An Era Ends as Dolphin, and BBC Wildlife Photographer-Filmmaker is Denied Entrance to Japan

By Kirsten Massebeau

On February 14, 2014 (Japan time), Martyn Stewart dolphin and BBC wildlife photographer-filmmaker was held in custody at Osaka Airport where he was grilled by Japanese authorities, and  eventually expelled from the country following a grueling interrogation. Martyn reached out to his many friends and followers from his detention cell at Osaka Airport, posting on Facebook:

“I am Locked in a cell room at Osaka airport waiting on an appeal to the high minister regarding my entry into Japan. I’m accused of being sea shepherd and an Eco terrorist, my footage is not liked in Japan apparently and have been accused of assaulting members of the public. In 4 years of being here for the dolphins I have maintained the law and abided by their rules. My words and pictures did the rest. The government of Japan will do anything to protect the rights of the fishermen of Taiji and the barbaric treatment of the animals involved.
Please share far and wide to bring awareness to this corrupt government and those that want to continue to brutally treat these amazing animals. The condition I’m in and the treatment I have received is nothing short of criminal”. — at Kansai Airport Line.

“Incredible feelings again in my stomach, I never thought i would come back here again so soon but things just happen like this in life, weird! It’s not the place you would want to keep coming back to, i mean you wouldn’t keep going back to a shitty restaurant, right! This place just has me tied up too much though, i hate the thought of abandoning these animals and i feel it every-time i leave. My promise to them was i would always come back until i knew it would stop. Whether it be because they want to stop (fishermen) or because they become extinct. We just have to be their voice”…. January 2013, in Wakayama-shi, Japan.(Martyn Stewart)

While Martyn Stewart of Nature’s Sound is known for his beautiful recordings of birds and wildlife for documentaries, his images and video documentation of the cruel dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan are legendary. His passion can be seen in his pictures and videos, of the terrible dolphin suffering he has witnessed over the years as he documented the dolphin drive in Taiji. His videos and images have compelled many activists to speak out, and take action, for the dolphins.

While many of the photographers coming to Taiji keep their lenses focused on the dolphin victims only, Martyn goes further. He took the lens of his camera beyond the dolphin suffering capturing images of the small group of people who are profiting from the sale of dolphins dead and alive. Above is an image of Mr. Myoshi owner of the Dolphin Resort, and a broker of dolphins. Each trained dolphin he sells to aquariums can bring him up to 200,000 while a dead dolphin brings the hunters the equivalent of hundreds of  dollars for the butchered meat which is sold for human consumption, dog food, and fertilizer (bottlenose dolphins). The meat is Mercury laden and toxic yet the slaughter and consumption by a few continues.

While taking portrait images is frowned upon in Japan, Martyn’s pictures of those involved in the dolphin drives have sparked the global community in a profound way leading the viewers to question how Marine Parks have become so entwined the terrible capture and slaughter of these highly intelligent beings, dolphins and small whales. The dolphin trainers, many of whom are certified by the International Marine Animals Trainer Association (IMATA), work side by side with the hunters simultaneously selecting the young beautiful dolphins for captivity, while slaughtering the older dolphins their parents, and grandparents. One might think that IMATA would vehemently oppose dolphin drive fisheries claiming they love dolphins yet the opposite is true. IMATA welcomes trainers from dolphin drive fisheries:

“Any individual who believes in IMATA’s mission and who supports its goals is welcomed into the membership. This means that if an individual works for an organization that acquires dolphins from a drive fishery, up to and including participating in the selection and collection of live animals, s/he is welcomed by IMATA”.(source)

While the Taiji ISANA “Fisherman’s” Union claims the hunt is “tradition” history tells a very different story. It is no wonder the dolphin hunters go to such great lengths to hide the bodies of their dolphins victims who suffer and die so slowly under the tarps draped so skillfully over the blood filled shallows of the killing cove. In a recent article entitled, “Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt Is Not A Tradition”, Mark Palmer of Earth Island Institute quotes star and co creator of academy award winning documentary, The Cove, Ric O’Barry who explains that in fact the Taiji, dolphin drives are not “tradition”:

“This claim of ‘Japanese tradition’ is nonsense,” stated Ric O’Barry, Director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project.  “The dolphin drive hunts, according to the town’s own written history, says a couple of drive hunts occurred in 1936 and 1944, but the current series of hunts only began in 1969(source).

“We do not want these animals to have died in vain. They died because of ignorance. The next pod caught is partly in your hands. Talk, educate, be proactive”. November, 2013— at太地町.(Martyn Stewart)

The capture of dolphins for aquariums and marine parks  is a multi-million dollar industry that the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and their partners the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) who sits on WAZA’s animal ethics board of directors do not want to see end. The dolphins born in captivity cannot fill the demand for display dolphins hence the need is filled with blood dolphins.

While Martyn will no longer be exposing, and reporting on the dolphin capture and slaughter in Taiji, Japan his time spent there was not in vain. Martyn Stewart showed us the faces and suffering behind the dolphin slaughter and capture. His pictures and video are timeless as is his is an example to us all practicing what he preaches. He is a strict vegan, and true animal lover, who will never be silenced in his quest to help all living creatures, and to expose animal suffering whenever and wherever it occurs.

Leaving the land that kill dolphins and small wales, leaving animals that I so much promised I would be with until this insanity stops, leaving with a sence of failure yet one of pride that I did what I could and I will never forget that. Leaving a country that so much needs our guidance and not interference, leaving Taiji in a far worse state than I found it in. Leaving behind many friends that I made and will probably never see again. Leaving a large piece of my heart on a beach in Taiji — at Kansai International Airport.(Martyn Stewart)

Enhanced by Zemanta

2013 Brings New Hope for Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau

Dolphin Watching Fireworks by Born Free Facebook

Dolphin Watching Fireworks by Born Free Facebook

2013 offers new hope for dolphins everywhere! In 2012 there were some significant events that can only mean new, positive changes for dolphins. SeaWorld lost their bid to overturn the OSHA decision banning dolphin trainers from getting into the water and performing with Orca all of this stemming from the death of Dawn Brancheau’s death  in 2010 (source). In July David Kirby published his revealing book “Death At Sea World” that would crush the happy picture of captivity created by the captive industry forever.

On May 11, 2012 Born Free released Tom and Misha back into the ocean after two years of preparation. Tom and Misha were captured in 2010 off provincial port of Ismir in Turkey. They were then sent to a tourist hot spot  Hisaronu where they were kept in horrific conditions used in a swim with dolphins. Thanks to the work of Donal MacIntyre a journalist, Dolphin Angels, and Born Free today the dolphins swim free!

“Helen Worth had been with the project since the beginning, and said, “When I first saw them in that hell of a pool I wondered if they would survive. It’s been the most heart-wrenching journey with so many challenges but each and every one of them has been overcome by the team and, most importantly, by Tom and Misha themselves. The drama and emotion of Tom and Misha’s story is an inspiration.” (source)

November 23, 2012 Japan March for Dolphins and Whales By Michael Todd

November 24, 2012 Tokyo March for Dolphins and Whales By Michael Todd

November 24, 2012 gave way to a historic march for whales and dolphin in protest of whale and dolphin hunting, and capture. While dolphin and whale hunting continues to be sanctioned by the government in Japan, Japanese activists are coming forth and joining the International campaign to save whales and dolphins worldwide. These brave pioneers bring an entirely new perspective to ocean activism and animal welfare. Thanks to social media ocean activists can join together on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms sharing information, and taking action from all over the world.

Marcos the baby dolphin

Marcos the baby dolphin rescued August 20, 2012 By PROMAR

On August 20, 2012 baby dolphin Marcos was discovered by the Spanish Civil  Guard who then alerted PROMAR a non-profit organization in the South of Spain. A striped dolphin Marcos species normally lives in the deep waters. How was separated from his mother and got so close to shore is unknown. PROMAR dedicated to dolphin freedom has and is doing everything possible to make sure Marcos has a successful release. They hope to locate a pod of the striped dolphins using a helicopter and then release Marcos into the group. It is a huge undertaking but Marcos has come a long way. Promar working with Ric O’Barry and The Dolphin Project believe Marcos has a shining wild and free future ahead! Join Marcos on Facebook and see how you can help!

Dolphins slaughtered while IMATA celebrates in Hong KongTaiji dolphins by SSCS Cove Guardians 2012

Dolphins slaughtered while IMATA celebrates in Hong Kong
 Dolphins in the cove By SSCS Cove Guardians  December 2012

Sadly the total disconnect with dolphins continues in Taiji, Japan and the overall captive industry. While International Marine Animal Trainers Association ( IMATA) trainers, many of whom work with Taiji dolphins celebrated their profits, dolphins were being captured and slaughtered in the cove. For several days bottlenose dolphins watched as a pod of short finned pilot whales suffered, and then were slowly slaughtered. Eventually the dolphin hunters turned their sights to the bottlenose and their cruel and inhumane treatment of dolphins continued. If that wasn’t enough on December 7th, a small pod of Risso’s dolphins was captured, the entire pod immediately slaughtered. Join the campaign asking IMATA to stop the slaughter. During the IMATA conference December 2-7, 2012  the dolphin deaths and suffering in the cove seemed endless:

  • 02-Dec-2012:  2 pods, bottlenose (16) & pilots (12) driven, held overnight
  • 03-Dec-2012:  12 pilots killed, dolphins remain held in the cove (from Dec 2nd drive)
  • 04-Dec-2012:  9 bottlenose taken as live-capture, 7 bottlenose killed (from Dec 2nd drive)
  •  07-Dec-2012: 15 Risso’s Dolphins captured and killed (source)
Screen print from Cove Guardians livestream 2012

Screen print from  December 13. 2012 Taken by STBD

As discouraging as the ignorance and cruelty towards dolphins is in Taiji, and the captive industry, there is hope on the horizon. Thanks to Social Media and the ability to share information Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians and Save Japan Dolphins Cove Monitors are able to report on the drive real-time on Facebook and Twitter which allows activists to share worldwide. The real kicker for 2012 was the live stream done by the Cove Guardians. From the minute a pod is spotted thru the horrific processing of their bodies the live stream is on exposing the horrors of Taiji and the captive dolphin industry.

Wild and Free! Ric O'Barry  The Dolphin Project

Wild and Free!  Ric O’Barry The Dolphin Project 2012

Ocean activist’s are growing in numbers everyday through many social media platforms. As Ric O’Barry says,”Be your own media, make your own network”. 2013 will offer new angles and ways to make a difference for dolphins as we continue to share the message captivity kills! Don’t buy a ticket! Together we can make a difference.

Join Champions for Cetaceans and our sister page Save The Blood Dolphins on Facebook for drive updates and dolphin issues daily.

Mothers and Baby Dolphins Shown No Mercy

Mother and Baby Dolphin December 20,212 Taiji. By SSCS Cove Guardians

Mother and Baby Striped Dolphins December 20,212 Taiji. By SSCS Cove Guardians

As families around the world come together for Christmas celebrations hearts swell as people realize how important family is, how much joy our children bring us, and how lucky we are to have them in our lives. Unfortunately for a pod of striped deep pelagic dolphins their would be no December celebrations, or new year to look forward too thanks to the dolphin hunters of Taiji.

On December 20, 2012 Taiji dolphin hunters drove a pod of 25-30 striped dolphins loaded with mothers and their babies into the cove. These deep-sea dolphins are known for panicking when forced into shore. As the killers dropped the nets the dolphins panicked many throwing themselves on the rocks and becoming entwined in the nets.

Panicked striped dolphins would be shown no mercy

Panicked striped dolphins would be shown no mercy. December 20, 2012                             by SSCS Cove Guardians

The chaos began early on as mothers attempted to protect their babies and dolphins panicked rushed onto the rocks becoming entwined in the nets. No mercy would be shown, no help would be given. Instead the entire pod was slowly pushed under the tarps of suffering and shame. Dolphin trainers from the Taiji Whale Museum worked side by side with the dolphin killers under the tarps but no dolphins would be selected. Much like Auschwitz the little family was pushed to their slow deaths, mothers and babies clinging to each other until the very end.

Japanese fishermen claim they kill dolphins instantaneously and without pain. This video WHICH IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC  shows that it can take 7 minutes for a dolphin to die an agonizing death. The video was taken from an earlier drive at great personal risk by German journalist Dieter Hagmann at Taiji, Japan.

Dolphin bodies hidden under tarps. December 20, 2012. By SSCS Cove Guardians

Dolphin bodies lie side by side in death hidden under tarps.                           December 20, 2012. By SSCS Cove Guardians

December has been an ugly month for dolphin pods that have attempted to migrate past Taiji. This small coastal town made famous in the academy award winning film, The Cove continues to kill dolphin families, showing no mercy for mothers or their young. Taiji again gives dolphins the gift of suffering and slow death for yet another Christmas.

Each year the dolphin slaughter of Taiji is monitored and recorded by Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians and Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Cove Monitors. Both can now be found on Facebook and Twitter as they report back to the world exposing the terrible abuses to dolphins in Taiji. The slaughter of dolphins is supported by those sold in the Captivity. Please don’t buy a ticket!

Baby Dolphin Dumped at Sea off Taiji

By Kirsten Massebeau

Photo taken by Nicole McLachlan 11/7/2012 Taiji, Japan

While in the United States voters rushed to the poles to cast their votes for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the other side of the world in Taiji, Japan a very different kind of battle was taking place. A small pod of Risso’s dolphins were spotted by the notoriously cruel dolphin hunters of Taiji, Japan. This little family included a new baby who still sported his or her birthing rings, and a young juvenile, still dependent on their mother.

Photo by Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Cove Monitors 11/7/2012

The little pod fought hard but they never had a chance against the eight killing boats.

Photo By SSCS Cove Guardians 11/7/2012 Taiji, Japan

“These dolphins are fighting for their lives battling with Bangers near The Cove while the remaining banger boats come to help them these dolphins do not want to give up and the banging of these torture poles is louder and unbearable these poor dolphins are going through hell as we speak .. Difficult to watch”. (SJD Cove Monitors)

Baby Risso’s dolphin was eventually dumped at sea. Photo by SSCS Cove Guardians

Two poor souls were selected for captivity by the female trainers. The baby dolphin and the juvenile were then taken aboard a skiff and dumped out at sea. A brand new baby cast into the open sea with only a juvenile at his or her side. The remaining pod was slaughtered dying slowly behind the blue tarps known for the suffering that happens behind their draped walls.

by Dieter Hagmann

Dolphin trainers work side by side with the dolphin killers. Photo by SSCS Cove Guardians 7/11/2012 Taiji, Japan

“It beggars belief what happened today to the babies in this pod, no mercy shown what so ever. The female trainer who chose the ones for captivity and dragged the baby back under the nets was most shocking to me. And trainers say they love dolphins”. (SJD Taiji Cove Monitors)

Risso’s dolphins blood runs down the drains.  Photo by SSCS Cove Guardians

As the U.S. election was called, and as the candidates gave their speeches of success and concession, far away on the other side of the world in Taiji, Japan a baby dolphin and juvenile, wandered the ocean sure to die without their parents and pod. On land in Taiji, the blood of innocent dolphins ran down the drain pipes, while two Risso’s dolphins deep in shock, were imprisoned, and catapulted into training for captivity, never to see the open ocean and their pod again. A day of shattered dolphin lives had again come and gone again in Taiji a true hell on earth for dolphins.

The captive dolphin trade pays for the slaughter. Each dolphin brings these hunters up to $150,000 once trained, while the mercury laden meat of these poor souls brings in far less. The message from our Save Japan Dolphins Cove Monitors and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians: “Don’t buy a ticket! When you support a dolphin show you support the slaughter and capture of dolphins in Taiji, Japan”. Keep sharing The Cove far and wide. Follow the live stream by the Cove Guardians on

Join us on Facebook for daily dolphin issues and drive updates on Champions for Cetaceans and our sister page Save the Blood Dolphins. Together we can make a difference!

Facebook Twitter Trending Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau

Pilot Whales in The Cove Awaiting Slaughter
By SSCS Cove Guardians

While hurricane Sandy devastates the East Coast of the United States a very different issue continues to make news and pulsate through the lines of social media. Each year in Taiji, Japan from September to March a small group of men hunt dolphins for the captive industry, and to supply a small demand for the meat which is toxic. In 2009 the academy award winning film, “The Cove” was released in an effort to expose the brutal killing and capture of dolphins in Taiji. The world was horrified. Many people wanted to believe, “The Cove” had exposed and ended the cruel treatment of dolphins in Taiji but sadly that is not the case. During the 2011 hunting season Dieter Hagmann of Atlantic Blue secretly obtained footage of how slowly the dolphins die, and the terrible extent of their suffering at the hand of the hunters.

On October 30, 2012 a huge pod of approximately 120 pilot whales was driven into the deadly cove. Today as livestream was broadcast to the world via the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians the world watched as the cruel dolphin hunters inflicted pain and suffering beyond imagination on these helpless dolphins. The pilot whales huddled together, were systematically dragged to their slow and painful deaths. Babies panicked and suffocated under the nets while adults rushed onto the rocks but were dragged back to the shallows where death awaited.

Taiji: many pilot whales struggling to fight for last breath.Baby caught in nets. So brutal & words can’t describe this horror #tweet4taiji

Baby suffocates under nets by SSCS Cove Guardians

Pilot whales struggle during slaughter by SSCS Cove Guardians

While half of the huge pod was transported via skiffs to the butcher house the rest of the pod waits, huddled, hungry, and swimming in the blood of their family members! According to Save Japan Dolphin Taiji Cove Monitors the pilot whale quota has most likely been filled today:

Killing quota (161) for pilot whales likely to be filled by now. Hunters should release remaining animals!

Take Action! Activists in Social Media on Facebook and Twitter are asking you to take action now! Sign the petition asking the BBC take a crew to Taiji to cover the slaughter here. Contact your Japanese Embassy and ask them to stop issuing permits for hunting dolphins. Send a free fax here to the Taiji Fisherman’s Union 81-73-559-3018, Mayor Sangen of Taiji 81-73-559-2801, Dolphin Resort 81-73-559-2810.


Please you, do not kill a baby
The baby is innocent
The pilot whales, mainly feed on squid
Please do your research on the web page
Pilot whales are not stealing your fish.

The Cove Runs Red via Save the Blood Dolphins

Tweet: #tweet4dolpins, #tweet4taiji,fax, email, call, and share! Let our voices be heard! Together we can end it!

Taiji A Place of Terror and Suffering for Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau Champions for Cetaceans Daily Scoop

The Hopi Prayer for a pod of striped dolphins

Today September 26th in Japan a pod escaped the dolphin hunters in Taiji. Cheers abound from activists after a grueling drive yesterday. A pod of approximately 25 striped dolphins were driven into the cove. Originally they were a much larger pod, but half the pod did escape. That did not make it any easier for those that would lose their lives in the shallows of a place haunted by the dolphin suffering of millions.

Secret video captured in a previous season by Dieter Hagmann

As the dolphins were pushed into the cove by the banger boats Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Cove Monitors posted:

Dolphins terrified and being pushed to shore. 12:07 (source)

Then only 14 minutes later:

Taiji: #Tweet4Dolphins
One dolphin floated in the middle for a while. Now dead. Some dolphins were taken in skiffs alive. 12:14pm. (Source)


Taiji: #Tweet4Dolphins

@slaughterhouse…blood is pouring out. They tried to put something to catch the blood as it comes out but it’s not working. The amount is sickening. 1:15pm,. (Source)

Dolphin Meat Distribution by Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Monitors

In 2009 the award winning documentary “The Cove” revealed the dolphin suffering that takes place in Taiji, Japan. The slaughter is financed by the sale of dolphins for captivity. The meat is toxic so the ability to sell it is waning but as long as marine parks, aquariums, dolphinariums, swim with dolphins, and Dolphin Assisted Therapy purchase these individuals the slaughter will never end.

How can you help? Join Ric O’Barry and Save Japan Dolphins. Your donations go to fighting this inhumane slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The website provides many ways that you can get involved today!

Join Save Japan Dolphin Taiji Cove Monitors on Facebook! Like the page and get up to date feed on the drives and ways to take action.

Please join Champions for Cetaceans on Facebook for cetacean issues and news!

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 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.”

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. 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

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 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.