By Ruth Williams
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
Today was a horrible day…
The boats went out about the usual time.
Shortly after, some Risso’s dolphins were transferred to Dolphin Resort. I was denied access to see this transfer. It’s amazing how they go to extremes just to cover this stuff up.
As soon as I returned to the lookout point, there was already a drive in process. All boats lined on the horizon. As they came closer, I immediately noticed the size of this pod was huge! You could see the dolphins leaping out of the water swimming as fast as they could, but unfortunately going exactly where the hunters wanted them to go.
When they got to the same spot when yesterday’s pod was lost, the dolphins made a desperate break from the drive. Some were successful, and it was amazing to watch them escape. But there were too many boats, and the rest of the pod could not escape. The hunters tried to chase down the half of the pod that escaped, but quickly gave up and joined the other boats in the drive.
As soon as the dolphins were driven past the lighthouse, it was sadly obvious this was a pod of striped dolphins, about 40-50 of them. The dolphins really started fighting as soon as they got near the harbor. They refused to cooperate. The hunters had a hard time getting them out of a corner spot right in front of the Cove. Three small skiffs were called in to get them out of that tight spot. The dolphins were finally defeated and were being pushed straight into the Cove.
Arriving at the Cove, I watched three divers get in the water as a skiff full of trainers and murderers entered the killing Cove. Two hunters put up nets around the killing Cove to prevent the striped dolphins from jumping up on the rocks. The dolphins swam about 15 more minutes together.
One skiff left the killing Cove with a one live dolphin. Three boats soon surrounded the rest with their propellers driving them straight to their deaths. A few minutes later, a striped dolphin emerged from the Cove and made it to the middle of the Cove almost to the nets when he lost his battle and succumbed to his injuries.
I could hear the hunters shouting out loud in the Cove and a few loud noises and splashes. Then it was all over. The dolphins’ bodies were loaded into the skiffs and covered with blue tarps. They were taken to the slaughterhouse.
The dolphin hunters are doing a really good job of covering up the brutality of it all. Not much can be heard or seen. Despite their efforts, they couldn’t cover up the blood streaming out of the slaughterhouse shortly after the bodies were delivered. They even put up a tarp to cover up the blood pouring into the ocean, but I could clearly see it! And the waters surrounding the slaughterhouse turned bright red.
Sad day here in Taiji, and my heart feels so heavy tonight as I write this blog. Nothing can be said or done for these poor dolphins that were ripped from the ocean and their family. I watched them put up a awesome fight, then I watched them have their final moments together, and finally I watched their bodies leave the slaughterhouse in containers to go straight to the grocery stores.
Just another day at work for these men. All I can say is at least they did not get the entire pod. Hopefully those dolphins will swim far past Taiji next time.