Today, the lives of up to 16 beautiful dolphins were taken from the cove… as well as three that were captured, and separated from their family pod before being driven in skiffs under tarpaulins out past the point- reportedly to be released.
The morning started with a check at Taiji Harbour, to see if any of the banger boats had left to hunt dolphins… It was noted that 11 of the 12 boats were already out in the search for dolphins… After waiting in the cove for a while for news, Scott could be heard on the radio, telling us that a pod had been spotted, and the boats were in drive formation.
It is hard to explain the sudden change in atmosphere in the group once it is confirmed that the Japanese fishermen indeed have dolphins in their sights… We were hoping and praying that this pod could break away from the boats- or that a larger boat would cross their paths, and deter the banger boats from driving the dolphins closer to shore… However our prayers were not answered, and we soon discovered that the dolphins were being herded closer and closer to the cove. Once they reached the mouth of the cove, the intentions of the fishermen became evident within minutes- they wasted no time in herding the whole family pod straight into the killing cove… These were Risso’s dolphins- not a popular species of cetacean to be seen in a dolphinarium, so there was no need to bring in trainers to select any possible dolphinarium prisoners. They were all to be slaughtered.
We noticed a camera crew on-board one of the banging boats, something that no-one had seen before… The camera crew filmed the entire drive into the cove, and appeared to go into the killing cove also. There were three dolphins that were allegedly released from the slaughter- a mother, her calf and also a pregnant female. What a coincidence that the fishermen show ‘mercy’ by releasing these animals on the same day their actions and procedures are being monitored by a film crew. In my experience so far with a lot of the Japanese media that come to the cove, it is largely one-sided and quite biased… It will be interesting to see how much of the slaughter will be shown in the story that comes from this particular film crew.
To get a better look at the dolphins and the actions of the fishermen we ventured a little higher, on top of the hill overlooking the killing cove… here, we could see the fishermen tying the dead bodies of the dolphins to skiffs after about half an hour of slaughtering- we also saw the dolphins to be released under tarpaulins on skiffs, thrashing around, while the fishermen ensured that they remained covered… these three dolphins will never see their family again- they are now swimming in the open ocean off the coast of Japan, calling for their relatives- without a sound in return… it must be a much more empty ocean for them now, with their family having been taken… stolen from the sea.
Up on the hill, we encountered a member of the local police, as well as one of the fishermen of Taiji… there were some interesting discussions and things being said- particularly with the Fisherman. A cove guardian here with us, Yoshiko, is from Japan, and is totally against the slaughter- and came to Taiji in support of Sea Shepherd. She asked the fisherman some confronting questions about his perspective on the slaughter, as well as his feelings toward the sentient beings he has ruthlessly murdered here… I ended up capturing most of Yoshiko’s translation of their conversation on video- and will upload this as soon as I can!
I mentioned before, that a majority of the Japanese-based media focusing on Taiji and the slaughter is quite biased… but this is not the case for every media outlet. We met a young Japanese reporter on the hill and had a great chat with him, once again about his perspective on the slaughter… he said he was there on neither side, but stuck around to listen to us informing him why we were there, and the importance of dolphin conservation in Taiji- not only for environmental reasons, but to salvage the reputation of not only the town, but also Japan… he seemed to really take on board what we were trying to convey to him about the slaughter, and understood our message and where we were coming from… A lot more needs to occur between us and the Japanese people, in order for them to not only understand the situation here in Taiji, but to take notice of the effect it is having on their country… As cove guardian Rupert said this morning, we are here to create the awareness and spread the word about what is going on in the cove, however it is going to be the involvement of the Japanese people that will really change (and eventually stop) this massacre. It is our mission to work alongside the Japanese public to create a better future for their town, their country, and first and foremost, the dolphins of their coast…
It is a challenging, though not impossible task. With Sea Shepherd members Scott and Elora West departing Taiji tomorrow morning, leaving behind Libby and myself here for the next three months, the dynamics of the ground crew here will undoubtedly change… However I believe that the different perspective that females can offer the campaign can be highly beneficial, and incredibly important to helping this campaign reach it’s goal- of no dolphins being in the cove… ever again!
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Thankyou all, once again, for reading and supporting!
On the path to protect,