Today has been the hardest day I’ve had in Taiji thus far. The cruelty I have witnessed… the senseless treatment and abuse of these absolutely amazing animals has completely broken my heart. It frustrates me so much that I can’t understand the mindset that these humans have… how?… how can you kill a dolphin- let alone any other creature in that way? How can you let a baby dolphin drown, and simply wait for it to stop thrashing… before proceeding to slaughter it, its mother, and entire family pod… I guess some things I’ll never know…
We arrived at Taiji Harbour, just like any other day here in Taiji, and to our dismay, we noticed that all the boats had left- headed straight for the known migratory route just off the coast of Taiji! The instant we realise that the boats are out, I always seem to get a huge knot in my stomach- a pained feeling that never goes away on ‘slaughter days’… All we can then do is hope- hope that the boats come back with nothing, that the dolphins can avoid them for another day. But all the world’s hope did not bring those dolphin hunters back empty handed today. They were out there to find a pod. And unfortunately, they succeeded.
We heard from another Cove Guardian situated on top of a nearby hill overlooking the coast that the pod was of a rather large size. We could see all the boats attempting to drive them in, but were having a hard time doing so…
One half of the pod broke free, three banger boats instantly began to follow it, in order to coax them back in to shore- toward the waters of the killing cove, but they had been outdone by the speedy half-pod… They successfully got away from the dolphin killers. This however, is no reason to celebrate just yet. It is very common for a separated part of a pod to hang around an area, and wait for their family to rejoin them. They would have instantly started to call for their brothers, sisters, mothers and friends once they had escaped the grips of the banger boats… but little do they know that there will never be an answer- for the other members in their family are now never to return to the oceans again. This poses a huge threat to this ‘surviving’ group of dolphins… they will be very hesitant to rejoin their path of migration, without their families. Sometimes a separated pod will be caught the very next day, just because of the fact that they refuse to leave the area without their loved ones… what the dolphin hunters obviously either refuse to or simply don’t realise is that these are highly intelligent, social beings. With loyalty, compassion and respect that it would seem far outstrips that of humans. I am hoping and praying that I do not see the other half of the pod tomorrow… They will live out their lives suffering, and deeply traumatised by the fact that they will never see their family again- this is enough, they don’t need to end up like their sisters, brothers, mothers and children- just so a very small number of humans have food on their plate. Of the very many locals I have spoken to in the area, I have yet to have encountered someone who has tried, let alone enjoyed dolphin meat… which makes me ask the question- where does it all go?
The unlucky pod of twenty or so Striped Dolphins were quickly herded straight into the killing cove, after putting up a good fight! In the end though, they could not escape the deafening clanking, the roaring engines, and the terrifying screams of dozens of men around them… It is so disheartening that these men’s livelihood actually depends on the slaughtering of dolphins… that an occupation of “Dolphin Hunter” even exists in the 21st century. In years to come, I’m sure the children of the next generation will be asking questions in disbelief- ‘how could anyone have let them kill dolphins?’. Just like commercial whaling, as well as the illegal whaling of today’s time- those younger generations in the very near future will look on the people of today’s society and wonder what could possibly have driven us and especially the Japanese Government to kill the most intelligent beings that have inhabited this planet.
I am sure that if anyone could have seen the things I witnessed today… that if anyone was side by side with me up on that hill overlooking the killing cove, you would join me in taking a stand against this slaughter- and vow to do whatever it takes until every beautiful marine mammal in the ocean was ‘safe’ from humans… There were two images from this morning that I cannot shake from my thoughts- and I don’t think I ever will. Honestly, I don’t think I want to either… although it was horrifying, brutal and downright cruel- I feel that if I wipe the memory from my mind, it will be like it never happened- it will be as if these dolphins had their lives stolen from them in vain… I won’t let that happen. Instead, I am going to use the memories of the sights and sounds I encountered today, and use them- every time I feel as though I can’t do anymore, every time I feel as though there’s no hope for the cause. I will remember these images of these animals and remind myself of what they had to endure, and what countless more will have to endure before this is stopped. There is ALWAYS a way… if you’re determined to get there.
The first of these images was of four of the larger dolphins of the pod, and of them trying to get away from the killers… They were side by side- perhaps in the formation they used to use while freely travelling the world’s oceans- and they had half of their bodies up on the rocks of the clifface surrounding the killing cove. They were thrashing their powerful tails (the sound will never leave me now…) and were trying with all their might to be free. They were flailing about so powerfully that they had started to become cut from the rocks, and had wounds developing all over their undersides… the sound of their panic, their screams and the thrashing I don’t think I will ever forget. I will never forget those brave, beautiful dolphins who fought to the end. Some of the dolphin killers saw to it that they met their bloody end quickly- they tied ropes around their tails, and dragged their living, thrashing, fighting bodies underneath the tarpaulins covering the killing cove- and I never saw them again. But the haunting sound of silence that soon followed shook me to my core as I stood up there on that hill… my feet were glued to the ground- and I felt tears well up in my eyes… Iooked to my right and saw three fishermen (sent to ‘monitor’ the movements of activists) gazing back at me- as if daring me to cry, argue, scream or fight… I wiped my face, did neither, and turned my focus back down to the dolphins… where I was to witness the next horrific scene… that I still have no words to describe…
I caught it on film though… and it speaks for itself.
There was a very young, very small calf amongst the family pod. This baby would be no older than a year… for it was quite obviously still suckling from its mother. The video can be viewed by clicking the link below. As I said, it speaks for itself… I still cannot muster words in order to describe it.
There was a lot of silence when we made our way down from the hill, to meet up with the others back at the Cove. We waited up on the hill to witness the dolphins’ bodies covered with green tarps be carted off to the gutting barge- which had been convieniently re-located to a spot behind some large rock formations, just out from the Cove. After seeing this, I didn’t have anything left in me… I had no words to say to the fishermen as I passed- I hope one day they realise their mistake… by having a hand at the theft of innocence, the abuse of beauty and the destruction of family.
Awareness needs to be created worldwide in order for this insanity to stop. Please help by calling embassies, consulates and government officials every time dolphins are forced into the Cove… Become a Cove Guardian- or simply support me and others here and help spread the word about what’s going on… even if it is just to your family and friends…
If you don’t have me added on Facebook, please feel free to add me here,
Thank you all for your continued support, I am definitely feeling it- and it goes a long way to help get through difficult days like today.
Please, spare a thought for the lives of the dozens of dolphins that were killed this morning… don’t let their deaths be in vain. They are the real angels and innocence of the sea… they just unfortunately happened to pass by the Town of Taiji, where there were men with evil intentions waiting for them…
Thanks again guys,
On the path to protect,