Over the past three days, there has been a tangible sense of despair lingering around the town of Taiji. Over the past three days, a family of over 100 Pilot Whales was completely torn apart.
On Tuesday morning, these animals were chased down, traumatised and herded together- their captors taking complete advantage of what mankind has come to learn about cetaceans; their use of sound for sight- or, echolocation. In a chaotic and deafening few hours on Tuesday, these majestic creatures fell from freedom and were confined to nets and jagged cliff-faces- in the next few days, they would lose part of their family.
Yesterday, 14 of the most sizable adults were slaughtered within the killing cove, as the others watched and listened- whilst swimming in the blood of their family members. Another 7 large adults were taken from our oceans early this morning… the rest were released hours later.
Now, the reasoning behind the title of this post serves to highlight the extent of greed which is so readily shown here in Taiji. Each season (between the months of Sep-Mar), the dolphin fishermen are allocated set quotas for individual species of dolphins and small whales…
Theoretically, these ‘quotas’ are set to allow for the ‘sustainable fishing‘ of certain species. However, here in Taiji- we can easily see the blatant abuse of these quotas, and the aftereffects are disastrous. During instances where we see huge pods being driven into the cove (just like the one we have seen over the past few days), only the largest and most profitable dolphins will be selected for slaughter, while the smaller adults, subadults and calves with less meat (therefore, less $$) are released with a high risk that they may not survive themselves.
The factor that is not taken into account is that many of these remaining whales cannot survive without the balanced social structures that they have been developing throughout generations. Therefore- there are many more dolphins and small whales silently perishing at the hands of the dolphin killers of Taiji… yet these are not incorporated into what they write down in their daily inventories after ‘work’. Many of the young pilot whales may perish without the presence of their mothers and elders. Pilot whales are considered one of the more socially dependent species of marine mammal (thought to be one reason for mass stranding episodes worldwide)- they never leave their natal pod.
And so, the next time another large pod makes the unfortunate mistake of swimming past Taiji, it will also incur the same fate; the largest whales slaughtered for meat while the less profitable individuals are left to possibly survive with the memory of their traumatic experience within the cove…
This morning, I was shown from a distance the skeleton of a Pilot Whale that was released from the cove after a slaughter in recent weeks- its’ body had washed up on a beach near the ‘Promontory’, nearby the cove and had largely rotted away- leaving its’ bones exposed. It is clearly evident that these animals struggle to survive without a connection between family members, and just this morning as the dolphin killers were chasing the pilot whales out of the cove- two whales had simply given up- they were virtually motionless and not even the dolphin killers’ attempts at running them down with the propellors on their skiffs could move them out at any pace. One of the whales was reluctantly fastened to the side of a skiff and dumped further out to sea.. their fate will remain unknown.
Once again, the bottom line. Greed.
But there is something that you can do to help! Get educated about what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove every day- you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page. Or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!
I’ll be updating this blog every day once again for you guys to keep updated on what is going on here in Taiji. Tomorrow we’ll have videos up from the last few days.. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments etc to firstname.lastname@example.org :)
After a very intense and horrific few days, we are all hoping for a blue cove tomorrow!