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January 29, 2013

Operation Infinite Patience: January 29, 2013

Killers roughly manhandle striped dolphin before slaughterKillers roughly manhandle a
striped dolphin before slaughter
Photo: Sea Shepherd
Trainers lifted and threw the dolphins into the pen as if they were nothing more than replaceable property- not the intelligent creatures they really are.

Cruelty, carnage, and blood never stop in Taiji. In the last nine days, the killers have taken 271 peaceful and majestic dolphins from their home in the ocean. Of those 271, 217 have been viciously slaughtered, and 54 were taken captive where they will be treated as nothing more than a dollar sign.

On January 17th not one, but two pods of dolphins were driven into the Cove by the Taiji dolphin killers.  Half of the killing boats drove a small pod of Risso’s dolphins into the Cove before they were hastily slaughtered and the boats returned to sea to join the rest of the killing fleet. A pod of 14-16 Striped dolphins were then driven into the Cove, where they would become entangled in nets and killers would forcefully unraveled them.  In the end, death would have its day, as the entire Striped dolphin pod would also be slaughtered. Only the lifeless bodies of both pods would ever meet under the tarps of skiffs that transported both pods out of the cove destined for the butcher house.

Blood continued to run heavily on January 18th. The bloodthirsty dolphin killers would attempt to drive a very large pod of Striped dolphins toward Taiji. Part of the pod escaped, leaving 58-60 dolphins to become trapped and slaughtered within the Cove. After the Striped dolphins had been brutally killed, their dead bodies were carelessly piled onto skiffs and disassembled on the Taiji butcher house floor.

After 38 Bottlenose dolphins were netted into the Cove on January 20th, killers and trainers from all three captive facilities in Taiji left the harbor for the Cove via killing boat. Once the trainers were in the Cove and the selection process began, so did the chaos of fear. Members of the Bottlenose pod repeatedly tried to elude trainers and killers through nets, but were only successful in getting entangled and run over by skiffs due to the killer’s frustrations.

That day, killers and trainers incarcerated 13 Bottlenose dolphins for nothing more than swimming past Taiji. The remaining 25 dolphins were then slaughtered one-by-one while one member of the pod watched in horror on the killing shore, as it’s family struggled and died as it waited for a skiff to transport it to the Taiji harbor pens.

On January 21st, the dolphin killers discovered the first pod of Pantropical Spotted dolphins of this hunting season. The pod consisted of 52-54 dolphins, including juveniles. Trainers from all three dolphin facilities were in the Cove to hand-rip 25 Pantropical Spotted dolphins from their family. The emotional and physical stress put on the dolphins at this time was immense. After the drive into the Cove and the brutal selection process, where many members of the pod became entangled in nets as they tried to escape captivity, two members of the pod died in the Taiji Harbor pens after they were selected to spend the rest of their lives in a small tank. In addition, one juvenile Pantropical Spotted dolphin would die after killers took it out of the Cove on skiff. The dolphin was seen bleeding and thrashing so violently that the skiff turned around to dump it on the killing shore for slaughter.

For the Pantropical Spotted dolphins who made it out of the Cove, destined for a depressive life in captivity, their introduction to a small pen was not a gentle one. Trainers and killers lifted and threw them into the pen as if they were nothing more than replaceable property – not for the intelligent creatures they really are.

Two dolphin killers toss newly captive Pantropical Spotted dolphin into harbor pen, dolphin dies thirty minutes laterTwo dolphin killers toss a newly captive Pantropical Spotted dolphin
into harbor pen, the dolphin dies thirty minutes later
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The rest of the pod was seen as unfit for captivity, and as a result 26-28 Pantropical Spotted dolphins lost their lives within the confines of the bloody Cove waters.  

On January 23rd the killers were able drive in another pod of Pantropical Spotted dolphins. Of the 28-30 dolphins that were driven in from the open ocean, 25 would end their day imprisoned in Taiji Harbor and 13-15 would end it in the Taiji Butcher House.  As the killers drove the pod, a transfer of 8 Bottlenose dolphins from the Taiji Harbor pens to Dolphin Resort was orchestrated. This maneuver was done as an attempt to thin out the Cove Guardian presence and force us to miss some of the happenings here in Taiji. This, however, had the opposite effect. Cove Guardians were able to spread out and document the Pantropical Spotted dolphin slaughter and the Bottlenose dolphin transfer. This caused the Taiji police, who monitor our every move, to scramble and work much harder.

Trainers work with killers carry a newly captive dolphin to Dolphin Resort above ground tanksTrainers work with killers carry a newly captive dolphin
to Dolphin Resort above ground tanks
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The dolphin killers of Taiji would show just how greedy and inhumane the drive method is on January 24th.  Within 90 minutes of leaving port a pod of 29 Risso’s dolphins lost their battle against the killers and were netted into the Cove. Two panic-stricken members of the pod attempted to escape through the nets, only to become entangled in the nets and drown. The rest of the pod would meet the same fate, only theirs would be at the hands of killers who drove metal rods into their spinal cords. After the violent thrashing of the slaughter, a lone juvenile who was forced to see and hear its family killed, left the Cove in a sling headed for the Taiji Harbor pens.

In a fruitless attempt to evade Cove Guardians, the Taiji dolphin meat buyers changed their route. Through the diligent monitoring of Cove Guardians here on the ground, we were able to discover that routine and once again track the fresh Risso’s bodies that were slaughtered earlier that day. The scene became tense as local and prefecture police swarmed the meat buyer’s facility where only dolphin and whale meat is processed. Police there laughed and made small talk with the head of the meat processing facility, while they attempted to block Cove Guardians from legally taking photos.

Dolphin meat buyers receive heavy police protection from Cove Guardian livestream camerasDolphin meat buyers receive heavy police protection
from Cove Guardian livestream cameras
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The blood of Risso’s dolphins would flow again on January 25th when a pod of 14 Risso’s was driven toward the Cove. Once trapped, members of the pod frantically tried to escape through the nets as killers in dive suits tied their flukes with rope and dragged them to the shore as they fought unsuccessfully for their lives. As this whole pod started its morning together in the open ocean, it would also end it together – lifeless and nothing more than slabs of meat.

For the third time in four days, a large pod of 56-58 Risso’s dolphins were mercilessly driven into the Cove on January 27th. Killers on skiffs used the intimidation of their motors to separate the pod and drive the largest members into the killing Cove. A total of 26 Risso’s dolphins were dragged to the killing shore against their will to be unsympathetically slaughtered by the dolphin killers of Taiji. The rest of the pod was driven out of the Cove hours later in the same, inhumane way they were driven in. Typically, many dolphins do not survive after the drive out, and the possibility of Cove Guardians finding dead Risso’s dolphins washed up on the shore in the next couple of days is good.

There is a month left in the drive hunt season here in Taiji, and these past days are a glimpse of the horror that can happen in a short amount of time here. A total of 17 passionate Cove Guardians have come together to work tirelessly and stand up against the evil that happens in Taiji. This has caused killers, trainers, meat buyers, and police to go to greater lengths and incur greater costs, in wasted attempts to hide what happens in Taiji. If you are interested in becoming a voice for the dolphins here in Taiji, please email: coveguardian@seashepherd.org.

Scott Cator
Cove Guardian

Cove Guardians Adam, Liam, Sarah, Willem, Valentina, Matt, Tom, Konrad, Melissa, Scott, David, Rachel, Ashley, Damian, Micah, Olivier, AshleyCove Guardians Adam, Liam, Sarah, Willem, Valentina, Matt, Tom, Konrad, Melissa,
Scott, David, Rachel, Ashley, Damian, Micah, Olivier, Ashley
Photo: Sea Shepherd
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