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April 4, 2012

Operation Infinite Patience: April 4, 2012

Taiji, it’s not goodbye…until the slaughter ends.

Harpooned dolphinAs our last week in Taiji came to an end and Operation Infinite Patience 2011-2012 came to a close, four Cove Guardians were met with the return of Campaign Coordinator Scott West and his daughter Elora West.

Together we bid farewell to Taiji but not before witnessing many harpooned dolphins being brought into the Taiji butcher house.

These fishing boats were unknown to us and many were from other ports. They proudly displayed their “catch of the day” until they saw our cameras. It was apparent that these vessels were not used to seeing Sea Shepherd and so these fishermen had to quickly hide. Tarps were brought out to boats to cover the bloody dolphin bodies. Oops, we already saw those dolphins hanging off your boat. Tails tethered by ropes after being harpooned at sea.

The killing of dolphins is year round in Taiji. The slaughter never stops.

Whale museumMany supporters asked about the two captive dolphins at the Taiji Whale Museum that had been recently relocated to a larger holding pen. I attempted to purchase a ticket to the museum, to check their status, but was denied a ticket and entry to the museum. I had called a Japanese interpreter to translate for me, but the Whale Museum staff harshly told me to get off the property. Thanks to an anonymous volunteer, we have photographs of these two dolphins in their new location, but were denied access to the previous holding tank. At this time, we cannot confirm if the previous holding tank remains empty.

I was able to spend my last day in Taiji monitoring the captive dolphins at the harbor pens and Dolphin Base. It is equally difficult to know that some of those dolphins will not be there and that there may be some new dolphins as well upon my return to Taiji.

Now that I have returned home, there is no such thing as normalcy. Spending time in Taiji changes everyone. Whether you spend a few days or several months, there is no closing your eyes or turning your back to the truth. I will continue to be a strong voice for the dolphins in their defense and I will continue to return to Taiji until the slaughter ends.

For the Dolphins,

Melissa Sehgal
Cove Guardian Leader

Final Group Photo


 
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