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.

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!




Before and After Taiji

By Kirsten Massebeau

Photo Created by Michelle Jean of Striped Dolphin and packaged Striped Dolphin

“Sexual maturity is reached at 12-15 years. Longevity is about 55–60 years. Gestation lasts approximately 12 months and there is a three or four year gap between having babies”. At first one might think the above description is referring to the life time, and reproductive process of a human. Interestingly, this is not the life span of a human but a striped dolphin. Their brains are large as mans, and they live in a uniquely complex social world where family is everything. These deep water pelagic beings do not often venture close to shorelines but prefer the open sea. Being elusive their actual numbers are considered data deficient. They have been found to be most resistant to imprisonment (captivity), and have proven to be untrainable. These noble beings cannot be broken.

Video Provided by Save Japan Dolphin

Sadly no mercy or respect is shown to the monarchs of the sea in Taiji Japan.  The small town coastal town stubbornly continues to hunt dolphins rejecting all modern scientific discoveries revealing advanced intelligence and sensitivity in cetaceans. A senseless slaughter supported by the captive dolphin industry gives this small group of men the incentive to continue the hunt. February 12th, 2012 will be yet another day of memory for another pod lost. Approximately 33 striped dolphins were driven into the cove after a chase lasting several hours. Once the dolphins were exhausted, and panicked the hunters pushed them into the cove, netted them off and then one by one dragged them into the shallows slowly slaughtering the fighting dolphin family. Striped dolphins are known to panic in the cove often launching onto the rocky cliffs. Activists on the ground in Taiji report of the suffering SeaShepherd, “Taiji: Dolphins thrashing and Killers yelling as pod is murdered one by one under the tarps. 11:37am #tweet4taiji”. The Japanese Government has tried to claim that they are slaughtering these highly sensitive beings humanely. Last year’s undercover filming under the blue tarp by Dieter Hagmann demonstrated suffering beyond imagination that continued for 7 minutes.

Tim Burns (SJD), “Approx 30 striped dolphins killed today in the cove. We will upload the footage of dolphins still alive in the boat tonight onto savejapandolphins .org”
Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: 31 striped dolphins were murdered today. 2 babies w/ mother released at sea. Questionable if mother was still alive”.

A family, a community of parents with children murdered and three possible survivors dumped at sea. The senselessness destruction of this pod of striped dolphins for meat that is tainted with mercury, PCB’s and other pollutants makes no sense. Not only are these 30 dolphin hunters causing dolphins to senselessly suffer while they destroy dolphin lives and families,  they are also causing direct harm to the community in which they live by selling the dolphin meat, “Mercury levels in dolphin meat sold in Japan are far higher than would occur in nature and certainly higher than is allowed under the health standards of any developed nation. There are also high levels of cadmium and PCBs as well as chemicals of the dioxin group” http://www.bluevoice.org/news_dolphinmeat.php

So why does the killing and capturing continue? The meat is still sold in the grocery stores although it’s demand is dying quickly as the people of Japan attempt to get foods free of toxins and the popularity of dolphin meat has declined radically. The captive industry continues to subsidize the slaughter but why does the slaughter continue?

Compiled from "Living With Whales" by Michelle Jean

It seems the dolphin hunters of Taiji know the days of the hunt are over. For the last 40 years 1000’s upon 1000’s of dolphins have been murdered in The Cove. Now it’s time to end it. Let’s start talking and working on a solution.
Join the fight today!




25 Striped Dolphins Slaughtered in The Cove

The Hopi Prayer Dolphin Provided by Laura Leigh

Today the cove runs red with the blood of an innocent pod of estimated 25 -35 striped dolphins. Although part of the pod broke off before they were driven through the harbor entrance the dolphins suffered greatly, a boat drove over a panicked dolphin mortally mangling the victim, Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: Dolphin was mangled by skiff propeller as it tried to escape. Murdering now under tarps #tweet4taiji”. Dolphins panicked and hurled themselves on the rocks, Tia Butt “Dolphins now all dead in The Cove. Some threw themselves on rocks through panic causing more bloodshed. A bloody day at The Cove. However some of pod broke off just before being netted into The Cove and hunters drove them back out to sea.”

Each year a small group of men known as the Fisherman’s Union obtain permits from the government of Japan to slaughter 2000 dolphins. The academy award-winning film, “The Cove” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cove/ revealed the closely guarded secret of this inhumane slaughter of  higher beings with brains larger than mans, that have unknown potential. The government of Japan claimed the slaughter to be humane with dolphin suffering only lasting seconds, but film maker Dieter Hagmann obtained hidden footage of a striped dolphins slowly dying suffering for as long as 7 minutes, as a hunter filled the wounds with bamboo nails so to impede bleeding thus impeding media coverage http://vimeo.com/28720693.

The meat is tainted with mercury, PCB‘s and other toxins http://www.bluevoice.org/news_dolphinmeat.php  so why do the dolphin hunters continue to kill the monarchs of the sea with such abandon? It is not the dolphin meat that is filling their pockets with gold but the dolphin captives. None where taken today but the money obtained from the sale of these shattered beings to Marine parks and dolphinariums worldwide supports the slaughter. The history of the captive industry and their involvement in Taiji can also be seen for free online in “A Fall from Freedom”http://afallfromfreedom.org/.

Please boycott SeaWorld, swim with dolphins, aquariums, and dolphin assisted therapy. Why? Because captivity supports slaughter, and shatters the lives of dolphin families everyday. This is not just a Japanese problem this is a world problem with big corporations at its core. Joining with environmentalists in Japan and worldwide we can end the senseless slaughter of the minds in the water, the monarchs of the sea. Together we can make a difference. One voice is a drop of water but joined we can become an ocean to help our dolphins friends swim save and free!

A special thanks to all the volunteers on the ground in Taiji. Without you the world would not know that dolphins are dying! We applaud your bravery and determination to stand up for the dolphins and report the sad and senseless killings to the world. You also bring us the good news of the days the cove remains blue and for that we are grateful!

Please join us as we fight this noble cause:

Facebook Taiji Dolphin Action Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/taijiactiongroup/

Save Japan Dolphins http://www.savejapandolphins.org/

BlueVoice.org http://bluevoice.org/


Taiji Dolphin Hunters Give Dolphin Family The Gifts of Imprisonment and Death

               Captive Bottlenose Dolphin Photo Provided by Martyn Stewart Taiji Nov 2011

SSCS Sea Shepherds Tweet December 20, 2011 approx 9:50 PM Pacific time, Taiji: After careful review of photography & other information: 10 Bottlenose taken captive and 23 killed, including young. #Tweet4Taiji

As the Christmas holidays are upon us the dolphin hunters of Taiji continue to give the gift of death to dolphin families traveling by Taiji’s dark and dangerous coastline. Almost everyday pod after pod of dolphins have been driven into the bloody cove where they have been mercilessly slaughtered by 26 sadistic killers.

Dolphin activists had hoped that the dolphin hunters would quit early on December 20, 2011. The world of dolphin conservationist’s were still mourning the terrible deaths of two striped dolphin pods driven into the cove two days in a row and the arrest of an innocent activist on the ground in Taiji. In her post “9 Days, 7 Slaughters” Cove Monitor Heather Hill recounts a dolphins last cries, “One of the last living dolphins let out a very loud and unnatural scream that echoed throughout the Cove, piercing my heart like a knife. It sounded a bit like captive dolphins when they are told to vocalize, but with so much more pain and fear behind it.”

On December 20th when 10 banger boats headed out to sea thousands of people began hoping the hunters would come back empty handed. When the 11th, and 12th boat headed out to join the rest it seemed apparent that dolphins had been spotted and the drive would begin. Activists on the ground in Taiji looked to the horizon watching for the banger boats to move into drive formation. Then the pod was spotted, “SeaShepherd:  Taiji: A pod of dolphins being driven north toward Taiji. Still a distance away. Could be a bad day in Taiji”. The news the world had been dreading came about. A pod, a family, of bottlenose dolphins with one juvenile were being driven into the cove. Unlike days before where slaughter began immediately the pod was netted off overnight without food in shallow waters to await their fates at the hands of the hunters, and the trainers of Dolphin Base. Sea Shepherds tweeted, “Taiji: Pod is very agitated. Now jumping and spyhopping”. The nervous pod had a long night ahead.

Trainers arrived, Via Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: dark at 6 am, preparations underway for the insanity that is soon to occur. Trainers are standing by to destroy lives.” The hunters arrived shortly afterward, with their gift of death aboard the skiff. Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: several skiffs full of killers and trainers have entered the killing cove. Dolphins have been pushed into killing cove.”
Activists emailed, called The Japanese Embassies worldwide, and the Fisherman’s Union in Taiji, begging that this dolphin family be given the Christmas gift of release and freedom. The famous martial arts champion Enson Inoue appealed to Dolphin Base that mercy be shown to the dolphins. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. The pod was shattered as dolphins were selected and reports came out 4, 6, 8 selected. The last tweet from the Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians, “Taiji: total 10 dolphins taken captive. No underwater sounds from the remaining 11-15 in the pod. Presumed killed.”

The dolphin hunters have made yet, another Christmas holiday tense and ugly for the town of Taiji. A family of dolphins traveling past Taiji Japan was forever destroyed on December 21st, 2011. The hunters think they can now just rinse the blood of innocent dolphins off their hands, and white shiny boots, and go about celebrating the holidays. As they go on to their warm houses, and ring in Christmas and the New Year the surviving bottlenose dolphins are forced to deal with the loss of their families, adjust to a life of imprisonment, and endure the trauma of watching their family murdered in the bloody cove.

The dolphin hunters want to seen as “Fisherman”. They want the world to see them as fathers and husbands who care and love their community and families. Unfortunately, they will never be seen as anything but dolphin killers, cruel and sadistic. At a time when science knows how amazingly intelligent dolphins are the inhumane treatment these gentle creatures get in Taiji is deplorable and unacceptable. The dolphin hunters of Taiji have created their own modern history which has been caught on film in photos for years now. These are the images people will remember about Taiji, panicked dolphins being kicked off the rocks, drowned, speared, and slaughtered, suffering for up to 7 minutes while the cruel killers sever their spines and slowly carve them up while still alive as seen the famous Dieter Hagmann video: http://vimeo.com/28720693.

Dolphin hunting is indeed a dying business. The meat is poison, the killing inhumane beyond imagination, and the captivity that pays for it all can hardly be called traditional. The gift of captivity and death to this pod of bottlenose dolphins will not be forgotten. The dolphin killers can pretend to lead normal lives. They can try to show a rationale face to the world of men who can care and love, but the world has seen who they really are. They have twisted Taiji’s history and brought shame upon Japan this holiday and everyday they continue their inhumane and cruel hunt of the people of the sea. The dolphin killers know they are hated by the world and with good reason. They know they are called monsters of death, and with good reason. Sadly, that is how they will be remembered.

Taiji the City of Dolphin Tears

Picture provided by Leah Lemieux Save Japan Dolphins

Taiji, the city of dolphin tears, brings another day of sadness and terror to dolphins driven into “The Cove”. On November 13, 2011 a pod of twenty risso dolphins with two rough toothed dolphins migrating together were detoured by the deadly dolphin hunters of Taiji. The pod fought hard for their freedom. For eight long hours the banger boats chased the dolphins banging on metal poles in trying to disable their sonar. Once the pod was driven past the harbor entrance and into the cove the killers made fast work killing ten risso dolphins in front of friends and family that had traveled together. Following the brutal slaughters of their loved ones the remaining pod huddled into a small knit group. Shock had set in. The cruel  dolphin hunters then fired up their banger boats driving the shattered pod out to sea. They did not have a permit to kill the two rare rough toothed dolphins and they had their glut of meat from the risso dolphins already slaughtered. Heather Hill activist on the ground in Taiji wrote a poignant post last night entitled, “Where are you now?”  after the slaughter, “And where are you, Taiji dolphin killers? In the comfort of your home, surrounded by your family? Will you even give a second thought to the family you destroyed just hours ago as you lay in bed tonight? Or will you sleep soundly, a belly full of dolphin, ignorant to the sufferings you’ve caused? You should be the ones mentally tortured right now, not the dolphins. Such a disgrace. Your actions make me embarrassed to be a part of the same species as you.”


RIP to the ten Risso dolphins murdered, and sadness for what lies ahead for the shattered pod. They must have been numb and grief filled beyond human understanding. “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).

Photo Provided by Save Japan Dolphin Leah Lemieux

The hunters have tried to hide behind the blue tarps of shame, whether killing, or transporting the wounded to slaughter. But thanks to the watchful eyes on the ground Rosie Kunneke, Leah Lemeiux, and Heather Hill their dolphin killing has been reported to the world. If watchful eyes had not been there would the remaining risso dolphins and the two rare rough toothed dolphins have been spared? Save Japan Dolphins Leah Lemeiux commented on the efficacy of activists witnessing the carnage, “One of the most respected cetacean conservationists in Japan has just told me that they probably would have killed those roughtooth and rissos dolphins if our little group hadn’t been there documenting and making a fuss and posting–and all of you out there making your calls!”

Video Provided by Leah Lemieux Save Japan Dolphins

Join us as we take action to end this tragic slaughter of higher beings. Thousands of people worldwide are joining the movement to save the dolphins that travel past Taiji. Activists on the ground working with social media groups like Save Misty the Dolphin on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Savemistythedolphin take the media provided by volunteers on the ground and take action, calling embassies, sending emails, writing letters, and educating the public through blog postings and social media platforms like Twitter using hashtags, #dolphinproject, #tweet4taiji, #SeaShepherds making people aware of the dolphin slaughter, and the captive dolphin industry that is at the crux of the situation, http://www.examiner.com/animal-advocacy-in-washington-dc/coalition-urges-trainer-organization-to-take-a-stand-against-taiji-dolphin-cull#ixzz1dPHmW6Z2

Please join us as we fight to end this terrible loss of dolphin life. The dolphins have gifts they want to share with mankind. Isn’t it time we recognize cetaceans for the higher being they are.

What you can do:

Boycott all aquariums, dolphinariums, swim with dolphins and dolphin therapy. The dolphins belong in the ocean not small cement tanks. Dolphins in captivity live only a tiny fraction of their lives compared to a dolphin living free in the ocean.

Watch the Cove for free online or tell a friend about it: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cove/

Watch A Fall From Freedom or tell a friend about it:


Visit any of these links and please join the cause saving dolphins, whales, and our oceans.

Together we can make a difference!







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!