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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Report from Taiji: December 29video

A dolphin greets a trainer at Dolphin BaseA dolphin greets a trainer at Dolphin BaseAlthough today was day number nine of holiday vacation for the dolphin fishermen and therefore no blood was shed, it was still a sad day in Taiji town. After our usual morning drive through the harbor to count the banger boats, we spent some time at Dolphin Base watching the trainers work with the captives.

We noticed one tank that held eight dolphins, when in reality it was too small for even one! It was heartbreaking to see these surreal beings locked inside a tiny pen with barely enough room to move or jump. As we sat along the seawall and looked out over their pens, we noticed time and time again that the dolphins were jumping on top of each other and even landing on each other when they hit the water on their descent. At one point, two collided in mid-air and each cried out in anger, frustration, and pain…or maybe all of the above.

These dolphins chattered continuously while we sat there watching them and even when the trainers came to feed them, they squealed and clicked and made the dolphin noises that humans love so much. It must be terribly frustrating to these creatures to speak and not be understood. However, this is a very common problem amongst human beings, we speak, we put ourselves out there and take a stand for what we believe in, and often many people do not understand. When we don’t understand something we tend to attack it and when we feel that we could do something better than someone else, we tend to attack that person as well. Unfortunately for us, we’re all passionate about the same cause yet we simply cannot put aside our human tendency towards criticism and fight the good fight alongside each other, rather than amongst each other, despite our differences.

Rusted equipment sits under a tank with eight dolphins in it at Dolphin BaseRusted equipment sits under a tank with eight dolphins in it at Dolphin BaseNot everyone has the opportunity to travel to Japan and spend time in Taiji documenting the horrors but the real change is coming from the passionate supporters around the world that are contacting their embassies and supporting the Cove Guardians via encouraging e-mails and Facebook messages. However, there will always be those few that feel it necessary to tear apart every move that is made, every photo that is published, and every word that is spoken. If you truly care about these dolphins and the survival of their species, then please direct your passion towards actually making difference. Be part of the solution and not the problem.

Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian.  To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at coveguardian@seashepherd.org.  We will get back to you, but please be patient.  We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time.  Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome.  These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative.  We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.

Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them.  Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war.  This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves.  Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change.  Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it.  Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it.  Make good consumer choices.  Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade.  All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.

For the dolphins,

Libby Katsinis

Eight dolphins held in one tank on December 29th

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Video credit: Andy Romanowski (:45)

A dolphin floats in an algae-filled pool at Dolphin BaseA dolphin floats in an algae-filled pool
at Dolphin Base

Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.
Rupert Imhoff
, who is also assisting with this campaign, has started a YouTube channel of video taken during his time in Taiji.