Dolphin Superpod Captured In Taiji, Japan

dolphin drive hunts taiji japan

On Friday 20th January a super pod of 300+ Bottlenose dolphins, containing many babies and juveniles, was captured in Taiji, Japan in a brutal drive hunt. These drive hunts use motor boats to force the dolphins into a cove, where they are then netted and trapped. They take place every day for six months of the year, from September through to March.

A lone dolphin managed to escaped the nets but wouldn’t leave his or her family, staying as close as possible to them throughout their ordeal. The pod were kept for 5 days with no food or shelter in freezing conditions. The pod was split into 3 to make it easier for the trainers to assess their suitability for captivity.

Dolphins have incredibly strong family bonds and many dolphins became caught in nets during the process and struggled to get back to their family members, with mothers desperate to reach their babies and young. During the 5 days, 4 dolphins died from stress and 100 dolphins were selected to be sold into the captive dolphin industry – many of them babies and juveniles. They will be starved, force fed dead, medicated fish and will exist in concrete tanks – never to see the ocean or their family members again.

After 5 days the remainder of the pod were driven back out to sea, many won’t survive. They have seen 100 of their pod taken into slavery, mothers who just days ago had babies now swam alone. This has been a horrific event even by Taiji’s standards.

The only positive is the awareness the Cove Guardians have been able to raise, with many news outlets covering the story for the first time. This is the only way we will end these horrific drive hunts; by removing the demand for captive dolphins, we will stop the drive hunts for good.

Please share with your friends and never, ever swim with captive dolphins – there is no beauty in stolen freedom.

Please

Image: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians

Dolphin Massacre In Taiji, Japan – 16th – 19th Sep

bottlenose dolphins held in taiji japan

On 16th September 2016 between 80 to 100 Bottlenose dolphins were driven into the Cove in the notorious town of Taiji in Japan. They were driven in using ‘banger boats’; motorised boats with poles attached which are banged to create a loud noise to confuse and scare the dolphins into the Cove. In a cruel twist a further pod of 20 Pilot whales were also driven in to the Cove. They were all held overnight.

The following day 38 of the Bottlenose dolphins were taken from the ocean and put into sea prisons. They will never see their family again. The remainder were left in the Cove overnight.

The next day four more Bottlenose dolphins were taken prisoner and the remainder of the pod were driven back out of the Cove.

Night fell and again the remaining Pilot Whales, including many juveniles, were left alone. They had been given no shelter or food since they were driven into the Cove and were weak and very afraid.

Morning arrived and day four of the horror continued. First the Matriarch – the largest female, was murdered along with all of the adult Pilot whales. Each death took around 30 to 40 minutes. They were murdered in front of the terrified juveniles, who were then themselves mercilessly and cruelly killed. Four days of unimaginable horror for these sentient beings ended in their brutal deaths and those of their loved family members.

During this outrage I happened to see a report by the excellent David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust of a visit to their baby Elephant facility by Mrs Akie Abe, Japan’s First Lady. I was struck by the disconnect she displayed in expressing her compassion for the baby Elephants who had seen their family members murdered but showing none for the equally sentient Dolphins who experienced the same.

Roughly translated her account reads as follows:

“I was invited by First Lady Mrs Kenyatta, who is also doing a lot of conservation work, to visit the Sheldrick’s animal orphanage. Baby elephants who lost their mothers to poaching… They may have been traumatized by seeing their mother killed right in front of them, yet they come and so innocently play with us.

Feeding them milk, stroking them… I felt a kind of connection with these babies. And before I realized I was in tears. It almost felt like touching God… More and more elephants are slaughtered for the sake of ivory. Elephants maintain our forests and protect our environments. We Japanese, who have a taste for ivory, must not turn our back on this issue as something happening far away.”

This massacre of these super intelligent beings comes after scientists proved that dolphins form individual words which they string together into sentences in much the same way that humans speak [read more]. This indicates a ‘high level of intelligence and consciousness in dolphins’. Dolphins brains are larger and more complex than those of humans and they have been for more than 25 million years.

The only way we can stop their persecution is by removing the demand for captive dolphins. The value and demand for Dolphin meat is so low that the drive hunts will not continue without the profits from those Dolphins sold into slavery. Please never buy a ticket to a dolphin show, do not support this horror.


Images: Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt 2015-2016 Season Over

taiji update

The Taiji Dolphin drive hunt season has now thankfully come to an end, until 1st September when it will start all over again.

Since the start of the season on 1 September 2015, 884 dolphins from 5 species have been driven into the cove in Taiji, Japan.

652 were slaughtered, 121 were released (but likely died afterwards) and 111 have been taken as live-capture to be sold into slavery.

Species taken/killed include: Pacific Bottlenose dolphins, Pacific White-Sided dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Short-Finned Pilot Whales and Striped dolphins.

The drive hunts officially last from 1st September to 1st March each year, however Dolphins and Porpoises are actually killed in Japanese waters all year round via harpoon and drive fishery:

Iwate (Nov – May)
Miyagi (July – Aug, Oct – Apr)
Aomori (Nov – Apr)
Wakayama (All year)
Shizuoka (Sep – Mar)
Hokkaido (May – June, Aug – Oct)
Chiba (July – Aug, Nov – Apr)

We remember all those Dolphins killed this season and in all previous seasons. We remember those who witnessed their family members being murdered and whose own lives ended the moment they were taken away into slavery; to be starved and forced to perform tricks in ‘Dolphin shows’ and ‘swim with Dolphins’ tourist attractions.

Find out more about the Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunts

Please never, ever buy a ticket to see captive dolphins – the drive hunts are funded and fuelled by the captive dolphin industry. By supporting this vile industry, you are paying for the slaughter of Dolphins and ensuring that other Dolphins will also be captured and forced into a miserable, shortened life in captivity.

Information source: and

Update On Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt

bottlenose dolphins murdered in japan

Following on from our coverage of the brutal capture and murder of a family of Pilot Whales that saw 51 slaughtered and 1 taken into captivity on 19th November 2015, here is an update on the drive hunts that have followed.

28th November

The Pilot Whale taken into captivity during the drive on 19th November has died. He or she had been being force fed by whale museum trainers in the harbour pens after refusing to eat for 8 days.

29th November

A family of six Risso’s dolphins were driven into the cove and murdered, it all happened very quickly. The family that were swimming freely in the ocean were now dead just two hours later.

16th December

After 16 Blue Cove days, a family of 8 Risso’s dolphins, including one juvenile, were brutally murdered by the hunters of Taiji. The family fought bravely for over five hours and nearly escaped, however they were ultimately unable to escape the evil killers in their vessels.

18th December

The dolphin killers spotted a large pod of Striped dolphins migrating past and a drive began. Around half of the pod managed to escape but 36 Striped dolphins were driven into the killing cove and none were spared. Striped dolphins are seen as unsuitable for captivity and they are always killed for their contaminated flesh.

20th December

A large pod of 90 Bottlenose dolphins were driven into the cove. 30 dolphins were taken into captivity, they are now slaves for the rest of their shortened lives. 30 dolphins passed away due to the brutal selection process and due to extreme shock. The rest of the pod, around 20 dolphins, were driven back to the sea. They contained many babies and juveniles and are unlikely to survive.

5th January 2016

After 15 Blue Cove days with no killings, 15-17 Risso’s dolphins were spotted off of the coast of Taiji and were very quickly driven into the cove. The pod huddled together in terror, none were spared.

6th January

35 beautiful Striped dolphins were located as they migrated past Taiji, they fought for two hours but were ultimately driven into the killing cove and all were murdered in front of their family members.

striped dolphins murdered in Taiji Japan

Striped Dolphins Killed in Taiji, Japan

7th January

A family of Bottlenose dolphins were driven towards the killing Cove at Taiji – half of them thankfully managed to escape just outside the cove, but the rest were driven in and the nets sealed them inside. Trainers came to determine the fate of the dolphins; if they were ‘pretty’ enough, i.e. free from scars and blemishes, they would be taken to be sold into the captivity industry. However the trainers felt that these dolphins were not suitable for sale and so the entire family were murdered in front of each other.

“The global captivity industry is the main driver of the brutal and barbaric hunt and slaughter of thousands of dolphins and whales every year.” Sea Shepherd.

Dolphins are taken from the wild for captivity in brutal drive hunts that kill their families

Although poor dolphins are killed for their Mercury contaminated bodies to be eaten, the dolphin drive hunts are fuelled and financed by the captive dolphin industry. 12 boats go out each day for six months of every year from the small harbour at Taiji, in the Wakayama prefecture of Japan. The dolphins are hunted to either be killed for meat or sold to marine parks. The cost of these hunts however would not be worthwhile without the huge sums – up to $300,000 per dolphin, that can be made from sales to the ‎captivity‬ industry. For meat, dolphins only make around $600 each.

Say no to captivity – never buy a ticket to a facility with captive dolphins or any other mammals. There is no beauty in stolen freedom.

Follow the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians.

All images copyright: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians.

Family Of Pilot Whales Murdered In Taiji, Japan

pilot whales murdered in taiji japan

On 21st November 2015, two family pods of Pilot Whales, containing many juveniles, were captured in Taiji, Japan. For three days they were netted in the infamous Taiji Cove, left without food or water and not knowing their fate or the fate of their loved ones. The world looked on and wondered also what their fate would be – captivity or slaughter.

The loyal, loving families experienced their last moments together and in the ocean, never to know freedom again.

One Pilot Whale was ripped away from its family early on, they tried to prevent him or her being taken from them but they could not compete with the killers and trainers working together. After three days of unimaginable suffering and cruelty, out of approximately 60 or more Pilot Whales, only 15 or so juveniles were released, some dying whilst being driven back out to the ocean. The rest of the juveniles are highly unlikely to survive but they are released so their deaths don’t count against the killer’s quota. The young Pilot Whale taken into captivity refused to eat and eventually died, joining the rest of his or her family who were murdered for their mercury contaminated bodies – not fit for human consumption.  

Please never pay to see a dolphin show, the captive dolphins you see are forced to perform for dead fish in tiny pools and are highly likely to come from the brutal Taiji dolphin drive hunts, or they will be descended from a dolphin taken from the ocean in this way. Remember, there is no beauty in stolen freedom.

Pilot Whales trapped in the nets

Image: Sea Shepherd. Pilot Whales trapped in the nets

Read more about Sea Shepherd’s campaign to end the dolphin drive hunts in Taiji

London Protest For Japan Dolphins Day 2015

no to dolphin captivity

There was a great turn out in London on 1st September for Japan Dolphins Day 2015 in a protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Piccadilly. Hundreds attended, including Dominic Dyer from Born Free and Care for the Wild.

The dolphin drive hunts in Taiji are funded by the captive dolphin industry. The drive hunts officially take place from 1st September through to the beginning of March every year. Please never buy a ticket to a facility with captive dolphins or Orcas.

Find out more about the Taiji dolphin drive hunts.

For updates, please follow the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Facebook Page and the Twitter and Facebook hashtags ‪#‎Tweet4Taiji‬ and ‪#‎OpHenkaku‬.

Taiji Protest Feb 2015

Taiji protest feb 2015

A peaceful protest took place outside the Japanese Embassy in London on 20th February, against the slaughter and abduction for the captive dolphin industry of thousands of dolphins and small whales every year in Taiji, Japan. Around 1,000 people turned out to make their voices heard and to show Japan that the capture and slaughter of dolphins will not be tolerated.

Read more about the Taiji dolphin drive hunts

London Protest Against Taiji Dolphin Slaughters And Captivity January 2015

Taiji Anti Captivity Protest Jan 2015 London

London turned out in force on Saturday 17th January in opposition to the continued slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and against the captive dolphin and orca industry, such as Lolita who has been imprisoned for 44 years since being stolen from her family in the ocean. She is currently languishing in Miami Sea Aquarium, in the smallest pool to house an orca in Northern America.

There were around 1,000 people who took part in the protest, which started with a march through central London to Trafalgar Square. Once there guest speakers including Will Travers from the Born Free Foundation, Dominic Dyer from Care for the Wild and Sharon Bull delivered highly charged speeches against keeping cetaceans in captivity. Sharon Bull gave a reading of her poem about the baby albino dolphin nicknamed on social media ‘Angel’; who was stolen from her family in the Cove at Taiji exactly a year ago to the day of the protest. Her family were butchered and she now remains confined in a tiny, filthy pool in Taiji Whale Museum.

The day ended with a protest outside the Virgin Holidays store in Kensington, where a petition was handed in to the store for Richard Branson to ask him to cease selling holidays to SeaWorld and to stop supporting the captive dolphin industry.

Please read more about the dolphin slaughters in Taiji.

Bottlenose Dolphins And Pilot Whales Captured In Taiji, Japan

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

On the 19th December the Taiji dolphin killers drove a large mixed pod of Bottlenose dolphins and Pilot Whales into the killing cove. The pod contained many juveniles and babies. They were held overnight while the killers went home to rest. The next morning the killers separated the pod into two separate groups; the first group consisted of mostly Bottlenose dolphins, of which 4 were taken into a miserable life in captivity.

Approximately 22-25 dolphins and whales were killed on the 20th December. The remainder of the pod were held for a second night. They had eaten no food since before their capture and had witnessed their family being manhandled and slaughtered. They now swam in their blood.

On the second day the remaining juvenile dolphins and whales were forced into slings and dumped out at sea in different locations, their chances of survival are slim to none. Some of these calves are possibly under a year old and without their mother’s milk, they are very likely to die. Calves usually nurse until they are 3 or 4 years old.

One Pilot Whale died from stress and trauma. The killers tried to hide its body as they took it into the butcher house. This Pilot Whale won’t count against the killer’s quota.

After being held for 2 days in the cove, this peaceful mixed pod of Bottlenose dolphins and Pilot Whales were either slaughtered, taken for captivity or dumped at sea. There were a total of 4 captives taken and considering that captured dolphins can be sold for up to around $300,000 each, it was a very profitable weekend for the town of Taiji.

Please follow the fantastic Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians to find out the latest news from Taiji.

Petition to Samsung To Stop Sponsoring Olympic Games In Tokyo

Pilot Whale Spyhopping

A huge thank you to everyone who has signed and shared my petition to ask Samsung to cancel their sponsorship of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – we’re up to over 570 signatures in just two days – awesome work!

If you haven’t already, please sign and share, share, share… Thank you!


We are now on 2,900 signatures at 2nd February 2015 – thanks everyone!