Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

February 2, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 2

Dolphin hunters drive Risso's dolphins into the killing coveDolphin hunters drive Risso's dolphins into the killing coveWe’ve all heard and have all likely used the phrase ‘life is so unfair’ at some point in our lives. But nowhere has this phrase been truer than here at the Cove in Taiji, Japan. Today, an adolescent Risso’s dolphin, along with roughly 19 of its family members, were brutally murdered in the killing cove. How can it be considered fair when a young sentient being, or any sentient being for that matter, has its life torn away due to the needless brutality by another species?

The atmosphere at the Cove was different today than it is on most days, as each of the Cove Guardians felt an awkward combination of uneasiness and peacefulness. The sun was out, it was warm, and we were surrounded by natural beauty and good friends, yet it’s hard to relish in the beauty of the Cove after you’ve just witnessed a mass slaughter. The sun hinders the chance of getting a decent photo of the killing cove. In the back of our minds, we are all aware that we don’t have much time with these people who have become good friends.

A trainer at Dolphin Base prepares fish for the captivesA trainer at Dolphin Base prepares fish
for the captives
Life truly is unfair but life is also amazing; it’s all in how you look at things. Despite the fact that we are perceived as the enemy here in Taiji, the locals are so kind to us. They could be cold and hateful towards us, but they choose to be friendly and even give us small gifts from time to time. Each morning as we sit at the Mountain Pass waiting for the banger boats to appear on the horizon, the sweetest lady passes us on her daily walk. She is full of smiles, bowing and waving as she peers in the car windows at us. A few weeks ago, she began bringing us food and candy, which she presents to us along with constant foreign chatter that we cannot understand. The goodness of this woman’s heart amazes me and makes me realize that even though the job that is being done here is the most challenging that I have ever personally undertaken, it is not only necessary, but also rewarding to connect with different people and discover the good in them. The faith I have in humanity has greatly diminished during my time here, however, the bag of Hershey’s kisses given to us by an elderly Japanese woman was all it took to remind me to look at things a bit more differently.

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  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

Captive at Dolphin Base chatters for its food on February 2nd, 2011

Video credit: Sea Shepherd (:27)

Cove Guardians Jared, Andy, and Sheri walk the jetty near Dolphin BaseCove Guardians Jared, Andy, and Sheri walk the jetty near Dolphin Base

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