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January 11, 2011

Report from Taiji: January 11

A juvenile striped dolphin is loaded into a crate for transportationA juvenile striped dolphin is loaded into a crate for transportationToday was definitely one of the most difficult days the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians have experienced, and I am struggling to find the words to describe what transpired. A pod of 25-30 striped dolphins were found off the coast of Taiji this morning. These dolphins put up a good fight; the hunters struggled for hours to drive them into the Cove.

Once they were netted in the killing cove, the dolphins went into a complete panic and two were able to breach the net. Once over the net, they split up, one dolphin headed out to sea, escaping a fate of murder but now facing certain death due to separation from its family pod. The other dolphin, however, befell tragedy with the Cove Guardians bearing witness. I stood at the water’s edge not noticing that the waves were lapping over my shoes, and watched this dolphin thrash about as he struggled over the net and came directly towards me. His fear was tangible and I could nearly hear him pleading for help.  He then turned sharply, swam head-on into the rocky cliff and lay still in a pool of his own blood. I almost couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing because my brain went numb and I could do nothing but stand there, completely frozen.

Two juveniles from the pod were taken away in tiny slings and loaded into a crate on the bed of a truck, more than likely destined for an aquarium and a life of oppression and slavery.

A dolphin hunter wears bloody gloves after a slaughterA dolphin hunter wears bloody gloves after a slaughterA Japanese woman approached me today and when I asked her opinion about the slaughter, she told me that she was against the slaughter but that this was their culture and she must respect her country. I understand and agree in respecting your country, but when it comes to hideous and barbaric displays of so-called culture, respect should be not be given so freely. Whoever claims that what is happening in Taiji is “culture” is either blind or drowning in denial. This is not culture. This is a shameful stain on the Japanese society; a black smudge on the nation that they desperately try to hide behind hideous blue tarps.

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

Dolphin Base: From the US call: 81-0735-59-3514 or e-mail: info@dolphinbase.co.jp

Here 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

Dolphin hunters pull a dolphin off the rocks after it crashed into them in panicDolphin hunters pull a dolphin off the rocks after it crashed into them in panic Trainers prepare to move captives at the Fisherman’s UnionTrainers prepare to move captives at the Fisherman’s Union

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.


 
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