Cove Guardians - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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February 12, 2013

Operation Infinite Patience: February 7, 2013

Dolphin killers use brutal force to pull dolphin on a skiff during at sea captureDolphin killers use brutal force to pull dolphins
on a skiff during at sea capture
Photo: Sea Shepherd
A mixture of blood thirst, greed, and cruelty by the killers and trainers continues with more capture and killing of dolphins in Taiji.

The dark days continued on January 31st when the deadly killing boats spotted a pod of 17 Pacific White Sided dolphins. After a long and brutal chase the entire pod of White Sided dolphins had been driven and netted just outside of Taiji harbor for an at-sea capture. Killers in dive suits would wrap nets around members of the pod before killers in skiffs would pull, and many times pile members of the pod on top of each other. All members of the pod were seen struggling, as they became bloody and caught in nets throughout the capture process. The dolphin killers of Taiji would take prisoner a total of 14 Pacific White Sided dolphins on this day.

The indifference the killers show toward living beings only continued as they transferred the recently captive dolphins into the Taiji harbor pens. Killers drove their skiff to the side of the pen and threw the dolphins in. As selection was in process, 3 Pacific White Sided dolphins died due to the stress inflicted by killers’ captive procedure. All 3 of the injured or lifeless bodies where taken directly from the water to the butcher house, where the floor of the butcher house would once again turn red due to the senseless greed of the killers.

To prepare room for the new captives, Dolphin Base trainers, assisted by Dolphin killers, transferred 4 dolphins from their small enclosures at Dolphins Base to the harbor pens, and then transferred 2 dolphins from the harbor pens to Dolphin Base.

In order to document the horrific Pacific While Sided dolphin capture, Cove Guardians must place themselves on the rocky shore just outside of Taiji harbor. This is a common place to find dead dolphins that could not make it through the long and grueling drive, and this time was no different. A Bottlenose dolphin mother and her baby were found dead and decomposing on th shores of Taiji.

Dead decomposing Bottlenose dolphin washed ashore after being driven back out to seaDead decomposing Bottlenose dolphin washed ashore
after being driven back out to sea
Photo: Sea Shepherd

On February 3rd, a short time after the killers left Taiji harbor, a pod of 10 Risso's Dolphins were spotted and driven into the cove. The killers were all too excited for this pod to end up as bloody slabs on the Taiji butcher house floor, as they hastily completed their disgusting job of killing the entire pod of Risso's dolphins.


Risso dolphin struggles to fight for last few moments of freedomRisso dolphin struggles to fight for last few moments of freedom
Photo: Sea Shepherd

Later that afternoon two transfers took place at the Fisherman's Union. The first truck was loaded with 6 dolphins destined for an out of town dolphinarium. While the dolphins waited on the truck, a second truck was loaded with 1 dolphin destined for Dolphin Resort in Taiji.  It took over two hours for this process to transpire, all the while the dolphins were being held in the small and uncomfortable crates they would be transported in.

As the truck destined for an out of town dolphinarium left the Fisherman’s Union, Cove Guardians quickly loaded into cars and followed police escorted truck. After more than five hours into of chase, the truck took a short stop to allow the owner and his co-workers to check the situation inside the truck. While Cove Guardians surround the evil truck, the sound of terrified and exhausted dolphins could be easily heard. The chase continued for the next 15 hours, heading north. All this time the determined and passionate volunteers kept the truck in sight, while 6 captive dolphins in cargo crates awaited their fate of life imprisonment.

On February 5th a pod of 32 Bottlenose Dolphins were found south of Taiji. The fleet of killers rapidly drove the pod by the their usual inhumane method of fear and intimidation. The cruelty continued as the killers and trainers arrived and ran over the Bottlenose dolphin pod when they entered the killing cove. As the captive selection process began, so did the chaos within the cove. The blue water turned into a mixture of red and brown as the dolphins tried desperately escape the fate the killers and trainers had in store for them. After 11 members of the pod were taken into the captivity, the remaining 21 Bottlenose dolphins were slaughtered for human consumption.

Dolphin trainers show a lack of compassion towards they animals they claim to love by running over themDolphin trainers show a lack of compassion towards they animals they claim to love by running over them
Photo: Sea Shepherd

On February 6th, all killing boats stayed in Taiji harbor due bad weather conditions, however, later in the day a tsunami warning was announced. It was advised by the local authorities to stay away from Taiji, but it was obvious that monitoring the harbor pens during the warning was a must. As Cove Guardians monitored the pens it was clear that no preparations were made and no trainers were on site.

On February 7th two large pods of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins were found and driven towards Taiji harbor. Because of the large amount of dolphins, it was difficult to hold them together, so the killers decided to release some members of one of the pods. The killing boats and skiffs brought both pods together just outside of the Taiji Harbor and drove them towards the cove as one large pod of 47-49 Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. A skiff with 4 captive dolphins went directly to Dolphin Base and the Dolphin Resort, and the second skiff with 5 went to the harbor pens. Due to the taxing drive, stress of separation and capture, two members of the pod died while being transported out of the cove, and as a result were taken directly to the Taiji butcher house.

New captive Spotted dolphin thrashes in skiff as pod mates have already died during transferNew captive Spotted dolphin thrashes in skiff as pod mates
have already died during transfer
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The remaining 36- 38 members of the pod were seen as unfit for captivity, and as a result were brutally slaughtered at the hands of the bloodthirsty killers of Taiji. Throughout the process many members of the pod became trapped in nets and some hit the rocks in attempt to escape for the last final time. The cove turned a dark red and more and more blood filled its water.

The tension between Cove Guardians and local police rose when a member of the local Taiji police provoked and intentionally forced one of our crewmembers to delete some pictures taken legally at the cove during the slaughter. Police from the Wakayama prefecture tried to further push the Taiji police’s stance. It is not illegal to take photos and Cove Guardians continue to abide by Japanese law. In Taiji, the rules change daily and are not always enforced as we have noticed over the hunting season.

Despite the large number of dolphins killed and taken captive, more and more compassionate individuals from around the world are joining Operation Infinite Patience as Cove Guardians. We continue to have a strong presence here in Taiji.

If you want to join us as a Cove Guardian please send an email to

You can help us also by using social media and sharing our updates and footage or following our live stream at

Cove Guardians Liam, Willem, Valentina, Rachel, Ashley, Chris, Alana, Ashley, Melissa, Alex, Scott, Olivier, Konrad, AdamCove Guardians Liam, Willem, Valentina, Rachel, Ashley, Chris, Alana,
Ashley, Melissa, Alex, Scott, Olivier, Konrad, Adam
Photo: Sea Shepherd
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