Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

February 1, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 1

The transport truck rests against the guardrail after clipping it and becoming stuck. Photo: Andy Romanowski.The transport truck rests against the guardrail after clipping it and becoming stuck.
Photo: Andy Romanowski
While eight Risso’s dolphins lost their lives in the Cove today, three Pacific White-sided Dolphins finally made their way to a new aquarium in the Oita Prefecture. These dolphins, now referred to worldwide as ‘The Taiji Three’ (the Cove Guardians named them Steve, Bob, and Godzilla after the Sea Shepherd vessels), experienced a harrowing journey that was beyond their control.

After being loaded into small wooden coffins and packed with ice, these dolphins spent over 30 hours in the back of a truck. A sudden blizzard caused the transport truck to wreck and become stuck in the snow on the side of the road, where it remained for an estimated eight hours. Cove Guardians Andy and Nicole were present on the scene to document and share the trauma that befell these creatures, resulting in coverage on CNN’s iReport.

After keeping vigil with the truck on the side of the highway, the police forced Nicole and Andy to turn their vehicle around since they did not have chains or proper tires for the snow conditions. They had no choice but to abandon their mission and head back to Taiji. But we now know, via phone calls made by our Japanese friend, that ‘The Taiji Three’ reside in the Tsukumi Dolphin Island, a new aquarium in Tsukumi city that is set to have its grand opening in April of this year.

The Cove Guardian vehicle waits on the side of the road with the transport truck in the background. Photo: Andy Romanowski. The Cove Guardian vehicle waits on the side of the road with the transport truck in the background.
Photo: Andy Romanowski
This new aquarium, while on the phone with our friend, promptly denied that the transport truck had been involved in an accident and would not say if these dolphins were from Taiji or not. I am in the process of obtaining contact information for this aquarium and will pass it on as soon as I can. In the meantime, continue to call and e-mail your concerns and protest against the dolphin slaughter and captivity to Dolphin Base.

Dolphin Base: From the United States, dial 81-0735-59-3514 or send email to info@dolphinbase.co.jp

Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.

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

Private Space oversees the loading of "The Taiji Three." Photo: Andy Romanowski.Private Space oversees the loading of "The Taiji Three."
Photo: Andy Romanowski

Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.