Tune in today at ~ 1 pm pt to watch the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian live stream at: http://livestream.seashepherd.org.
TAIJI, Japan — Five separate pods of Bottlenose dolphins were driven into Taiji’s infamous killing cove yesterday and held overnight. This now massive pod of more than 250 dolphins includes babies and juveniles, including a rare albino calf who has been clinging as closely as possible to his or her mother in the stress and panic of the drive hunt. If not killed, the albino will most certainly be taken as a novelty for Taiji’s local marine park attractions. In some cultures, it is taboo to capture or otherwise harm albino animals, as they are considered “spirit” animals and hunting them is thought to be bad luck.
Today, the members of the pod will face a violent and stressful captive selection process. Babies and mothers will be torn from each other’s sides as some are taken for captivity, some are killed, and others are driven back out to sea to fend for themselves. Taiji dolphin killers and trainers work side-by-side to choose those deemed suitable for captivity – the “prettiest” dolphins without visible nicks or scars. Those taken captive are forced to watch as the remaining members of their family are brutally killed for human consumption. The dolphin meat is sold by the Taiji Fishermen’s Union despite the fact that it contains high levels of mercury and other harmful toxins. We anticipate going online from the Cove with our live stream today at ~ 1 pm PT as the captive selection and slaughter begin. Please spread the world by sharing our URL with your audience: http://livestream.seashepherd.org
Along with the 250+ Bottlenose driven into the cove yesterday, 3 captive Bottlenose were transferred from the Taiji harbor pens to the Hotel Dolphin Resort, and 4 Pantropical Spotted Dolphins were transferred via truck toward Osaka. The destination for the spotted dolphins is unknown at this time but Cove Guardians are following the truck as far as possible to try to determine the dolphins’ ultimate destination.
The new year has already been an extremely bloody and brutal one for the dolphins and small whales in Taiji. Approximately 176 have been slaughtered and 24 taken captive in just 9 days. This includes 4 different species of dolphins, just since the hunt resumed following the holiday break.
The drive hunt and slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs throughout Japan each year. Japan refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these imperiled animals. The most well-known among these annual hunts occurs in Taiji from September 1st and usually continuing through March of the following year. Fishermen herd entire cetacean families into shallow bays where they are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their blowhole to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family. These inhumane killings would not be allowed in any slaughterhouse in the world.
Taiji’s annual dolphin slaughter was virtually unknown until Sea Shepherd released covertly obtained footage and photographs taken at the Cove in 2003, followed by further international attention due to the Academy Award-winning film The Cove.
CALL TO ACTION: Join Sea Shepherd in speaking out for the largest Bottlenose pod ever driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Please find contact information for embassies and consulates and more information about What You Can Do here: http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/what-you-can-do.html
About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA: Founded by Captain Paul Watson, a world renowned, respected leader in environmental issues and co-founder of Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) USA is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced oceanic ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. Visit www.seashepherd.org for more information.