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November 14, 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: November 7-14, 2011

Another Week of Bloodshed in the Cove

Report by Cove Guardians Leader Rosie Kunneke

Murdered dolphins transported past the living ones.Murdered dolphins transported past the living ones.On November 13, 2011, the Cove ran red with the blood of approximately 10 beautiful Risso’s dolphins. The dolphin killers drove a pod of 18-20 dolphins into the Cove after a six-hour-long drive. Amongst this pod, we noticed two Rough-toothed dolphins. After the violent tail slapping from the dying Risso dolphins could not be heard anymore, there were still eight Risso’s dolphins and the two Rough-toothed dolphins swimming around in the Cove.

All of the dead dolphins were transported past their family members that were still alive to the butcher house. After the killers were finished butchering the dolphins at the butcher house, five to seven  banger boats came back to the Cove and drove the remaining dolphins back out to the open ocean. We suspect that the Rough-toothed dolphins were released due to the fact that the dolphin killers do not have a quota for this specific dolphins species. The reason for the release of the remaining Risso’s dolphins is unclear at this stage, but we suspect they have met their quota for Risso’s.

The rest of the week the dolphin killers went out to hunt but returned without any dolphins, or were forced to remain in harbor due to bad weather.

Tara Shannon and I spent many hours at the Kii-Katsura police station finalizing our statements from the incident involving the dolphin killer I reported last week. The feedback from the police is that the case will now be sent to the public prosecutor. Earlier in the week, we also reported on the alleged kidnapping attempt involving me carried out by two unknown individuals outside the Dolphin Base resort. The police warned us that these men might either be nationalists or yakuza and told us not to be alone when it is dark outside. The frustration levels are definitely rising around here, which means we are getting to the people who profit off  of the misery and murder of dolphins. On top of that, the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians presence is a significant expense for the Japanese government in order to maintain a heightened level of 24/7 security.

Jiyu’s last days in captivity.Jiyu’s last days in captivity.There was also the very sad day when we located the very sick and depressed dolphin at the Dolphin Base resort who we affectionately named “Jiyu” (freedom). In earlier reports, I reported on this specific dolphin’s depressed behavior and resulting injections from the trainers. After these, he went into a deep depression, as evident by floating in the furthest corner of the pen and refusing to take any food from the trainers. As of last week when we were monitoring the dolphin killers killing a pod of Risso’s dolphins, we noticed that the pen Jiyu was in was empty but we eventually located Jiyu two days later in different pen. He was neurotically spyhopping non-stop once again and extremely thin.

We immediately issued a call to action to ask people to please contact the Dolphin Base resort and request for Jiyu’s assisted release and qualified veterinary assistance. I went up to the man we suspect is the owner of the resort and politely asked in Japanese to please give Jiyu his freedom. Instead of considering my request, he phoned the police and told them I was causing trouble. The police came rushing to the scene only to find out that I was not causing any trouble. I asked the police to please enforce the Japanese law on the Humane Treatment and Management of Animals that came into effect in 2006. The policeman indicated that I must remember that animal rights in Japan are not as important as in other countries.

About half an hour after the police had left, one of the dolphin killers showed up dressed in a wetsuit which could only mean they were planning to kill Jiyu. The dolphin killer noticed my presence, immediately made a phone call and then left. The reality of captivity was even evident later in the day when tourists on a tourist boat docked next to the pens. The dolphin trainers had the dolphins in another pen perform a show for the tourists. It was surreal to see the tourists laughing and clapping for the performing dolphins while in a different pen only 20 meters away, the extremely frail Jiyu was spyhopping non-stop.

I stayed with Jiyu util it was dark. When we returned the next day, there was a dolphin killer at the resort again and sadly, Jiyu was nowhere to be found. We suspect they killed Jiyu either during the night or very early in the morning, when they know we are monitoring the dolphin killers. Jiyu was a crystal clear example of the immense cruelty of capturing and maintaining dolphins in captivity and we need to make sure his death is not in vain. We need to make sure the world is aware of the absolute cruelty of dolphins in captivity. I would like to thank all our dedicated supporters who fought really hard to help Jiyu – it was truly amazing to see the massive reaction.

Sadly Cove Guardian Tarah Shannon had to leave this week, but I was joined by Cove Guardians Thomas Gainard from France and Jojo from Germany.

November 9th, 2011 
The reality of dolphins in captivity

A group of tourists view a trained dolphin show while 20m away a skinny, neurotic dolphin wastes away in captivity. (1:36)

Be sure to visit Sea Shepherd’s official Facebook page to stay current on the Cove Guardians and follow @seashepherd on Twitter as we “Tweet for Taiji” 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

Rubbish in water at dolphin resort pens.Rubbish in water at dolphin resort pens. Dolphin meat buyer hiding his face. Photo: Thomas GainardDolphin meat buyer hiding his face.
Photo: Thomas Gainard
Freshly butchered Risso’s dolphins. Photo: Thomas GainardFreshly butchered Risso’s dolphins.
Photo: Thomas Gainard
Risso's dolphin meat at processing house. Photo: Thomas GainardRisso's dolphin meat at processing house.
Photo: Thomas Gainard