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December 12, 2010

Report from Taiji: December 12

Today was a fantastic dolphin slaughter-freeDolphins performing at Dolphin BaseDolphins performing at Dolphin Base day in Taiji town. Even though the sun was shining and the water was as smooth as glass, the murderers returned to the harbor with their heads hung low before 10 a.m. It’s impossible to predict what each day will bring here at the Cove. Even though yesterday was raining and overcast they still were able to find a pod, drive them in and slaughter every last one of them. Today’s weather was gorgeous and conditions were perfect, yet they found nothing.

With the last two pods being small and a few days mixed in with no dolphins at all, it’s apparent that they’re not finding the numbers of dolphins they were only a few short weeks ago. It leads me to wonder if these creatures are being annihilated and aren’t able to repopulate at the rate they’re being killed.

Close-up of the gutting bargeClose-up of the gutting bargeIt is unclear to me why these “fishermen” don’t understand the damage they’re causing to the ecosystem or if they simply don’t care. The reverence for dolphins and whales in Taiji is very misleading. The local bus has dolphin art on its side. The big windmill near the town entrance is shaped like a whale. Even some of the dolphin killers have little dolphin charms hanging from their cell phones. If you didn’t know the truth about Taiji’s dirty little secret you would simply think that this is a community that holds dolphins and whales in high regard. Tragically, these mammals are at the mercy of the bloody hands of Taiji, which is obviously a terrible place to be.

Once the last boat returned from sea and was docked in its slip at the harbor, the Cove Guardians headed to our favorite restaurant to celebrate with vegetable curry and naan bread. Cove Guardian Stephanie will be departing tomorrow and like each Guardian prior, we are sad to see her go. But she takes with her our friendship and the knowledge that we will see each other again.

Janice and Stephanie watching the transport of packaged dolphin meatJanice and Stephanie watching the transport of packaged dolphin meatHere is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian.  To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at coveguardian@seashepherd.org.  We will get back to you, but please be patient.  We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time.  Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome.  These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative.  We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.

Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them.  Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war.  This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves.  Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change.  Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it.  Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it.  Make good consumer choices.  Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade.  All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.

For the dolphins,

Libby Katsinis

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Scott’s daughter, Elora Malama West, who assisted him, will continue her blog from home.


 
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