Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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

March 6, 2012

Operation Infinite Patience, March 5, 2012

“In Taiji…the killing never stops.”

Cove Guardians end of seasonIt may be the end of the dolphin drive-hunting season, but that doesn’t mean the killing stops and neither does our presence. Cove Guardians remain a strong force here in Taiji.

We watched as some of the dolphin killers removed banger poles from their killing vessels and discreetly laid them inside their boats. The tarp covering the harbor entrance of the butcher house was dismantled and yet tarps are still hanging at the front entrance and at the cove. All twelve boats are now rigged for Bonito fishing, but if they come across a pod of dolphins or pilot whales an exception can be made by Wakayama Prefecture. It would be easy to slaughter a family of pilot whales like they did last year. In May 2011, Cove Guardians witnessed a large pod of Pilot Whales being brutally killed in the cove two months after the dolphin drive season had ended.

Heavy rain and wind have kept all the killing boats in port for much of this week. We continue to monitor all killing boat activity and also the captive dolphins here in Taiji.

On Feb 24th, a pod of White Sided dolphins were found off shore. Most of the pod escaped, but there were two who were not so fortunate. It took three killing boats, three skiffs, and ten divers in the water to wrangle these two dolphins. The battle lasted for up to an hour before both dolphins were netted and thrown into skiffs. The capture was bloody and heart wrenching as these two fought for their freedom. They were transported by skiff to Taiji Fisherman Union harbor pens where they currently remain.

February 24, 2012 Two white sided dolphins are netted and thrown into
skiff. Ten killers vs two dolphins- a battle that lasted over an hour.

Every day since the kidnapping, we have seen many trainers and vets examining, medicating, and tube feeding one of the dolphins. We know it is a female and that she is refusing to eat. White-Sided Dolphins do not adapt very well to a diet of dead fish. Each morning divers are in the water with a long tube that they insert into her mouth. She fights and the splashing grows intense during the process. As soon as they are finished, the tube is removed and she is again swimming with her captive companion. The two swim side by side in circles. Clinging to one another, consoling each other like prison cellmates. We will continue to update everyone on her progress and details of her condition.

There are now six Cove Guardians here in Taiji and will so remain until April. Thanks to all our supporters via social media. We appreciate all the Facebook and Twitter posts.

For the Dolphins,

Melissa Sehgal
Cove Guardian Leader

March 3, 2012 - Vets and trainers use a tube to force-feed a white
sided dolphin in captivity at harbor pen.

March 1, 2012 - The Japanese dolphin killers dismantle their
equipment at the end of the killing season.