Report from Taiji: December 30
Slaughter-free day number ten brought about a grim discovery at the Dolphin Base in Taiji, Japan. Since the dolphin fishermen have been spreading their holiday cheer elsewhere, the Cove Guardians have been spending a good portion of time at Dolphin Base observing the captives and their trainers.
Yesterday, Cove Guardian Andy filmed what we thought to be an empty pool with water so still that it was collecting algae. When the footage was reviewed back at the hotel, we were all shocked to learn that there actually was a dolphin in that tank. More footage was taken and it is now clear that this dolphin is floating all alone in a dirty tank. There is no pump in the pool making the water near stagnant, with green algae ringing the waterline.
Dolphins are highly social creatures and their need for interaction in order to survive is incredibly high. When this lone little dolphin noticed Andy’s camera being hoisted over the top of the fence, he started to move around and at one point even tried to get the camera, a foreign object in the dolphin’s realm, to play with the buoy it was holding in its mouth.
Dolphin floats in algae-filled pool with no water circulation
at Dolphin Base on December 30th
Video credit: Andy Romanowski (:42)
Initially, I didn’t think anything could be more sickeningly heartbreaking then the sight of a depressed dolphin floating on the surface holding a buoy much like a child would cling to a teddy bear. However, when this dolphin tried to interact with the camera and was encouraging playfulness with the buoy, I stood corrected. It was clear that he was desperate for attention and interaction. Perhaps the reason he is in confinement is due to an illness but the trainers should know better than to take a wild dolphin into captivity in the first place.
Has this world learned nothing from history? We all know beyond a doubt that slavery is morally wrong, so why is it considered acceptable to snatch a dolphin out of the wild, tear it away from its family, teach it to entertain, and then sell it into a lifetime of slavery? The fact that we justify this shameful act of humanity by saying that dolphins are of lesser importance than humans makes me question the sensibility of our species. When in reality both man and dolphin are both highly dependent on one another for survival as a whole.
Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you, but please be patient. We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time. Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome. These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative. We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.
Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them. Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war. This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves. Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Make good consumer choices. Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade. All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.
For the dolphins,
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Rupert Imhoff, who is also assisting with this campaign, has started a YouTube channel of video taken during his time in Taiji.