Risso’s Dolphins are First Victims of Taiji “The Cove” Dolphin Hunting Season 2014

By Kirsten Massebeau

The string of “blue cove days” ended September 16, 2014 as an innocent pod of Risso’s dolphins was driven into a remote cove in a state park in Taiji, Japan where a handful of men captured, and then slaughtered the entire pod. The yearly capture and slaughter of dolphins was made famous in 2009 when the documentary, “The Cove” was released revealing the inhumane and cruel treatment of these highly intelligent beings whose lives are destroyed for aquariums, food, and fertilizer. The hunt that takes place each year from September until March is brutal, grueling, cruel and deadly for the dolphin victims that attempt to travel past Taiji, Japan located in the Wakayama, Prefecture.

For several hours the  pod of Risso’s dolphins fought bravely for their lives but sadly they were no match for the hunters with their high powered Mercury engines and banger poles. The family was driven into the cove, pushed under the killing tarps, and then were quickly transported to the butchers house, the entrance known as “Death’s Door”.

While the Taiji Whale Museum and ISANA dolphin hunters union continue to scream culture and “tradition” this is absolutely untrue. The dolphin drive began in 1969 as pest control and then only a few years later aquariums began buying dolphins from dolphin drive fisheries. In the early 1980’s SeaWorld and other marine parks began to underwrite the drive fisheries began to underwrite dolphin drive fisheries for display. 

 Ric O’Barry states that the “World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has the power to end this if they would stop these captures”. They must immediately expel the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) responsible for blood dolphin trafficking. “They get as much as $154,000 dollars for one dolphin for an aquarium or marine park”. In a recent CNBC interview Ric O’Barry star of The Cove, and head of The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project points out a graph that shows the slaughtered dolphin numbers dropping ( the meat is toxic only eaten by a few!) while captures for aquariums are increasing. Ric’s wish is to bring Carolyn Kennedy who spoke out against dolphin drive fisheries last season to come to The Cove” and see first hand the terrible dolphin death and suffering that goes in Taiji, Japan and their strong ties to the captive industry.

Taiji Dolphin Predators Cannot Hide The Truth

By Kirsten Massebeau

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Capture Risso’s Dolphin Drive November 19, 2012

Another pod of Risso’s dolphins approximately 15-20 found themselves surrounded and then driven to their death on October 19, 2012. Taiji, Japan  is a place where compassion towards dolphins is not common place.

Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians Capture an image of a tail roped dolphin being dragged to slaughter November 19, 2012

The dolphin hunters of Taiji have been devoid of feeling as evidenced by their consistently cruel and inhumane treatment of dolphins since they began the dolphin drive as we know it today that began in 1969 (source)

A Risso’s dolphins suffocates trapped in a net as hunters stand by doing nothing. Photo by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians November 19,2012

The hunters are a small group of men that have gone to great lengths for many years to hide the horrible death and suffering they have wrought upon dolphins. Fortunately the dolphin/ocean activists will always expose the truth. In making The academy award-winning documentary film “The Cove” Ric O’Barry, Louis Psihoyos and their team used a James Bond style approach that allowed the film-makers to capture the ugly truth about what was happening to dolphins in Taiji, Japan. The world was shocked and the film gave way to an organized presence of volunteers each year during the drive season. From September to March,  Sea Shepherds Cove GuardiansSave Japan Dolphins Cove Monitors, independent volunteers and other organizations, are the watchful eyes for the dolphins recording and reporting on the terrible dolphin suffering.

Despite several blue tarps SSCS Cove Guardian Melissa Seghal successfully takes footage of the Taiji dolphin butchers at work November 19,2012

Know matter how hard the dolphin hunters, and butchers have tried to hide this inhumane slaughter and capture, they cannot be careful enough. The truth will always be revealed.

Two dolphin butchers failed to cover the Risso’s intestines ripped from their innocent bodies. Photo captured Livestream SSCS Cove Guardians November, 19, 2012

The dolphin hunters are determined to continue the dolphin hunt and dolphin suffering indefinitely. At the same time dolphin activists whose ranks are growing exponentially everyday are equally as determined to end the dolphins suffering in Taiji forever. Each and every time the hunters pursue, and harm dolphins activists will be recording and broadcasting the truth about the inhumane treatment of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Risso’s Dolphin Suffering Continues in The Cove

By Kirsten Massebeau

Risso’s dolphins netted off in The Cove, by SSCS Cove Guardians November 13, 2012

On November 13th the dolphin hunters of Taiji, Japan drove yet another pod of Risso’s dolphins into The Cove . This was the third small pod of Risso’s dolphins killed during the 2012-2013 season. A total of 38 Risso’s dolphins have been captured, with only seven being taken captive, four babies and juveniles cast out to sea, and the rest slaughtered.(source)

It is common knowledge that dolphins die slowly in Taiji. In an attempt to hide their dirty deeds the hunters drive a bamboo stake into the wounds to lessen the spill of dolphin blood into the cove extending the dolphin suffering upwards of 10 minutes.

Undercover footage taken by Dieter Hagmann of Atlantic Blue

Hunters and dolphin trainers from Dolphin Resort working side by side November 13, 2012

On November 13th the trainers arrived via skiff to carefully select two Risso’s dolphins for captivity. As the slaughter ensued the Dolphin Resort trainers took the traumatized dolphins away in slings to awaiting sea pens. Once trained the two dolphins can bring in upwards of $150,000.00 dollars each from aquariums, and marine parks worldwide. The meat is worth far less.

Risso’s Dolphins in Slings with Dolphin Hunters and Dolphin Base Trainers by SSCS Cove Guardians November 13, 2012

Only minutes after the skiff with the two captive dolphins left the cove the bodies of slaughtered pod were transferred between boat and skiff. The hunters failed to cover their handy work under yet another tarp of shame.

A dead Risso’s dolphin between boats for trip to butcher house by SSCS Cove Guardians November 13, 2012

Once at the butcher house these poor souls are carved up for local buyers who sell the toxic Mercury laced meat to buyers locally and online. You can see whale bacon for sale on Yahoo.jp.

Taiji, March 10, 2010 Photos by Vantive Foundation

The cruel drive hunt as we know it today began in 1969 and is a combination of a whaling history, pest control, and the hungry captive industry that pays well for their dolphin performers.

One particularly controversial form of these hunts, and the focus of this report, is the “drive
hunt” (sometimes called the “drive fishery” or “oikomiryou” in Japanese), in which dolphins and small whales are corralled by boats and driven, sometimes by their hundreds, into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber. Not all the dolphins are killed, however. A growing and disturbing trend has surfaced that links the thriving aquarium (‘captivity’) industry to this archaic practice. Instead of driving dolphins to their death for human consumption and fertilizer, or as a means of what might be described as “pest control”, resulting from claims that dolphins significantly compete for fish with fisherman, fishing cooperatives are collaborating with national and international aquaria and marine amusement parks to select dolphins from these hunts for public display and human-dolphin interaction programmes. (Source)

What can you do? Our Save Japan Dolphin Cove Monitors and Sea Shepherds Conservation Societies Cove Guardians say don’t buy a ticket! Each and every time someone goes to a marine park, swim with dolphins, or attends dolphin assisted therapy they are supporting the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji. Be a voice for the dolphins! You can learn more at Save Japan Dolphins and The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project. Follow the Cove Guardians live stream direct from the cove during the dolphin drives.

Join us everyday at Champions for Cetaceans on Facebook and on our Sister page Save the Blood Dolphins everyday for drive updates and current dolphins issues.

A Friend to The Taiji Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau

Pilot Whales Driven into the Cove April 28, 2012

“A friend of the dolphins has some sad news. There was a drive hunt on April 28th. 20-30 short-finned pilot whales were captured, several taken to captivity and the rest killed for meat.”

The world continues to buzz about the town of Taiji Japan’s recent announcement that they plan to create a, “Whale Ranch” where dolphins and whales are “raised” and used for swim with dolphins, and cetacean research. “Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, known as the town of whaling, which envisions a “ranch whale” to free-ranging whales and dolphins in charge with a net Moriurawan part of the town. The main purpose of attracting tourists and ecological studies”. Source

As reports of the planned “Whale Ranch” poured in “A friend of the dolphins” brought back the glaring reality of how the coastal town of Taiji treats whales and dolphins. 28 to 30 beautiful pilot whales were driven into the Cove where some were taken captive and the rest brutally slaughtered.

The slaughter of dolphins in Taiji was made famous in the academy award winning documentary “The Cove”.  Ric O’Barry, producer Louis Psihoyos and their team went undercover to expose the cruel dolphin drives of Taiji, Japan. To capture the dolphins the hunters use a technique called Oikomi or “dolphin drives”. They create a semi circle around a pod. They then beat on metal pipes that extend into the water creating a wall of sound. As the dolphins try to get away from the painful noise the hunters drive them into a shallow cove where they select dolphins for the captive industry and then slowly slaughter the rest using a technique called pithing. A metal blade or rod is driven a fist length behind the blow hole in an attempt to sever the spine. They then pound a wooden peg into the wound to impede the blood flow into, The Cove. Here is unseen video by another brave friend to the dolphins Dieter Hagmann that proves dolphin suffering beyond imagination.

On May of 5, 2011 just one year before another pod of pilot whales was driven into “The Cove”. Brian Barnes of Save Japan Dolphins was present gathering media as upwards 80 pilot whales were slaughtered.Today science has proven that dolphins are higher beings with brains as large as mans. This meant nothing to the 23 members of the “Osana Union” that hunt whales and dolphins. To them the pilot whales are no more than, “Gondo” a preferred species for eating. Mothers, babies, mercy is shown to none in the cove where the innocent blood of dolphins continues to flow. Last year a few of the babies were taken back out to sea and released a sure death sentence for young pilot whales. During the most recent slaughter on April 28, 2012 there were no reports of release from the friend. Another pod gone forever. Their song, their traditions gone forever.

Captive Pilot Whale in Taiji “She is an old soul”

As “A Friend of The Dolphins” points some of the unfortunate souls driven into the cove on April 28th were taken captive. They will be sold to dolphinariums, swim with dolphins, and marine parks like Sea World worldwide. The money obtained from the sale of these unfortunate pilot whales pays for drive fisheries to continue mercilessly killing dolphins. The message, “Don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show!”

How to get involved. Join the movement! Save Japan Dolphins continues the battle to end this everyday. Learn more http://www.savejapandolphins.org/.

You can also join us on Facebook at Champions for Cetaceans

“A Friend to the Dolphins Watches Over the Cove”

Rest in peace to the individuals murdered in “The Cove” on April 28, 2012 thanks to “A friend to the dolphins” they will not be forgotten and their deaths will not go unrecognized.

Academy Awards Simultaneous With Dolphin Slaughter in The Cove

By Kirsten Massebeau
Pantropical dolphins, Ogasawara Islands, Japan
Pantropical Dolphins

As always the 2012 Academy Awards began with a bang. Stars walked the red carpet with the glitz and glamour the world has come to know. As the stars stepped one by one before the snapping cameras describing their outfits another procession, a single file procession was happening on the other side of the world. A pod of 98 beautiful pantropical spotted dolphins was driven into the cove in Taiji, Japan, made famous by winning an academy award only a few years prior in 2009. Horrified volunteers watched as families, mothers, babies, children were driven under the blue tarps by the brutal hunters where they were slowly slaughtered. One dolphin caught on video was partially paralyzed spinning out of control, suffering a slow death last 10 minutes.

The killers of Taiji show no mercy to these dolphins families all in the wake of scientists calling for cetaceans to be given status and non-human persons http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16174092. Although the 2009 documentary has brought great attention to the dolphin hunts off the coast of Taiji, Japan it has not convinced the hunters to stop. Tim Burns of Save Japan Dolphins recounts local reaction to what was a particularly bloody day of suffering for dolphins at the cove:

“Normally, the “Town of Taiji representatives” stare into the Cove as it is happening, but today, once the blood began to flow, they all backed away from the cliff and just looked at us.  Normally they smile and joke back and forth with each other, but not today.  Today they witnessed as we did the brutal disregard for life that these 26 hunters have.  Today they all witnessed how no care is taken for a “humane” end to these dolphins’ lives, but rather an intentional barbaric slaughter.   I suspect tonight at the diner table there will not be any talk of a great, rewarding day at work”. http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/today-was-awful#.T0vCd8S9-b9.facebook

Money talks in Taiji and there seems to be no lack of orders for captive dolphins. A dead dolphin is hardly worth a 1000 dollars for their meat today. Many of these beautiful sentient beings end up packaged on the sale shelf or in dog food. The meat is known to be toxic with Mercury, PCB’s and other toxins http://bluevoice.org/news_dolphinmeat.php So what drives the hunt? A captive dolphin can be worth as much as 200,000 dollars trained. These dolphins are then shipped around the world by companies like Hong Kong Airlines that use dolphin coffins http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-27/airline-moving-dolphins-in-flying-coffins/3853928/?site=newcastle to carry these traumatized victims to their ultimate destinations, SeaWorlds, Swim with dolphins, marine parks, and dolphin assisted therapy. All for the sake of human entertainment and pleasure.

Many stars, some on stage last night, like Ben Stiller have stood up for the dolphins in Taiji. Public Service Announcements featuring some of our most famous hero’s of the film industry have spoken out against this cruel hunt. Ultimately the message is the same. Please don’t buy a ticket to see or interact with dolphins in captivity. The captive dolphin industry supports the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji. A handful of greedy men are making the money  of so much dolphin misery. Isn’t it time we stopped it.

Let us fight for our ocean counterparts that they may too someday swim down the red carpet of the ocean loved by humans, treated as the amazing and beautiful stars they really are in their own world the oceans. Our voices together can end this. Alone we are but one drop of water, together our voices become an ocean that demand change for the monarchs of the sea.

Join us as we fight to save the monarchs of the sea each and everyday!




Live Stream Maybe Game Changer for Dolphins in Taiji Japan

By Kirsten Massebeau

Photo Provided by Leah Lemeux Save Japan Dolphins 1/07/12

In 2009 Ric O’Barry‘s academy award winning documentary, “The Cove” was released and it shocked the world http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cove/. The documentary exposed Taiji, Japan a place where every year 2000 dolphins are hunted using a technique called, Oikomi, or drive fishery. Hunters go out in metal boats with fluted poles attached to the sides that reach into the water. Once the small fleet of hunters locate dolphins they quickly create a half circle and then beat on the metal poles creating a sound that is extremely painful to the dolphins.The dolphins, with their acute hearing attempt to flee from the pounding that is amplified underwater. As they  attempt to move away from the sound they are driven into the deadly bay where captures and slaughter are performed.  Once netted off trainers arrive to select the young and most attractive dolphins. The rest of the pod is then slowly slaughtered as seen in Dieter Hagmann’s graphic video footage secretly obtained in 2010-11 season. A striped dolphin can be seen  suffering for over seven minutes as a hunter stabs, and slices while filling the wounds with bamboo nails to impede the blood flow thus hiding the horrendous nature of the slaughter. Throughout the video the dolphin remains conscious suffering an inhumane death beyond imagination.

The dolphin hunters of Taiji, are a small group of men, who have used every possible means to hide their cruel, and sadistic treatment of dolphins but watchful continue to capture video and now live footage. Since release of the Cove the number of more dolphin conservationists arrive in Taiji every winter ready to bear witness for the dolphins.

Social media has become key in these efforts. Volunteers on the ground in Taiji relay messages via Twitter and Facebook to groups like Taiji Dolphin Action Group who then post drive updates to members who then push the information along, ultimately trying to reach people outside of their circle who have no idea this sad practice takes place each year from September to March of every year in Taiji, Japan. The group boasting over 5000 members has a clear mission statement: “Our primary goal is to end the hunt in Taiji. We will accomplish this encouraging and supporting Japanese people to get actively involved. Change ultimately will come from the inside the hearts of Japanese people. However, we also see great value in “Gaiatsu” outside pressure by individuals and groups around the world.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/taijiactiongroup/

Ric O'Barry of Save Japan Dolphins Capturing Live Stream

Ric O’Barry has again found a way to reach the world. Live Stream or Ustream allows real-time coverage. Using an iPad and wireless connection Save Japan Dolphins  has been able to report live from the cove as the boats go out, and as the dolphins are driven in.
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/savejapandolphins. Between January 5th and 10th the Save Japan Dolphins team broadcasted live 25 times from Taiji.

Unfortunately, this new technology and the constant media coverage has not impeded the hunters. Each day pod after pod of dolphins has been driven into, “The Cove”. Most of these innocent souls brutally murdered.  Within a three day period  approximately 105 striped dolphins have died in the Cove, nine Risso’s Dolphins were captured, two of which were captured two selected for captivity http://www.ceta-base.com/drivefisheries.html.

Video Provided by Save Japan Dolphins

When will the inhumane slaughter and capture of these gentle beings end. The dolphin meat is laced with Mercury and PCB‘s http://bluevoice.org/news_dolphinmeat.php yet the killing continues. What will make the hunters turn away from this unsustainable practice. And when will the world open their eyes and hearts to our ocean friends who deserve so much more from mankind. How long the drive continues is unknown at this point but one thing is for certain. Dolphin conservationists will not give up. They will use media of all kinds to reach the world and people of Japan until the inhumane dolphin drives have ended.
What can you do? Follow any of these links to become an advocate for the monarchs of the sea that need our help so desperately.




Dolphin Blood Continues to Spill in The Cove

RIP Sweet Angels

Via Leah in Taiji with Save Japan Dolphins:

“What a feeling, to stand there over the Cove, filming and shaking as those last two Rissos dolphins, mother and wee tiny baby, fought for their lives and right next to me, a dolphin hunter, recording our every word…. but if you granted me a wish, it would not be the hunter’s death, but for him instead to WAKE UP AND REALIZE what they are doing and CHANGE”

Today marks the third dolphin slaughter this week in “The Cove” made famous in the Academy award winning film. Taiji dolphin hunters continue to drive dolphins into the cove despite opposition. The government of Japan issues permits allowing thousands of dolphins to be slaughtered every year.  In just one week the dolphin hunters have gone out weather permitting, only to drive pods of risso dolphins back to the cove where they have met brutal deaths at the hands of the hunters. The series of killings began with a pod that had mother and newborn baby in tow, went onto another pod of 10-12 and ended with a pod of 10 dying today another baby and mother led to their bloody deaths. “These families  fought hard for their lives” was reported from Taiji. Their fight for life would not be enough to battle the sharp hooks, knives, and bamboo nails used by the hunters. The video below reveals just how horrific their methods of slaughter are causing suffering beyond imagination to these gentle sentient beings.

The Risso dolphins (Grampus Griseus) are similar to the pilot whales as they have the large melon heads, with a crease in the forehead. Risso dolphins are dark gray with criss-crossed all over their body from rough play but also from their encounters with their food of choice deep water squid. They are extremely gregarious, living in pods of 10-30. They are known to be gentle, curious, and a delight to all that encounter them. They are family oriented staying together for a life time. Their Social skill are thought to be beyond mans.

A Pod Risso of Dolphins

As the slaughter continues day after day dolphin activists continue to fight for what is right and true, saving the dolphins migrating by Taiji, Japan! I believe together we can make a difference these dolphins!

RIP to the Mother and Baby Brutally Murdered in The Cove

Please join us as we fight to save the people of the sea! They need our help now more than ever!