Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

February 8, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 8

A banger boat returns to harbor emptyhanded. Photo: Andy RomanowskiA banger boat returns to harbor emptyhanded.
Photo: Andy Romanowski
In the few days since my last report was written, we’ve said goodbye to two Cove Guardians, welcomed one back for a repeat stay, and had six slaughter free days in Taiji. This past week has felt like a year. The exhaustion of this emotional and physical experience here, and constantly having to say goodbye to friends we’ve made, is starting to catch up with us. However, the thought of not being here and not sacrificing to protect a living creature that we all share a common passion for is nearly heartbreaking. Each Cove Guardian has grown so close to this cause that we have forgotten what life before Taiji was like.

Cove Guardians Andy and Sheri have since departed and are now attempting to ease their way back into the real world of working, paying bills, and not seeing dolphins slaughtered on a near-daily basis. The slaughter free days were a blessing as ending your Cove Guardian duties on a kill day is a feeling that I do not wish upon anyone. As we said goodbye at the train station, I saw the pain of witnessing slaughter in their eyes, the anger towards what these men are doing, and the frustration of being nearly helpless in stopping it. And although I’ve come to associate the train station with pain and tearful goodbyes, it’s also a place where we make promises to stay in each other’s lives, where we tell people we’ve just met that we love them, and where we’re not required to hide our tears for fear of a pro-slaughter media crew filming us.

Cove Guardians Nicole, Andy, and Libby say goodbye on the beach of the Cove. Photo: Sheri HargroveCove Guardians Nicole, Andy, and Libby say goodbye on the beach of the Cove.
Photo: Sheri Hargrove
While the winter weather remains relatively nice, the dolphin killers of Taiji are surely becoming frustrated with this six day dry spell. But the question remains whether the dolphins are changing their migration routes or if there are simply less dolphins? During my time in Taiji, the pods being driven into the Cove seem to be getting smaller, and the days between drives where no dolphins are found, are stretching longer. Yet the captive pens remain full and that aspect of business seems to be lucrative. As long as dolphinariums exist in this world, as long as parents continue to take their children to see cetaceans in concrete tanks, and as long as humans are selfish enough to enslave sentient living beings, dolphins will be hunted in Taiji.

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

Fish hang to dry in the streets of KatsuuraFish hang to dry in the streets of Katsuura Dried dolphin blubber, with the skin still attached, is sold in a local gift shopDried dolphin blubber, with the skin still attached, is sold in a local gift shop

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