By Kirsten Massebeau
A pod of approximately 50 pilot whales was driven into, “The Cove“, netted off and left for the night on November 19th. In years past the dolphin hunters have stated that the mammoth cetaceans, closest cousin to the orca, were much easier to slaughter and capture after a night without food and water. Cove Monitors commented on the Matriarch moving through the pod the previous night, checking on her family. Nervously she acted as though she knew what lay ahead! There would be no stopping the terror and suffering the dawn would bring.
As the hunters approached in skiffs moving toward the nets in a cold dance of death the exhausted pod panicked realizing the brutality, and carefully calculated torture that would ensue.
The skiffs manned with IMATA certified trainers, the slaughter team, and the cold and cruel hunters on skiffs surrounded part of the pod trapped behind the nets. The horror began as the hunters in black wet suits slipped into the water while the hunters on skiffs roared their Mercury engines in an effort to drive these highly intelligent beings onto the shore of the killing cove.
For many hours the torture and fight for life would continue. Onlookers watched as the pod was wrenched apart and slowly marched to their death.
Only one juvenile was taken for captivity amidst chaos. The price of this pilot whale to a marine park will pay for the entire slaughter and what seemed an endless season of hunting helpless dolphins.
Again and again, the dolphin hunters callously wrangle a panicked whales into nets with the help of divers as the panicked whales watch. As blood begins to spill into the water the family fights harder for life without success. The whales are no match for the humans armed with blades and the bamboo plugs that will impede the blood flow.
As the terrorizing of this pod continued the sensitive pilot whales begin to give up. A whale on his back has accepted there is no hope for his or her family. Their history, their lives are over and he or she knows it.
Tethered by their tails many whales were dragged backwards towards the pithing station under the tarps. Drowning would be merciful compared to the slow and cruel death under the tarps.
Eventually the cove ran red with the blood of these amazing, mammoth individuals. The matriarch and all her family gone forever.
The water became redder and redder as more whales were forced under the killing tarps.
Slowly the five skiffs began to come out from under the tarps loaded with the dead bodies of the pod on their way to the butcher house where they will be packaged and sold.
Is it over? That is yet to be seen as a large portion of the pod remains netted off swimming in the blood of their family. The cold hunters motor by the remaining victims with the bodies of their family, and the matriarch who led them now gone forever. Sadly the hunters left without dropping the nets or releasing the pod, so the fate of the remaining whales who continue to spy hot in a tight cluster is yet to be revealed. They too may be forced to make the death march under the death tarps in the cove, where the slaughterer with his steel pithing blade, and bamboo nails awaits. awaits.
Ric’OBarry had this to say about the pilot whales:
If pilot whales could speak in a language we could comprehend, this is what they would say: First there was “The Cove,” then “Blood Dolphins,” then “Blackfish,” and now, “Just Like Me.” This short video needs to be seen by each and every person in the Faroe Islands and in Taiji, Japan. See this magnificent piece at: DolphinProject.net
Update #3 – November 21, 2015, Taiji, Japan:
“I watched as a youngster kept rubbing its little body against one of the surviving adult pilot whales. When I thought this scene couldn’t get more sickening, I saw another juvenile swim by with blood smeared across its dorsal fin. After over 62 hours of being held hostage in the cove, they were, once again, left alone overnight, with no access to food.” ~ Cynthia Fernandez, Dolphin Project Senior Cove Monitor”.