March 6, 2011
Report from Taiji: March 6
Back in Taiji
By all appearances, the dolphin molesters in Taiji have indeed ceased their hunting and killing for the season. Of course, they continue to hold dolphins captive in the harbor pens. We recorded the underwater sounds of Taiji harbor during a captive dolphin feeding operation. You can listen here.
Sounds from the hydrophone
There was an interesting development in Taiji this week. Every household in the town received in the mail a Japanese language copy of the movie, the Cove. We are told that this made the molesters very angry and also spooked a number of residents. Many threw their copies away, but others have watched. A reporter from Tokyo interviewed us about the movie delivery. We explained to him that the Ocean Preservation Society (OPS) sent the copies and that he should ask OPS about it.
There are now two Cove Guardians in Taiji: veteran Guardian Tarah from Canada and myself. Thomas left on Friday so he could attend the so-called whale conference in Tokyo, and Rupert left yesterday to return home. The authorities sure were surprised to see us back. They even have made some crude attempts at surveillance. We have nothing to hide and welcome their scrutiny.
We have learned a few things about this season’s hunt and the Cove Guardians impact on the hunt. For one thing, the molesters are quite angry that we were here all season long. They thought that they could wait us out in September (as they have done before) and that we would eventually go away. But of course, we did not leave. We were here each and every day, which meant that they could not do what they do in secret any longer. We have learned that this daily presence was “very difficult” for the molesters. In addition, they had to keep changing their tactics and expending effort to shield their shameful activities from our cameras. In the end, this cost them time and money and all told, reduced their ability to capture and kill dolphins. It is true that there are fewer dolphins to be found than in years’ past. (No surprise here with the wanton slaughter that has been waged against the dolphins.) But it is also true, and by the molesters’ own admission, that our daily presence reduced the numbers they captured and killed this year.
This year has been a double victory for cetaceans over Japan. Yes, many whales and dolphins have been killed, but the illegal whaling fleet was sent home early from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the dolphins near the town of Taiji did not suffer as much loss as in years past. This problem will not end overnight. We must stay on them and offer no compromise until the government sees its way clear to have Japan enter the world of modern, progressive, and thoughtful nations. As it is now, the barbarism shown against cetaceans and the whole marine ecosystem is something that should shame every citizen of Japan. Perhaps one day though, Japan will take its place as a leader of marine conservation.
It is our intention to return to Taiji next year subject to our budget and strategic practicalities.
We are planning an interesting surprise. Stay tuned for the next update to learn about it.
For the oceans,