Albino is Part of the 15th Pod of Risso’s Captured in Taiji this Season; Remainder of Pod was Brutally Slaughtered in Killing Cove While Babies Were Dumped at Sea with Little Chance of Survival

Awaiting their fate netted in the cove, the pod and albino Risso's dolphin huddle close together Awaiting their fate netted in the cove, the pod and albino Risso's dolphin huddle close together 
Photo: Sea Shepherd
Ten months after the world was captivated by a beautiful juvenile albino bottlenose dolphin who was captured from among a superpod of dolphins driven into the cove in Taiji, Japan, an albino Risso’s dolphin was driven into the cove and taken captive yesterday in Taiji (Nov. 23 Japan Time), Sea Shepherd’s volunteer Cove Guardians report. The albino Risso’s dolphin was part of the 15th pod of Risso’s captured this season. The Cove Guardians have named the newly captive albino dolphin “Shiro,” which means “white” in Japanese.

As the killing boats were heading back into port on Sunday morning (Japan Time) after an initially unsuccessful hunting trip, the Cove Guardians report the killers came across a peaceful pod of approximately 16 Risso's dolphins swimming in the waters near Taiji. Spotting the rare albino dolphin among the pod, the killers immediately knew this was a lucrative find. They wasted no time driving the Risso's pod ruthlessly toward the cove, where the stressed and frightened family was eventually netted off with no means of escape.

Within the family unit there were multiple calves and juveniles, including one young albino. The Taiji murderers drove the entire family under the tarps on the killing shore, where 11 members of the family were brutally slaughtered. Two dolphins were taken into captivity, including the unique albino, who will undoubtedly bring the killers a large payday in the future.

Black smoke is seen hovering as boats chase the panicked Risso's podBlack smoke is seen hovering as boats chase the panicked Risso's pod.  Photo: Sea ShepherdAs the family members were ripped from the protection of their pod and slaughtered in the cove, three babies were loaded into slings and transferred onto a banger boat. These babies were taken back out to sea and dumped, lost and scared, with a very slim chance of survival without the protection of their family pod.

Karen Hagen of Norway, now serving as Cove Guardian Leader on the Ground, is a veteran Cove Guardian volunteer who was present in Taiji with Sea Shepherd last January when the superpod of bottlenose dolphins was driven into the cove. Unbelievably, she has now witnessed and documented the capture of two rare albino dolphins.

“It is horribly sad to see another albino dolphin taken by the killers here in Taiji. These rare, beautiful, and unique animals will spend the rest of their days confined to small tanks, where they will live out their shortened lives performing tricks for food,” said Hagen.

This was the 15th pod of Risso's to be slaughtered in the cove this season, bringing the total number of Risso's dolphins brutally murdered to approximately 170.

Aside from Risso’s, there have only been two other species brought in this season — one pod of bottlenose dolphins and one pod of pilot whales.

“By this time in the season last year, the killers had captured and slaughtered multiple species of dolphins, from pilot whales to Pantropical spotteds, from striped to Risso’s and more. This year, they have caught 15 pods of Risso’s and one pod of bottlenose and one pod of pilot whales. While I am very happy for the dolphins that are not being found, I am very concerned that the reason they are not being found is because these species have been driven toward extinction and depleted from Taiji’s waters,” said Sea Shepherd Senior Cove Guardian Campaign Leader, Melissa Sehgal.

The albino Risso's dolphin, chosen to be sold for captivity, is transferred via sling from the cove The albino Risso's dolphin, chosen to be sold for captivity, is transferred via sling from the cove
Photo: Sea Shepherd
For a staggering six months of each year – from September until March – entire family units, or pods, of dolphins and small whales at a time are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Banger poles are hit against the side of the hunting boats to create a “wall of sound,” disorienting the sound-sensitive marine mammals and making it nearly impossible for them to escape the drive. Once netted into the cove, the dolphins and whales face brutal slaughter or a lifetime in captivity. In a drive just as stressful as the drive into the cove, remaining pod members — usually juveniles and infants — are driven back out to sea with little hope of survival on their own.

Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are the only group on the ground in Taiji every day throughout the entire six-month hunting season, documenting and live streaming every capture and every slaughter for the world to see. The 2014-2015 season marks the fifth year of Operation Infinite Patience, and the Cove Guardians will not stop shining a spotlight on this atrocity until the slaughter ends.

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