TAIJI TRAGEDY CONTINUES: Dolphins continue to die!

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December 21, 2013 by Ric O’Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Ric O’Barry
Director
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

I’ve been in Taiji since last week, working closely with Sakura and other Japanese activists who are visiting.  My friend Satoshi, head of Flippers Japan, is coming to visit here soon.

TAIJI TRAGEDY CONTINUES

The good news is that there is a growing movement of Japanese animal rights activists who agree with us that the dolphin hunts in Taiji are cruel and should end.  They are conducting demonstrations in Tokyo and coming to Taiji to see the dolphin hunts for themselves.

Sakura has been posting updates from Taiji for the past three months in both Japanese and English (including on our Dolphin Project Facebook Page).

She is really dedicated, talking to every Japanese tourist who comes to visit Taiji about the dolphin hunts.  We wish we could clone her!

All this activity in Japan gives me hope for the future.

I need hope right now.  The dolphin hunts here are still very ghastly and would make anyone sick.

Risso’s dolphins in the Cove from a drive hunt on Friday in Taiji. These beautiful animals were all killed. Photo by Sakura Araki.

Some other good news:  the dolphin killers have announced they will be stopping hunts on their annual end-of-year break, from Dec. 24th through January 4th.

So at least some dolphins and whales will get a respite for the holidays.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, too.  We cannot give up our efforts to stop the dolphin hunts here in Taiji and throughout Japan.

We should draw strength from our progress so far – we have accomplished quite a bit since 2003 when I first saw the dolphin hunts in Taiji for myself.

The Earth Island Dolphin Project Team and I will continue the effort for as long as it takes.  I can guarantee to you that we will not give up!

If you would like to help us with a donation, that would be great!

Dead Risso’s dolphins being transferred from the killing grounds of the Cove to the slaughterhouse in Taiji harbor. Photo by Sakura Araki.

If you are helping us with your volunteer work and spreading the word, my deepest thanks.

Take care and happy holidays to you and yours from all of us at Earth Island Institute and the Dolphin Project!

Photos of recent Risso’s dolphin hunt in Taiji by Sakura Araki.

News Link:http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/taiji-tragedy-continues

 Not Belong in Captivity!

ORCAS AND DOLPHINS DO NOT BELONG IN CAPTIVITY!
Orcas and Dolphins Do Not Belong in Captivity!

The recent documentaries Blackfish and The Cove show that putting dolphins and orcas in captivity is unethical and cruel, ripping them from their families that they would normally grow up with and depriving them of the freedom of the open ocean, instead confining them to small concrete tanks to do tricks for dead fish.

 MAKE A DONATION TO HELP KEEP THE CAMPAIGN GOING

DONATE HERE to our efforts to STOP the SLAUGHTER/TRADE/and DISPLAY OF DOLPHINS AND WHALES IN CAPTIVITY.

WATCH OUR NEW “RELEASE ME” VIDEO AND SPREAD THE WORD TO FRIENDS

https://vimeo.com/77548465

Release Me :15 DolphinProject.org PSA from Dolphin Project on Vimeo.

DolphinProject.org “Release Me” :15 PSA

Director Lincoln O’Barry
Editor: Tracy Hof
Post: MPC LA
Song: Release Me
Special thanks to the amazing Frida Ohrn on vocals
Oh Laura
ITunes: itunes.apple.com/us/artist/oh-laura/id254454772
Cosmos Music Group
Warner/Chappell

Special Thanks to Elexis Stern at MPC LA

Help us spread the word so that millions of people can see this video and get involvedPLEASE SHARE THIS LINK.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE

Dolphins have evolved over millions of years, adapting perfectly to life in the ocean. They are intelligent, social and self-aware, exhibiting evidence of a highly developed emotional sense. Here are just a few of the issues with captivity:

Captures of dolphins are traumatic and stressful and can result in injury and death of dolphins. The numbers of dolphins that die during capture operations or shortly thereafter are never revealed in dolphinariums or swim-with-dolphins programs. Some facilities even claim their dolphins were “rescued” from the ocean and cannot be released. This claim is almost invariably false.

Training of dolphins is often deliberately misrepresented by the captive dolphin industry to make it look as if dolphins perform because they like it. This isn’t the case. They are performing because they have been deprived of food.

Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. It is much like forcing a person to live in a hall of mirrors for the rest of their life – their image always bouncing back with no clear direction in sight.

Dolphins and whales have been shown by recent scientific research to be sensitive with likely more ranges of emotions than humans, with culture that is handed down through generations, and personal names.  They deserve our respect and the right to remain in the wild, free from harassment and harm.

Earth Island Institute’s campaign to protect dolphins and whales focuses on stopping the killing of these animals in the wild in places like Japan, Indonesia, the Faroe Islands and the Solomon Islands, as well as stopping the blood dolphin$ trade to dolphinariums around the world.  In fact, these dolphin hunts are often supported by the dolphin trade to catch some individuals for captivity, while the remainder are slaughtered.

Click here to see a list of Captive Dolphin Facilities that have been Closed or Never Opened.

These success stories were accomplished by people like you taking action and stopping all support of dolphin shows and all swim-with-dolphin facilities.

WRITE A LETTER to Your Local Newspaper.  Click HERE for a sample.

HELP SPREAD THE WORD – Let your friends, family, school mates, and service club members know about the problem of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity.

For Further Information:

A great Editorial from the Los Angeles Times opposing captivity.

Ken Brower’s excellent Blackfish Review for National Geographic.

With the annual Taiji, Japan, dolphin hunt starting in September,Georgia Woodroffe goes into detail about the horrors facing whales and dolphins.

Earth Island Dolphin Project Blogs:

India Ban on Captivity

Korean Dolphin Release Success

Beluga Import Permit Denied

Empty the Tanks Demonstration in Vallejo

Don’t do Dolphin-Assisted Therapy

One Thousand Protesters at Marineland, Canada

Birth of Orca in SeaWorld Nothing to Celebrate

WAZA Could Stop the Slaughter

One Sad Orca

Follow the Money: Captivity and Dolphin Slaughter

Taiji Whale Museum: Dolphin Traffickers

The Problem with Captivity


Tilikum in a scene from BLACKFISH, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Photo credit: Gabriela Cowperthwaite.

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The dolphin snatchers: Mail investigation exposes vile trade where animals are sold for up to £100,000 each to aquariums where they suffer unimaginable cruelty

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For the men wearing wetsuits wading in a shallow bay teeming with trapped wild dolphins, the decision is as simple as it is ruthless. Running their hands carefully over each dolphin’s body, they check to ensure the creature is free from scars, particularly on the dorsal and tail fins.

At first glance this human interaction with one of the few creatures said to possess an intellect close to our own appears an act of caring tenderness. But in reality, these are businessmen selecting their merchandise for a multi-million-pound trade in live dolphins. The best specimens (usually young females, or cows) are removed from their families to be sold live for between £50,000 and £100,000 each to aquariums.

The dolphins they reject — the ones with minor blemishes on their skin — are slaughtered where they are trapped in that cove at Taiji on the south coast of Japan.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – Discretion advised when scrolling down!

The cruel sea: A dolphin selected for sale last month in Japan. Others that are 'not suitable' are killed

The cruel sea: A dolphin selected for sale last month in Japan. Others that are ‘not suitable’ are killed

In a frenzy of violence that has shocked animal lovers and marine environmentalists around the world, some are speared repeatedly by fisherman circling in motorboats whose propellers often slice the dolphins’ skin. Others are simply held underwater to drown.

Sometimes, a metal pole is rammed into their blubber in the hope of shattering the mammal’s spine. A cork stopper is then hammered into the hole where the rod was forced in, to try to reduce the blood spilt into the sea — to conceal the extent of the slaughter.

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The rejects are slaughtered for their meat. Some are speared repeatedly by fisherman circling in motorboats whose propellers often slice the dolphins’ skin

Invariably a few dolphins try to make a break for freedom and attempt to jump over the netting that seals off the bay.

However, amid the blood-red waters almost all of them eventually succumb to their fate. These barbaric scenes took place just before Christmas, during a hunting season when Japanese fishermen ‘harvest’ dolphins to supply to aquariums for human entertainment.

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Killer cove: The dolphins they reject – the ones with minor blemishes on their skin – are trapped in a cove at Taiji on the south coast of Japan

It is estimated that for every wild dolphin caught to be trained to perform tricks in captivity, around four times that number are slaughtered.

The fishermen then sell off the meat for about £10 a kilo. They see the creatures as a menace because they pose a threat to the dwindling reserves of fish in the Pacific Ocean.

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Blood red: Japanese fishermen collect the bodies of harpooned dolphins from the bloody waters of a bay in Taiji

But for those that survive the slaughter, life might as well be over.The stress a dolphin suffers as a result of being captured, transported and imprisoned in a small tank dramatically reduces its lifespan

While wild dolphins live for up to 60 or 70 years, captured ones often perish when they are as young as eight, say environmentalists.

According to marine experts, some dolphins are so distressed by their capture that they commit suicide.

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The odds: For every wild dolphin caught to be trained to perform tricks in captivity, around four times that number are slaughtered

One of the most vocal campaigners against the practice is also one of the most knowledgeable — he is the very man who helped create and promote the worldwide aquarium industry.

Ric O’Barry became famous in the Sixties as the on-screen trainer of the five dolphins that played Flipper in the popular U.S. TV series, which was also hugely successful in Britain.

For ten years he worked at Miami Seaquarium, where he trained the wild mammals after capturing them on hunting expeditions in the Pacific.

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Rounding them up: Fishermen drive bottle-nose dolphins into a net during their annual hunt off Taiji. The ‘drive hunt’ involved five or six large fishing vessels sailing out to sea to find a pod of dolphins

But when Kathy, the main dolphin that played Flipper, died in his arms after apparently losing the will to live, he says it dawned on him how cruel captivity is for such intelligent and social creatures.

For the past 40 years he has travelled the world highlighting the plight of dolphins in amusement parks, and even releasing them from those parks into the wild, often getting arrested in the process.

Three years ago, he made a documentary called The Cove, which revealed the truth about the ‘drive hunts’ that take place at Taiji in Japan. Yet since then, the practice has continued unabated — as these photographs demonstrate only too graphically.

O’Barry, 73, says live dolphins taken from the waters in Japan are shipped to aquariums and ‘swim-with-dolphin’ centres mostly in the Far East. Speaking from his home in Miami, O’Barry says: ‘Taiji is the number one location to get dolphins for the dolphinarium industry — or what I called “abusement parks”.’

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Some dolphins are so distressed by their capture that they commit suicide. the stress that they suffer as a result of being captured dramatically shortens their lifespan

Although there are no international laws banning the shipment of live dolphins to those countries prepared to accept them, O’Barry claims the dolphins undergo terrible suffering.

‘After enduring a painfully long period of transportation, they are put into often filthy and confined conditions at aquariums. ‘These are free-ranging creatures with a large brain whose primary sense is sound.

‘Some have been placed in aquariums at casinos where the noise is appalling. These environments are hell-holes to creatures used to the open seas and which often swim up to 100 miles in a day in search of food. ‘They are taken away from the two most important aspects of their life — the world of oceanic sound and their families. ‘They end up suffering depression. I believe they are also capable of trying to commit suicide.’

Two years ago at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in south-western Japan, hundreds of tourists at a marine show looked on in astonishment as a large dolphin rose up out of the water tank to balance precariously on the glass barrier of the aquarium. It then threw itself out of the water on to the ground.

Touchingly, the other dolphins in the tank swam to the glass wall to look at the plight of their companion, called Kuru (meaning ‘black’). The dolphin was eventually put into a huge tarpaulin sling and winched by a crane back into the water.

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The hunt is on: Taiji’s fishermen are licensed by the national government to catch 2,100 dolphins and pilot whales in the six-month hunting season

The incident was filmed by an appalled American tourist, who passed the footage on to O’Barry. While many thought the mammal was trying to make a break for freedom, O’Barry believes it was more likely it wanted to commit suicide.

‘It was depressed and wanted to end it,’ O’Barry says, adding that it had been in captivity for six years after being taken from the wild. ‘I have seen it many, many times. They are living in a world of sensory deprivation, then bombarded with a wall of noise from the crowd.’

After the clip was made public the aquarium managers immediately issued a statement saying the dolphin was ‘playing around’ and suffered minor scratches and bruises on its head and fin. It was, they insisted, fine and enjoyed a healthy serving of mackerel and squid once returned to the tank.

They did admit, however, that dolphins occasionally jump out of the water on to dry land, so they have now placed crash mats around the perimeter of the three tanks in their amusement park to avoid serious injury.

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A hidden practice: Due to worldwide concern, the fishermen now try to hide the slaughter. The kills take place out of sight underneath blue tarpaulins

The trade in wild dolphins to U.S. aquariums has ceased due to public outrage, and the high-profile campaigns of activists like O’Barry.

There are no captive dolphins in Britain either as a result of a public backlash against the shows. Only a few are on show in Europe, and these animals were born in captivity — although O’Barry fears even this poses a threat to the mammals’ welfare because there is now a problem with inbreeding. O’Barry exhorts the public never to attend dolphin aquariums.

‘The solution lies with the consumer,’ he says. ‘Don’t buy a ticket for a captive dolphin show. ‘This is a multi-million-dollar industry I helped create. I remember loading them onto the planes after the Flipper show became so popular. At one point there were more dolphins in the UK than in Florida.

‘But the consumer now has to bring his power to bear on this trade, which also results in the slaughter of all those other dolphins. There is more money in live dolphins than dead ones, but the one fuels the other.’

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A fisheries worker guides the carcass of dolphins at ‘killer cove’ in Taiji, Japan. The fishermen claim that any kills that take place are humane and that it takes only seconds for the dolphins to die

In Taiji, Nicole McLachlan, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is part of a team monitoring the capture and killing of dolphins that takes place from September to March each year in the small port where whales have been hunted since the 17th century. Last month alone, she claims up to 170 cetaceans were killed, including pilot whales, risso, striped and bottlenose dolphins. More than 100 were captured for aquariums.

Such is worldwide concern over the slaughter that the fishermen try to hide it. ‘Nowadays the kills take place out of sight underneath blue and brown tarpaulins that cover the bay,’ the Australian marine environmentalist says.

The carnage lasts about half an hour. It is harrowing. ‘They are terrified. You hear the dolphins screaming; it’s a high-pitched wailing sound. ‘There is splashing as they thrash around in the water. Young dolphin calves are often among those slaughtered within the cove; some are younger than a year old.’

Yet locals are adamant it should continue. Police monitor the activists while many of the town’s 3,500 residents — most of whom are linked to the fishing industry — arrive to support the fishermen in this Japanese tradition.

The ‘drive hunt’ (‘oikomiryou’ in Japanese) involves five or six large fishing vessels sailing out to sea to find a pod of dolphins. The fishermen bang metal poles against the side of the boat to disorientate and scare them.

More boats arrive, making the same noise, to corral the confused and by now terrified pod into the cove, which is then sealed off. The next day the inspectors arrive to examine their quarry and separate the dolphins for the aquariums from those to be killed.

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, between 1968 and 1972, only 77 live-caught bottlenose dolphins were sent to aquariums from such hunts. But now Taiji’s 120 fishermen are licensed by the national government to catch 2,100 dolphins and pilot whales in the six-month hunting season.

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A fisherman tows away dolphins that have been tied by rope to the front of his boat. In 2011, about 15 per cent of dolphins were taken into captivity (68 were kept alive and 968 killed)

The fishermen claim any kills that take place, particularly those where the rod shatters the spine, are humane and that it takes only seconds for the dolphins to die. It is a claim vehemently refuted by marine environmentalists.

A spokesman for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said: ‘In 2011, about 15 per cent of the dolphins were taken for captivity (68 were kept alive and 968 killed). ‘The year before that (2010-2011), nearly 20 per cent were taken into captivity (213 were sold for aquariums and 1,100 were killed)  This year, however, may be even higher due to the 100 bottlenose dolphins already taken into captivity.’

In the summer months, long after the blood has been washed away from Taiji cove, tourists arrive to swim in the bay — with dolphins. The town has a whale museum and fish tanks in which dolphins are kept — in 2011, two dolphins were filmed in a tank so small it was nicknamed ‘the fish-bowl’.

Captured dolphins also swim in the bay, which is sealed off to ensure they cannot bolt to freedom.

And as tourists marvel at the antics of these sensitive creatures and play with them, almost every one remains blissfully unaware of Taiji’s bloody secret — and of how young healthy dolphins are snatched away from their parents to amuse humans in this callous multi-million-pound trade.

News Link:– http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257426/The-dolphin-snatchers-Mail-investigation-exposes-vile-trade-animals-sold-100-000-aquariums-suffer-unimaginable-cruelty.html#ixzz2H3wYDyHM

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Please spare a moment to sign just a few of the many petitions – Thanks in advance:-

PARTICIPATE IN JAPAN DOLPHINS DAY 2012!

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July 18, 2012 by Ric O’Barry, Earth Island Institute

Ric O’Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins

Dear Friends and fellow Dolphin Lovers:

I am asking you for your help. On or around Sept. 1, please head to your local Japanese embassy or consulate to voice your concern about the dolphin slaughters!

This time of year always makes my heart heavy. September 1 marks the official beginning of the dolphin drive hunting season in Taiji, Japan, as I helped to show the world in the Oscar-winning movie The Cove. Every year, thousands of dolphins are brutally killed; some are then sold into a lifetime of slavery in captive facilities around the globe, and the rest are used for their flesh – which is highly contaminated with mercury and other toxins, rendering in dangerous for human consumption.

We absolutely must keep the international spotlight on Taiji in order to stop these senseless murders once and for all. This is why I am asking you to lend your voice to the cause and join or organize a Japan Dolphins Day event in your area.

The good news is that we already have many events in countries around the world, put together by dedicated people like you. We have created a map which allows you to find one in your area:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=218328447128658910358.0004c363570a91076da24&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=54.59667,-5.930203&spn=91.259621,292.160024&t=m&source=embed

If you don’t see an event in your area, I STRONGLY encourage you to organize your own! Please contact laurab@earthisland.orgfor more information on how to get started.

This year, September 1 falls on a Saturday. Organizers have the option of holding their event on August 31, but only for the purpose of attempting contact with the embassy staff. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these events should be focused around MEDIA – try to get as many newspapers, journalists, and television stations there as possible – because these are the people who will make sure our message gets heard around the world.

Please keep in mind that we are not speaking out against the Japanese people – we are opposing the handful of corrupt government officials who allow and even encourage the hunts to continue. I do not condone any racial slurs or anti-Japanese sentiments of any kind. We are also speaking out against any captive facility that keeps dolphins and small whales. These places, such as aquariums, marine parks and dolphinariums, are abusing animals purely for their profit. This should come to an end. Remember – don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show!

Also, it is important to note that most Japanese do not eat whale or dolphin meat, and the market for such meat is drying up — so much so that dolphin hunters in Taiji last season killed fewer dolphins than ever.  Our efforts to convince the Japanese people to stop eating whale and dolphin meat are working!  Keep up the pressure by emphasizing the human rights that are being violated by the Japan government’s silence on mercury contamination of dolphin and whale meat!

Throughout last year’s hunting season, our Cove Monitors reported regularly on the hunts, to the consternation of the dolphin hunters and the Japanese government alike. See our blog postsand be sure to regularly check our Facebook page for this year’s updates.

I hope you will join me and participate in a Japan Dolphins Day event near you. Together, we can get this stopped!

Contact laurab@earthisland.org to organize an event near you.

News Link:-http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/participate-in-japan-dolphins-day-2012

Please sign the petition:- The Cove: Help Save Japan’s Dolphins:-

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/724/210/624/

 

Dolphin meat likely to be on menu at planned Taiji whale zoo

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Rumors continue to swirl around proposed plans for a whale and dolphin zoo in Taiji, Japan.  An April 30 article in The Japan Times described the plan to “turn part of a local bay into a huge pool where people can swim and kayak along with small whales and dolphins.”  Black whales and bottlenose dolphins are named as among the cetacean species to be held captive in the netted 70-acre facility.

Proposed whale zoo in Taiji to feature kayaking and swimming with captive cetaceans Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Perhaps far more chilling is the notion of whale research being conducted as part of the overall plan. “The town hopes to make the area a center for whale research by inviting research institutions from outside as well.”  Japan’s whale research agency, The Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), is most widely know for its illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as seen on the Animal Planet television show “Whale Wars.”

According to reports from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, ICR killed 267 whales between December 2011 and March 2012.

The Japanese town of Taiji isn’t exactly well known for its humanitarian efforts either.  The 2010 Academy-award winning documentary The Cove, starring Ric O’Barry, exposed the bloody dolphin drive hunts that take place annually in the waters of the small fishing village from September to March.

For the past two seasons, volunteers from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Save Japan Dolphins have been in the ground in Taiji to document and raise awareness about the slaughter. Reports from the 2011-12 hunt are that 818 dolphins were driven into the cove.  Of those, 719 were killed and 51 were retained for use in the captive entertainment industryincluding marine parks and “swim-with” dolphin programs.

In an article published earlier today by Fox News, a Taiji town official, who declined to be named, told an AFP reporter that the dolphin hunt will continue and that “local residents see no contradiction in both watching and eating dolphins.”

The social media campaign Save Misty the Dolphin is urging concerned citizens worldwide to call their Japanese Embassies to express their viewpoints about the planned park.

News Link:-http://www.examiner.com/article/dolphin-likely-to-be-on-the-menu-at-planned-taiji-whale-zoo

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