Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd's Dolphin Defense Campaign in Taiji, Japan Donate Now

January 18, 2011

Report from Taiji: January 18

Dolphins splash on the rocks while a dolphin hunter tries to push them awayDolphins splash on the rocks while a dolphin hunter tries to push them awayWhen I was younger and dreamed of saving the dolphins, I didn’t imagine that I would be doing it in a foreign country while trying to communicate with prideful men that despise me for trying to interfere with their so-called culture. Nor did I ever imagine that I would witness dolphins commit suicide by throwing themselves against jagged rocks due to disorienting fear.

Today a pod of an estimated 40 striped dolphins were driven into the Cove and again, they were consumed by terror to the point of leaping out of the water and onto the rocks where they become bloody and disabled. The question remains as to if this is a conscious act of desperation on the dolphins’ part, or if they are so overcome with fear that their brains shut down and they are unaware of what they are doing. Given that it is scientifically proven that dolphins are just as intelligent as humans, perhaps this is an instinct that kicks in for them when they know they are facing their own mortality. I always try to put myself in the dolphin’s shoes, so to speak, and think about what I would do if I found myself knocking on death’s door.  If I were moments away from being murdered, I believe I would attempt suicide as well. Death by your own hand is better than a degrading and humiliating exit from life at the hand of a cruel being that possesses no soul. I’ve experienced the murder of a loved one; it is a horror of unimaginable proportions.

A dolphin hunter jumps from a banger boat onto a skiffA dolphin hunter jumps from a banger boat
onto a skiff
I cannot even pretend to understand the conscious reality these dolphins face while witnessing the barbaric destruction of their families. I feel so pathetically helpless, so disgustingly powerless while this is happening before my eyes. I feel ridiculous for worrying about the petty things in life while such an unspeakable horror is happening here in Taiji. This world may be full of horror, but it is also full of good as there are so many amazing people out there who care so deeply and passionately about beings that touch the soul. A good friend of mine says that if everyone picked one cause to fight for, there would be no more causes in this world left to fight. How right he is! This is the cause I have chosen and I will fight for these dolphins until there’s no need to fight anymore.

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

Dolphin Base: From the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or send email to

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  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

Banger boats and a skiff drive a pod of striped dolphins into the CoveBanger boats and a skiff drive a pod of striped dolphins into the Cove

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