Three days ago, I sat along a breakwall just down the road from my house in Australia- I watched alongside a dozen or so locals as a small pod of bottlenose dolphins happily played in the waves in front of us, two small calves amongst them… I watched in awe and sadness, as I thought of what I would be witnessing only a few days later.
Today- my first ‘slaughter day’ since my return to Taiji- I lived out the horrible memories from last year once again, the troublesome dreams that haunted me for months after my return from Taiji in March this year… I heard the sounds of the banger boats… a sound that will always stay with me. A sound of death, greed and human indifference to other sentient beings.
This morning, we awoke and headed straight for Taiji Harbour, only to find all twelve banger boats promptly leaving for their hunt as we slowly drove by.
The hunt was long this morning. As we reached the Promontory (a headland near Taiji which gives a good view of the coastline and hunting area for the dolphin killers), it wasn’t long until we noticed that the banger boats had begun forming a line- a dreaded formation that can only mean one thing- they had found a pod of dolphins…
It was a long and tiresome fight for the pod of Striped dolphins in Taiji today… It was literally hours before the banger boats managed to force them into the harbour of Taiji. There were a few hopeful moments where it had looked as though the dolphins had out-swum the boats, but being in Taiji long enough will teach you not to raise your hopes too high- as you won’t just be disappointed if you’re wrong- you’re heartbroken… the emotional rollercoaster that we endure here is something I have never (and probably will never) experience anywhere else.
After a long fight- the striped dolphins grew weary and were forced closer to the mouth of the cove. This is when something happened very quickly- it seemed that a few of the pod had broken free from the rest… There looked to be up to 15 or so dolphins as they were driving into the harbour, but we could only count 8 or 9 by the time the nets were being draped across the cove. It seemed that at least a few dolphins narrowly escaped the brutal clutches of mankind’s terror this morning… The next hour or so was filled with the deafening yells from the men within the killing cove- struggling to keep the small pod of frantic and terrified dolphins from throwing themselves out of the water onto rocks, cutting themselves up so badly that blood would stain the water around them as they swum away… The yells of the men and the thrashing and ‘screams’ from the dolphins within the cove filled the air- it seems torturous that all we can do is document what happens from a nearby cliffside and spread it as far and wide across the world as possible… This is madness, I thought as I looked on in agony.
After another twenty or so minutes, the cove becomes suddenly quiet… after a short time, the skiffs emerge from underneath the plethora of tarpaulins that cover the beach of the cove from sight. The bodies of the dolphins are thrown into a small boat, covered by a green tarp and are then driven to the Fisheries Union (butcherhouse), with some of the dolphin fishermen sitting casually on top of the bodies underneath…
Then, it’s all over… for the dolphin fishermen’s working day, and for the lives of creatures that would once have been travelling great distances each day, playing and socialising along the coastlines of the world- mothers, sisters and brothers amongst them- their own social network and family… gone from the oceans.
The potential for this town to grow and thrive into an amazing eco-tourism sanctuary is astonishing… whale watching nations and towns could only ever dream of having such a vast array of species and diversity of cetaceans gracing their shores. This is a topic I will delve deeper into in the coming weeks…
Please keep updated on what is happening here in Taiji every day… keep the pressure upon the Japanese Embassys across the world- let them know that the world is watching, and will always be watching, the cove and the dolphins of Japan. Head to this site to find out how you can help.
Watch my video below that I filmed today here in Taiji- spread it as far and wide as you can, and keep telling everyone you know about what happens not only in Taiji, but worldwide. Spread the word about conserving our marine life… before it’s too late.
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Thanks again for all the support guys,
On the path to protect,