Report from Taiji: January 10
View of the Taiji harbor from the Mountain Pass with the captive pens in the bottom left ()Driving through the harbor this morning while finding all twelve banger boats in their slips was a relief of indescribable proportion. Things have been hectic in Taiji since the dolphin hunt resumed this week, and a day off was much needed for the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians. We spent some time sitting on the Mountain Pass overlooking the harbor and the town of Taiji while watching for new ways the dolphin hunters will change their tactics in order to attempt to continually confuse us. We never call it a day earlier than 9 a.m., even if it means that we have to sit in our cold car for hours while watching over the harbor.
Anyone in their right mind can see that the trade of captive dolphins drives this entire operation. Yesterday’s events proved that beyond a doubt, this entire industry is fueled by the sale of live dolphins to marine parks around the world. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t have wasted the resources that they did for those seven dolphins yesterday. From the sale of those seven dolphins, they will net hundreds of thousands of dollars; it’s a very powerful thing when money reaches those proportions.
Although I don’t doubt that certain trainers around the world love their dolphins and whales, I feel that these people perhaps don’t know what love truly is. How can you claim to love something, yet tear it away from its home, knowing that its family will be slaughtered? A good friend of mine back home in the Pacific Northwest of the United States works as a naturalist on a whale-watching cruise out of Friday Harbor, in the San Juan Islands. During a cruise this past summer, one of the guests was none other than Lolita’s trainer. Lolita is an orca that was captured in Puget Sound just over forty years ago in one of the most horrific tales of entrapment known to mankind, and is still in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium. Lolita’s trainer had traveled to see this whale’s family, which still resides in the waters of Puget Sound. When the family pod was spotted, the trainer was unable to control her tears and from what I hear, her guilt was nearly tangible.
A banger pole rests on the deck of a banger boatI tell you this story because it shows hope. If we all take a stand for what we believe in and stand against what we believe is wrong, then eventually change is inevitable. Perhaps together we can stop the captive industry and ensure that the Mistys and Lolitas of the world are given the respect and freedom that all wild animals deserve.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
Dolphin Base: From the United States call: 81-0735-59-3514 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. 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,
A trainer at Dolphin Base puts her arm down the throat of a dolphin
in order to give it medicine on January 10th
Video credit: Andy Romanowski (:21)
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.