In Memory of the Dolphins Lost in “The Cove” Hunting 2014-2015

By Kirsten Massebeau

As another year of the Taiji dolphin drive hunting season ends dolphin activists worldwide take time for reflection as they contemplate and remember dolphins families and victims lost since September 1st.

Dolphin travelers migrating North will find the Kuroshio Current has a deadly "truck stop" known as Taiji. Only the lucky make it South in winter months.

Dolphin travelers migrating North will find the Kuroshio Current has a deadly “truck stop” known as Taiji. Only the lucky make it South in winter months.

Whilst the “False Killer Whale” has fallen from the roster of dolphin victims (none spotted since the 2011/2012 season) many other species of dolphin travelers going South on the Kuroshio Current were found by the dolphin hunters. 46 pods of dolphins were driven into the bloody killing cove of Taiji where they lost their children, liberty, history and their lives for aquariums, fertilizer, and human consumption.

The Risso’s dolphins would be seen as the dominate species driven into “The Cove” in 2014/2015 as the hunters went beyond their quota: 333 individuals were captured, 259 large adults slaughtered, only seven juveniles (children), were taken for marine parks, and 67 were dumped, or brutally driven back out to sea. The hunters took five over their quota for Risso’s dolphins. (source)

The striped dolphin a favorite food of the coastal area took the worst toll in terms of deaths. There was a quota of 450 for Striped Dolphins, of those 383 individuals were pushed into the cove. Of the 383 striped dolphins, not one was shown mercy or spared. No releases and no captures. Small pods, little families, with babies on board, and grandparents, would lose everything as they were pushed past hell’s gates to their deaths in Hatajiri Bay also known as “The Cove” a state park located in Taiji, Japan. (source)

Whilst the Japanese Fisheries would have the world believe that dolphins die instantly nothing is farther from the truth. In 2010 wildlife photographer Dieter Hagmann obtained secret footage of a slaughter during a striped dolphin drive. He captured the inhumane and slow slaughter of dolphins documenting what appeared to be death after struggling for 7 minutes. Because pithing begins with paralyzing the dolphin, and the bamboo nails inhibit the bleeding the suffering is extended. Some have estimated the dolphins still live for up to an hour or more as they are pithed at the cove and then transported to the butcher house where the dolphins are literally slaughtered and sold.

The dolphin meat contains Mercury, PCB’s and Cesium-137 as documented by most recently by the the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project:

The full results were as follows:

  • Cesium-137: 3.37Bq/kg. This is below the Japanese Health Ministry’s recommended level of 100Bq/kg.
  • PCBs: 0.12ppm. This is below the Japanese Health Ministry’s recommended level of 0.5ppm.
  • Total Mercury: 1.4ppm. This is higher than the Japanese Health Ministry’s recommended level of 0.4ppm.

The mercury level is of concern. Even low-level mercury poisoning can have a substantial impact on human health because it bio-accumulates in the body over time. (source)

The Fisherman’s Union responsible for the hunt numbers are few. There is little call for dolphin meat in a modern world. So how does the hunt survive?

According to The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project: Dolphinariums that work together with the Japanese dolphin killers are a major reason that the dolphin massacres are still going on, and organizations such as the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums or WAZA, endorse the hunts by allowing members into their orgs who source dolphins from the drives. (source)

Thanks to the academy award winning documentary, “The Cove” saving dolphins and whales from marine parks, captivity, and the slaughter it supports has become a worldwide movement that is growing each day. September 1st marked the opening of the hunt and events were held in Taiji and globally in opposition to the dolphin drive.

By ScubaFilmFactory

On January 15th the 5th Annual “Change for Taiji & Candle Vigil” Event took place in  in front of the Miami Japanese Consulate. Because of the captive industries close ties with dolphin drive fisheries to many the day was a moving demonstration of sadness, and hope that ended with a candle vigil.

          2014/2015 QUOTA:     1,938 total animals from seven species

  • Bottlenose : 108 caught · 028 killed · 041 live-capture · 039 released · 069 total take · quota = 509 · 440 more allowed
  • False Killer Whale : 000 caught · 000 killed · 000 live-capture · 000 released · 000 total take · quota = 070 · 070 more allowed
  • Pantropical Spotted : 193 caught · 040 killed · 024 live-capture · 127 released · 064 total take · quota = 400 · 336 more allowed
  • Pacific White-sided : 006 caught · 000 killed · 006 live-capture · 000 released · 000 total take · quota = 134 · 128 more allowed
  • Risso’s : 333 caught · 259 killed · 007 live-capture · 067 released · 266 total take · quota = 261 · 005 over quota
  • Short-finned Pilot : 061 caught · 041 killed · 002 live-capture · 018 released · 049 total take · quota = 114 · 065 more allowed
  • Striped : 383 caught · 383 killed · 000 live-capture · 000 released · 383 total take · quota = 450 · 067 more allowed. (source)

Be the change you want to see! Join and support today!

Ric O’Barry personally spent a good part of this winter in Taiji monitoring and documenting the dolphin hunt and captive facilities foregoing holidays with family and events in his honor to stand watch for dolphins. He works 24/7 to be a voice for the dolphins in Taiji and in captivity. Where and when ever a dolphin needs help you will find Ric O’Barry.

“Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project has some phenomenal projects in the works — returning to the Solomon Islands, ending Indonesia’s traveling circus, Taiji of course, and Camp Lumba-Lumba — the first and largest permanent dolphin re-adaptation center in the world. Find ways to help here and become part of the pod here!.

Save the Blood Dolphins and Champions for Cetaceans Always Sharing Current news for dolphins, whales, ocean life, and ocean health.

Save the Blood Dolphins and Champions for Cetaceans Always Sharing Current news for dolphins, whales, ocean life, and ocean health.

Join us on Facebook pages Champions for Cetaceans and Save The Blood Dolphins for news and updates about dolphins and whales daily! Save the Blood Dolphins and Champions for Cetaceans always sharing current news for dolphins, whales, ocean life, and ocean health. Don’t forget to like our friends at I Love Dolphins another page with amazing updates and ways to take action for dolphins and the International Whale and Dolphin Stranding Network for current news on dolphin strandings worldwide.

Check back for upcoming posts on individual species analysis 2014/2015 drive season!







Taiji Japan Doesn’t Just Slaughter Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau

Portland Day of Awareness for the Dolphins of Taiji

On September 1st, 2011 thousands of dolphin conservationists staged rallies all over the world urging Japan to end it’s dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan. September 1st also marks the opening of the dolphin hunting season in Taiji Japan. Every year 1000’s of dolphins are driven into a cove, some taken for a life of captivity, most brutally slaughtered, experiencing anguishing, painful deaths that last as long as 8 to 10 minutes.

Here are the dolphin drive quotas for 2011-2012:
Pacific White-Sided Dolphins–134
Striped Dolphin—————450
Bottlenose Dolphins———–652
Risso Dolphins—————-275
Long Finned Pilot Whales——184
False Killer Whales———–70
Spotted Dolphins————–400
Total kill and capture——–2165

As you can see in the above numbers the bottlenose dolphin number is the highest. Why? Because the bottlenose dolphin is most sought for use in Marine Parks, Aquariums, Swim With Dolphins.  More and More dolphinariums and swim with dolphins are opening everyday mainly thanks to the success of SeaWorld. Today Sea World is working harder than ever to make the world believe they have, and are working to save our oceans, but nothing could be farther from the truth. As a corporate giant their only objective is to make more money and increase the size of their “collection”. Much like the slave traders Sea World considers all dolphins imprisoned in their facilities as property. There is no free ride for dolphins in captivity, they work long hours for their keep, sometime up to 5 shows a day. They are taken from their families, forced to work for every bite of the dead fish they would have never even consumed in the ocean. A must watch the film, “A Fall From Freedom”. This film documents Sea Worlds involvement with the cruel captures, and dolphin drives that fuel the captive dolphin industry:

Today scientists are on the very of giving dolphins status as “non-human persons” For some time the superior intelligence and complex social society of the dolphins is well documented yet the dolphin continues to be exploited, “Bottlenose dolphins have convincingly demonstrated that they use a mirror to investigate their own bodies, showing that they have a sense of self (Reiss and Mrino, 2001). These findings are consistent with further evidence for self-awareness and self-monitoring in dolphins and related cognitive abilities (see Marino et al, 2008, for a review). In particular, the highly elaborated cingulate and insular cortex in cetacean brains are consistent with the idea that these animals are highly sophisticated and sensitive in the emotional and social -emotional sophistication not achieved by other animals including humans” (Phillip Brakes and Mark Peter Simmonds, Whales and Dolphins Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions, Washington, DC, Earthscan, 2011). Please follow the link to find out how dolphins call each other by name something that was thought only to be done by man.

The abuse of dolphins began stacking up quickly in Taiji this year. Typhoon Talas ripped through Japan just as dolphin hunting season opened. The harbor pens loaded with dolphins tossed the helpless dolphins from side to side. Ric O’Barry of  reached out to the world to urge the Taiji Whale Museum and Dolphin Base Resort to release the dolphins but Taiji did not listen. Instead they starved them in order to insure they would return if a swell managed to release them from the pens.

On September 6th Leilani Munter race car driver and volunteer for Save Japan Dolphins stationed in Taiji posted: via Leilani Munter “11 drive boats are chasing a pod towards the cove. Can’t see size of pod, too far away. Hoping for escape. Police and coast guard already waiting at cove”.

The moment dolphin conservationists had dreaded finally arrived.

Via Leilani munter: 12 rissos dolphins in the cove and are being killed as we speak.

Their would be no sympathy for the Risso dolphins. A mother forced to watch her baby, and family, slowly murdered at the hands of the dolphin hunters of Taiji.
No drives have been reported since but the abuse of dolphins is going on everyday in Taiji. Here is new footage of a sick dolphin and cell mate trying to get help. These are dolphins again captured through drive fisheries for captivity.

As the drive hunts of dolphins continue through March please join us as we take action. If you haven’t seen “The Cove” please follow this link and watch it for free Take action. Below is a link to the Save Misty the Dolphin Monday-Friday action list for the dolphins of Taiji. Together we can make a difference if we join our voices. We must be the voices for our counterparts, sisters and brother of the sea.

To learn how you can help please visit: