Report from Taiji: January 27
The sun shines on the Cove during a driveAs I sat on the seawall at the Cove during the slaughter today, the shouts of the fishermen echoing from the killing cove and the laughter of the police and coast guard standing behind me, created a mixture of noise that was nearly sickening. For reasons that none of us can pinpoint, today was a particularly harsh and crushing day, and laughter was the last sound I wanted to hear. However, I also did not want to be hearing the shouts of a murder in progress.
Six Risso’s Dolphins were driven into the Cove: three were taken captive, and three were murdered. Although we have seen and experienced worse slaughter in Taiji, today’s events drained each and every Cove Guardian, and long after the fishermen and officials had packed up and gone home for the day, the four of us continued to sit on the seawall, a few mere feet from each other, but lost in our own worlds. We sat for quite some time in silence, processing the slaughter and reflecting on our time in Japan.
Coast guard officials block the bright sun while watching dolphins being driven into the CoveTensions were still running high after our run-in with the police as a result of Bob’s swim a few days ago. Typically, the police and Cove Guardians are on very good terms with each other, and it was only last week that I was practicing my Japanese with one of the policemen. However, after the horrid things that were said to Nao and the way she was treated, today we all chose to ignore each other and it was akin to a lover’s quarrel; both parties acting like the other doesn’t exist but stealing glances when we thought no one was looking. It created an awkward day at the Cove and I believe the tension has the police worrying that we will act out due to spite. But the fact remains that, much like swimming in the Cove, speaking harshly to someone is not illegal. Therefore we must let bygones be bygones, and smooth this rough patch with the police and coast guard. They are a valuable ally and alienating them would not do us, or the dolphins, any good. Just like anything in life, the pros and cons must be weighed and the cause must remain in the foreground.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
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,
Cove Guardians Nao, Nicole, and Libby pose with a friend from Malaysia
Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.