September 26, 2011
Operation Infinite Patience Week 2
Heavy Typhoon Winds and a Deteriorating Captive Dolphin
Report by Cove Guardians Leader Rosie Kunneke
Week two of Operation Infinite Patience was yet another good week for the dolphins around the shores of Taiji. Typhoon Roke, with strong winds later in the week, ensured that the dolphin killers stayed in port for four days. For the first two days after the typhoon, the boats went out but came back without any dolphins. On one occasion, the boats went out and found a pod within an hour, very close to shore. Over the following three plus hours, we watched them try to drive the dolphins into the harbor entrance. They started the drive with six boats but eventually called in the other six for reinforcement. The dolphins fought hard to get away from the killers, and fortunately, found cover from the passerby ships in the shipping lanes, which broke up the banger boats’ wicked formation line. This family of dolphins managed to outsmart them and get away! What an absolute relief it was to see the banger boats retrieving back to the harbor emptyhanded.
The afternoon after typhoon Roke has passed, I checked in on all the dolphins in their holding pens at the Dolphin Resort, and thankfully, all had survived the typhoon. At the holding pens, I witnessed the trainers tubefeed a dolphin who was perhaps too ill or dispirited to perform degrading tricks for his meals. I went back daily to check on this specific dolphin and over the next two days, I started to notice repetive neurotic behavior displayed by this sick and obviously unhappy dolphin that struck me as unusual. This dolphin was spyhopping non-stop throughout the entire day, probably induced by feelings of intense claustrophobia in the small pen. This repetitive behavior caused open sores on his tail from repeatedly slamming against the bottom net. The trainers treated his tail with injections and antiseptic spray.
After making numerous requests to the Dolphin Resort staff to help the sickly dolphin, the trainers are denying the dolphin is suffering to the police. We are calling on passionate people to contact Dolphin Resort to request bigger and better living conditions, qualified veterinary treatment, and even release with rehabilitation assistance for this dolphin before its too late. Dolphin Resort needs to see that people are concerned for the well being of each and every captive dolphin in their pens.
Day in and day out, these dolphins must perform senseless tricks in order to earn their meals. They must lie still on their backs so that tourists can rub their bellies and touch them, and they must swim around with tourists on their backs grabbing onto their dorsal fins. The harassment of dolphins that is taking place in this small town is indescribable.
The police are constantly being called by the fishermen and trainers to try and get rid of us. However, when the police arrive, they are unable to take any action against us because we are not breaking any laws. The trainers even try to complain to the police that we are interfering with their commerce because we pleaded for them to help the sick dolphin while tourists were in the area paying for their dolphin swim. The police did not even take this statement seriously. I gather that being helpless is really frustrating for the police. The police responsible for patrolling Taiji around-the-clock mostly come from other cities and towns. They leave their homes and families behind to come to a small fishing village and work long hours in order to ensure that the killers can do their dirty business undisturbed by activists…what a total waste of time and resources for the country of Japan which could use these funds in much better ways.
The first wave of volunteer Cove Guardians arrived this week including Peter Nicholson, (an Australian living in Japan) and Canadians Adrian Demone, Marley Daviduk, and Carisa Webster. The increased Sea Shepherd presence definitely increased the stress levels for the on-duty police.
Be sure to visit Sea Shepherd’s official Facebook page to stay current on the Cove Guardians and follow @seashepherd on Twitter as we “#Tweet4Taiji” featuring the official breaking news updates as they happen.