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September 21, 2013

Operation Infinite Patience: September 20, 2013

A dead Pilot whale is lifted onto the killing floor where it will be butchered for consumption.A dead Pilot whale is lifted onto the killing floor where it will be butchered for consumption.
Photo: Sea Shepherd
September 11th, 2013:

This day marked the first Pilot Whale drive and impending slaughter of the Taiji, 2013-2014 dolphin drive season. On this morning all twelve killing boats left Taiji Harbor to hunt for small whales and dolphins; and at an early time of 7:18 am, with rough and choppy seas, ten of the killing boats located a pod of Pilot Whales. The drive was painfully slow as the Pilot Whales fought incredibly hard to escape the piercing hammering of the banger poles, after approximately 6 hours, 30-35 Pilot Whales were netted inside the killing cove. The Pilot Whales huddled together for their final hours as a family, as they were held overnight in the skirts of the killing cove, starving without any food.

September 12th, 2013:

Pre-sunrise at 5:22 am, skiffs loaded with killers entered the cove, whilst tarps were already draped at the butcher house. The slaughter of this Pilot Whale family was particularly brutal and took several hours. The killers roped the fluke of the adult female matriarch, the largest whale of the pod, dragged her to shore; she was fully conscious and breathing throughout the slaughter and on her way to the butcher house.

The killers were very messy and sloppy with their slaughter procedures, trying to segregate and split the pod. A portion of the pod continually attempted to reach the matriarch in the shallows of the killing cove and sadly witnessed the entire bloody slaughter of their family.

During the slaughter, a juvenile whale managed to escape two sections of the nets, in a desperate attempt to beach herself/himself to evade the killers. The Pilot Whale reached the shore of the public beach on the other side of the rocks, the killers then lunged onto the frantic Pilot Whale, the whale then re-attempted to beach by throwing herself/himself onto the rocks; again the killers aggressively lunged onto the Whale and pulled it back into the killing cove.

A total of 18 Pilot Whales were slaughtered. These were the largest adult whales as the juveniles and babies witnessed in horror and lingered next to their murdered family members; swimming in the blood-tinged waters of the cove. The juveniles are not large enough and not worthy of quota. After several hours, the juveniles were driven back out to sea and left to fend for themselves. The likelihood of these young whales surviving is very slim. Meat buyers were alerted, as an announcement was heard over a loud speaker, of the sale of fresh whale meat as the bodies were being transferred out of the killing cove.

September 13th, 2013:

All 12 killing boats left Taiji harbor in search of dolphins and returned empty handed. However, each day in Taiji, cruelty writhes through the town. For the previous few days, trainers had been monitoring a Bottlenose dolphin in the Taiji harbor pens. The dolphin’s state of health was clearly in decline. Two killers loaded the Bottlenose dolphin into a sling and drove the dolphin out to open water only a few miles from the coast and dumped the ill dolphin at sea. The dolphin never resurfaced. Each day in Taiji involves an extreme level of inhumane treatment and cruelty to these innocent creatures.

September 14th, 15th and 16th, 2013:

On September 14th, typhoon Man-yi hit the town of Taiji. The killers tied their boats to the port in order to prevent damage. Typhoon Man-yi prevented the killers from leaving the harbor for three consecutive days.

However, on September 16th marked the live dolphin transfer via sling of 5 Bottlenose dolphins from the Taiji harbour holding pens. The Bottlenose dolphins that were taken from the pens were from the dolphins that were ripped from the killing cove just a couple weeks prior, which did not result in a slaughter. WAZA has approved the capture of wild dolphins for captivity, if the drive does not result in a slaughter of Bottlenose dolphins. However, this same concept does not apply to any other species – this is due to the high demand of Bottlenose dolphins for captivity. The buyer was present for the entire transfer process from skiffs to the truck, fully masked, with a hooded jacket and glasses, hiding his face from the eyes of the world. The transfer commenced around 10:30 am. The Dolphins were inside the trucks for more than six hours before reaching the airport. The Cove Guardians followed the two live dolphin transfer trucks all the way to Osaka Kansai Airport International Cargo terminal. Taiji’s Dolphin Base owner and trainers were also present during the transfer to the airport, keeping a close eye on their profitable commodities.

September 17th, 2013:

The killing boats left Taiji harbor in the early morning and located a pod of approximately 15-20 Pilot Whales before 9 am; the pod fought for more than three hours before their fate was sealed inside the nets of the killing cove. This is the second pod of Pilot Whales driven by the killers this season and held again overnight for their last 17 hours spent together as a family – starving and frightened.

September 18th, 2013:

The sun slowly rose from the horizon in the early hours of the morning as the killers approached the cove via skiff with their motors intimidating the terrified, closely huddled pod. Today the killers drove the entire pod beneath the blue tarps at once and began the slaughter process one by one, forcing the whole family to bear witness. The large matriarchs of the pod were taken for slaughter before the smaller whales and were fully conscience throughout the slaughter. We witnessed thrashing and breathing beneath the tarps; still conscious upon being dragged via skiff out of the killing cove to the butcher house. The method of slaughter can in no way be argued as being humane, as we have witnessed these animals alive more than an hour after the initial attempted murder.
The water in the cove turned a bright blood red as a total of 12 Pilot Whales were slaughtered. After the transfer of the dead bodies to the butcher house, the killers roughly tied ropes to 2 baby pilot whales, forced another two babies into slings and transferred them to a killing boat in order to be dumped at sea. These babies were driven out to sea without any of their matrilineal family members; they will be unable to survive at sea alone. The cruelty never ends in Taiji.

September 19th, 2013:

This morning, 11 killing boats departed Taiji harbor. The sea was choppy and the winds picked up; the boats returned empty. At this time, four Bottlenose Dolphins from the Taiji harbor pens who were victims of this season’s dolphin drives were prepared for a life in captivity. Two dolphins were loaded via Taiji’s Dolphin Resort truck and loaded via crane into the resort’s tiny pool. The other two Bottlenose Dolphins were transferred via sling and skiff and were also lifted by crane into Dolphin Resort’s tiny upper tub, a tub that already holds dolphins. This week has displayed an excessive amount of corruption and cruelty of atrocious standards. A day does not go by in Taiji that a crime of inhumanity is not committed.

As Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians continue to document the atrocities that continually happen here in Taiji, we ask that our supporters continue to share our footage and social media posts. Together we can create a better future for the dolphins of Taiji.

Please take part in our “From the Cove to Captivity” video contest.

We will continue to live stream each slaughter and transfer during the 2013-2014 dolphin drive season:

For the dolphins,

Ashley Avci
Cove Guardian

Cove Guardians David, Angelo, Scott, Melissa, Ashley, Mark, Jack, Otto, Haiko, and Brett.Cove Guardians David, Angelo, Scott, Melissa, Ashley, Mark, Jack, Otto, Haiko, and Brett.
Photo: Sea Shepherd