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

December 9, 2013

Operation Infinite Patience: November 8 - 20, 2013

November 8, 2013

We had a record-breaking 29 days of “Blue Cove” — nearly a month without kidnapping, murdering and butchering of dolphins or small whales in the killing cove of Taiji — but on this morning, it all came to a bloody end. Like a bad dream that will just never end, this drive lasted more than six hours. A pod of nine Risso’s dolphins was discovered North of Taiji, just below the horizon, as the killers were desperate to end their many failed attempts to find dolphins. These Risso’s fought and struggled for hours, despite usually being calm and docile. Once trapped within the confines of the cove, the hypocritical trainers who claim to “love dolphins” joined the killers, as they worked together to select four juvenile pod members for captivity. These young dolphins were held in slings on the killing shore as their pod mates were viciously murdered within their sight. The four juveniles were transferred to the holding pens located in Taiji Harbor by the same trainers and killers who had been in the killing cove.

The next skiff that emerged from under the tarps carried the baby of the pod back out to sea, after this young Risso was split from both his/her living and lifeless family members. Held down by the body weight of the dolphin killers, this infant may not have even survived the trip back out to sea, let alone survive for long without mother and family.

November 9th, 2013

For the second consecutive day, a pod of 11 Risso’s were ripped from their home in the ocean. Once the pod was entrapped within the deadly nets of the cove, their fate was sealed. Killers and trainers worked together once again, as they manhandled the pod to search for their next big paycheck. None of these Risso’s, however, were deemed suitable for captivity, and as a result, the entire pod was murdered one-by-one on the killing shore. Once the slaughter was complete, a skiff filled with trainers emerged from under the tarps, followed by a skiff dragging dead bodies. There is no denying the cooperation between the trainers and killers, and both surely have blood on their hands.

November 11-12, 2013

At sunrise, Cove Guardians photograph and document the killing boats leaving the harbor. This day was no exception for the police, as they attempted to block our cameras and tried to stop us from legally photographing the dolphin killers at work. We continued to photograph, as we were not breaking Japanese law.

Today was a busy day for the kidnappers of Taiji, culminating in the trapping of 33 Bottlenose dolphins within the cove.

Some of the killers remained in Taiji this morning to work hand-in-hand with the trainers of Hotel Dolphin Resort. Together, they transferred three Risso’s dolphins from their temporary homes in the harbor and into the above-ground prison of Hotel Dolphin Resort. While still in the middle of the transfer, the killing boats were ruthlessly driving a pod of Bottlenose dolphins toward the shore. The greed never stops here in Taiji, and Bottlenose are the most lucrative species for the captive dolphin trade. After a 90-minute drive, these barbarians saw dollar signs as the pod of both juvenile and adult Bottlenose dolphins swam closely huddled together. The pod was then left overnight to spend their last hours together in the cove, until meeting their fate at sunrise the next morning. Their fearful cries could be heard as darkness fell upon Taiji, and the family clung to the outer net, spy hopping and tail slapping out of frustration and panic.

After being held for more than 21 hours in the killing cove, the 33 Bottlenose dolphins were still clinging to every moment they had left as a family.

While the pod swam in the dark of the early morning, killers and trainers were spotted throughout Taiji as they prepared for the incomprehensible horror that would soon take place. Once all the barbarians — trainers included — were in the cove, the pod was herded to the killing shore for an inspection of each individual dolphin. During the inspection process, each trainer and killer thoroughly examines each dolphin, groping and wrangling, to find those who may be suitable for captivity. If deemed “not beautiful enough,” a dolphin is tossed aside to be “pithed and butchered.” Throughout the captive selection, the thrashing of the pod could be heard high above the cove while blood seeped into the water, proof that the captive selection process takes place simultaneously with the slaughter of the remaining pod, something officials in Taiji have denied. A total of 12 dolphins were kidnapped for a life of enslavement. The new prisoners of various captive facilities witnessed what would become their last memories of family members: panicked thrashing through red-tinted water.

November 14, 2013

One lone Bottlenose dolphin was removed from Taiji harbor’s holding pens and hoisted via crane into a long-distance transport truck at the Fishermen’s Union. This captive Bottlenose was a newly captured dolphin taken from the killing cove just days prior. As Cove Guardians documented the transfer, the dolphin’s cries could be heard. The fear, uncertainty and panic could be felt as this dolphin had gone through an extraordinary amount of trauma in the past 72 hours, and now had been placed in a coffin-like crate for transport. Cove Guardians were able to follow the truck as far as Osaka, but the truck drove exceptionally fast to get away and Wakayama Prefecture police intercepted to prevent us from following any further. The destination of the dolphin is still unknown at this time.

November 16, 2013

This morning brought an epic display of greed, even for the dolphin killers of Taiji. Three Bottlenose dolphins were transferred from the captive holding pens located in the harbor to the above ground tanks at Taiji Dolphin Resort. As the transfer was being completed, the killing boats were visible in a drive formation at the horizon.

The barbarians wasted no time in driving an entire family unit of 13 Risso’s dolphins into the killing cove. This pod included two juveniles and two very young babies who were eventually tossed onto a skiff, held under a tarp by the body weight of the killers and then dumped out at sea. These four will most likely not survive without their mothers. Simultaneously, the nine remaining adult Risso’s were viciously murdered.

Trainers were under the tarps side by side with the dolphin killers, while none of the pod was deemed suitable for captivity -- only for human consumption.

November 18-19, 2013

Today the thirst for blood continued in Taiji, as 28 Pilot whales were driven into the cove. The family of Pilot whales fought throughout the morning as they tried desperately to escape the death grip of the killers, but in the end was unable to win the fight against the deafening sounds of the killing boats.

The pod spent their last night as a family, as they huddled close together without food or freedom. Each whale continually bobbed and cried out as night fell upon the cove. They cried to be saved from what was to take place the following morning.

At sunrise, the killers were already entering the cove salivating for fresh “Gondo Meat.” One lone juvenile was quickly taken prisoner for a life of captivity, and placed in the holding pens located in Taiji harbor. The process of getting all the pod under the tarps and onto the killing cove seemed to take forever as the pod struggled and fought the evil wrath of the barbarians who eventually took the life of 14 Pilot whales. The remaining 13 whales were later driven out to sea.

Their painful cries will not be forgotten, nor will the echoing sound of the matriarch as she was being murdered under the tarps. She was so large that at least six of the killers had to wrestle and hold her down. The Cove Guardians heard the echoing, thunderous sound of her thrashing in the shallow water for the last few moments of her life, followed by the cold sound of the dolphin killers cheering in victory.

More than 10,000 viewers watching via live stream around the world were able to bear witness to the horror of Taiji this morning. These whales did not die alone, and their matriarch will forever be remembered, as will her family that she tried to protect.

November 20, 2013

The greedy murderers hastily drove in a pod of 25 Risso’s dolphins just after leaving the harbor. It was nearly 6:30 am and all boats were in formation driving the pod, which included babies and juveniles. It was nothing less than a bloodbath this morning, all before most people were sitting down for their morning coffee.

In a scene far too common, local dolphin trainers and dolphin killers shared a ride from the Fisherman’s Union to the killing cove. As they shared laughs and smoked cigarettes, the pod continued to circle and spy hop as fear and panic set in. Once the skiffs were in the cove, it did not take long before the entire pod was under the tarps. Trainers would eventually take three dolphins for captivity via transfer truck, with 2 brought to Taiji Whale Museum and the other taken prisoner at Dolphin Resort Hotel.

Four small dolphins were placed under a blue tarp in an attempt to hide the two babies and two juveniles dumped at sea by the killers. The last dolphin dumped never resurfaced.

The remaining 18 dolphins were viciously killed and dragged by tethered flukes to the Taiji butcher house where their meat was processed, sold and distributed. All in a day’s work for the killers, trainers, butchers and all the corrupt individuals involved in the slaughter process.

Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians will continue to document, photograph and live stream anyone and everyone involved in the killings and captive trade in Taiji and we will not stop until the slaughter ends. The world is now watching.

Thank you to all of our followers on Facebook and Twitter. We are forever grateful for all of your kind words of support. We read all of your messages and try to respond to as many as we can.

If you would like to help the dolphins by joining us on the ground in Taiji, please email Along with Cove Guardians on the front lines, we need strong voices for the dolphins around the world. To learn how you can help the dolphins and the Cove Guardians from wherever you are, please visit What You Can Do?

For the dolphins and whales,
Melissa Sehgal
Cove Guardian Senior Campaign Leader