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