Report from Taiji: January 12
The days here in Taiji seem to be getting progresA trainer at Dolphin Base ignores Misty's
pleas to playsively worse in terms of the increased dolphin killings and their tragic suffering, with frustration and sorrow intensifying as well. Once again today, striped dolphins were driven into the Cove; this time a group of 15 or so. Striped dolphins will spend the majority of their lives in the open ocean, rarely seeing land and it is typically this dolphin species that aggressively panics during the drive and once netted in the killing cove. This type of dolphin ruthlessly fights the driving process and it takes the hunters hours to push them into the Cove. Once netted into the Cove, they go wild with fear and desperation, more often than not becoming entangled in the nets.
Today was no exception. Driving these dolphins into the Cove was a task of great proportion and it took all twelve banger boats and three skiffs to get the job done. Once netted in the Cove, several dolphins found themselves struggling to break free of the nets. The Cove Guardians watched as one dolphin’s teeth got stuck in the net and it thrashed about in terror. A hunter in a skiff approached this dolphin and proceeded to slap at it, shooing it away much like an irritated parent could to their child.
Eventually, the fight left this particular dolphin and it simply began to float, still alive but exhausted. Only to be subsequently grabbed by its tail and forced upside down into the water by a hunter that was, from what it looked like, attempting to drown it.
Misty interacts with another dolphin
in the next tankMuch conversation is circulating on the Internet asking why we are only documenting the dolphin slaughter. Given these hunts are perfectly legal in Japan and part of their so-called culture, and we would promptly be removed by the local authorities if we were to intervene, however, we are here to document the daily atrocities until legislative change can come about.
It is true that the public is becoming frustrated by the fact that the same scenario plays out in Taiji nearly every single day during the hunting season. Magnify that frustration by the largest number you can fathom, and that’s how frustrated the Cove Guardians feel. Being here every single day, witnessing horror every single day, and feeling unimaginably helpless every single day is a burden that cannot be described. But we are here, away from our loved ones and our lives, doing the best we can for the sake of these sentient beings. And what we are doing is making a difference. With the support and encouragement of people around the world, we are all making a difference. I want to thank every single person that reads the Cove Guardian updates on Sea Shepherd’s website and follows our Facebook pages. Together we will stop this.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
Dolphin Base: From the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or send email to email@example.com
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,
A dolphin struggles in a fisherman's net in the Cove on January 12th
Video credit: Nicole McLachlan (1:34)
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.