick dolphin at the Dolphin Base Resort. This week he appeared calmer and did not spyhop as often. We suspect the injection they administered must have been some sort of muscle relaxer or tranquilizer drug. But during feeding times, he maintains his distance from the trainers by floating in the furthest corner of the pen. Earlier the week we noticed a white substance on the side of the sick dolphin's head. We cannot confirm what this substance exactly was, but it was most likely placed there to heal some type of injury or perhaps an infection. Some swelling was noticed in that area later in the week.
Volunteer Cove Guardian Adriane Bhattarai. Photo: Sea ShepherdThe police deployed two extra police officers to follow the Cove Guardians closely and watch our every move while at the Dolphin Resort. They constantly try to deter us from taking photos. However, as this resort is a public place with many other tourists taking photos as well, the police find it impossible to stay impartial as they do not want to dismay the the tourists from taking photos resulting in lower revenue for the resort’s swim with the dolphins programs.
This past Sunday, a curious whale swam through the waters just behind the dolphin pens at the Dolphin Resort; it was an incredible sight! There was no activity at the harbor to indicate that the fishermen, who also came to look at the whale, had any plans to do capture the beautiful cetacean. We went back to look for it the next day, but could not find it anywhere along the shores of Taiji.
Be sure to visit Sea Shepherd’s official Facebook page to stay current on the Cove Guardians and follow @seashepherd on Twitter as we “Tweet for Taiji” featuring the official breaking news updates as they happen.
Sea Shepherd is still looking for passionate individuals to join Rosie in Taiji to assist her in documenting the slaughter, standing ground to the local fishermen, and pressuring the authorities who allow this barbaric slaughter to take place. We managed to reduce the number of dolphins killed last season by half, and we can do it again this year but we cannot do it without your help as a Cove Guardians volunteer or supporter. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write us at email@example.com
|Sick dolphin with visible under-eye swelling.
Photo: Carisa Webster
|Fishermen and the police gather to view the visiting whale. Photo: Sea Shepherd