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October 17, 2011

Operation Infinite Patience Week 5

Another Week of Mass Murder in the Cove

Report by Cove Guardians Leader Rosie Kunneke

A bird’s eye view of how the pods are corralled and eventually captured to be killedA bird’s eye view of how the pods are corralled and eventually captured to be killedLast week I reported about the pod of 17 false killer whales that were captured by the dolphin killers of Taiji. For three days after their capture, we watched the dolphin killers bring in various groups of buyers who were interested in buying a false willer whale for their respective (dolphin)arium. On Tuesday, October 11, we were met by a horrible site when we arrived at the harbor at 5:20 a.m. as usual. The dolphin killers were busy capturing some of the captive false killer whales and tying them onto the side of the skiffs. In the limited spotlight, we observed them taking two of the whales at a time, around the corner to the killing cove. Under the cover of darkness that morning, seven beautiful false killer whales were brutally murdered. While half the dolphin killers were killing these majestic mammals, the other half left the harbor to go hunting with the first rays of sunlight. We saw them chase a pod for a while but luckily, this pod outsmarted the killers and escaped a brutal death or a cruel lifetime of captivity.

The next day, we watched the dolphin killers drive in a pod of between 12-15 beautiful Risso’s dolphins. This pod was not going to give in that easy and we watched them fight for their lives for at least two hours in front of the entrance to the Cove. These dolphins refused to be corraled into the Cove. But eventually, the dolphin killers tied a huge net between two banger boats and pulled the Risso’s dolphins into to Cove by brute force. Half-an-hour later, the killers returned and started to drive the Risso’s onto the killing cove beach. I witnessed one dolphin escape from underneath the tarps the killers use to hide their brutal activities. This dolphin swam into the nets while trying to get away. This is where the killers caught him again and this time they tied him to a skiff by his tail and dragged him back underneath the tarps to be brutally murdered (see video below). I could hear the dolphins violently flapping their tails until everything went quiet except for laughter exuding from the killers and then I saw the water change color…the whole pod was dead.

The police presence at the butcher house was more heightened than usual. After we managed to obtain photos of fresh dolphin meat during transport the week before, the current containers of butchered cetaceans are now covered, and the trucks transporting them are now escorted by policemen on scooters.

Cove Guardians Jackie, John and Sarah LeggCove Guardians Jackie, John and Sarah LeggFor the rest of the week the dolphin killers either stayed in harbor due to bad weather or attempted to hunt but were unsuccessful in either locating dolphins or driving them back to shore. The two false killer whales that were sold were transported to their cruel new lives in captivity. We followed both these trucks. One false killer whale was taken to the Taiji Whale Museum and the other one was taken to Adventure World (a marine park and a zoo with captive pandas) close to Shirahama, about two hours from Taiji.

This week we also received confirmation that the prefecture police officer, who accepted suspected dolphin meat from the dolphin killers, was called back after we released this information together with photo evidence of the incident. Apparently he will not be returning to Taiji.

The sick and depressed dolphin at the Dolphin Base resort is still not well and shows little interest in fighting for his life. He floats in a corner of the pen the entire day.

Sadly Cove Guardians John, Jackie, and Sarah Legg had to leave at the end of this week. Patricia Pyne also departed on Saturday. They were outstanding Cove Guardians and I will surely miss them.

October 12, 2011
Risso's dolphin held by its tail in Taiji's killing cove

A Risso's dolphin is held with a rope by its tail in Taiji's killing cove. (1:45)


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.

Sea Shepherd is still looking for passionate individuals to join Rosie in Taiji to assist her in documenting the slaughter, standing ground to the local fishermen, and pressuring the authorities who allow this barbaric slaughter to take place. We managed to reduce the number of dolphins killed last season by half, and we can do it again this year but we cannot do it without your help as a Cove Guardians volunteer or supporter. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write us at


Dead Risso’s dolphins are transported to the butcher houseDead Risso’s dolphins are transported to the butcher house A policeman on a scooter escorts the fresh dolphin meatA policeman on a scooter escorts the fresh dolphin meat
Police follow CG Sarah Legg from the butcher housePolice follow CG Sarah Legg from the
butcher house
Cove Guardian Patricia PyneCove Guardian Patricia Pyne