Update #2 – November 20, 2015, Taiji, Japan:
What took place this morning could only be described in terms of varying degrees of horror.” ~ Cynthia Fernandez, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor
After being netted in the cove and left overnight, with no access to food, the pod of approximately 50 pilot whales would soon learn their fate as divers arrived first thing the following morning. Skiffs were maneuvered into place while nets were rearranged as approximately half of the pod was separated from the group. The remaining dolphins were terrorized as they were pushed closer towards shallow water and ultimately under the tarps where they would meet their violent end.
But the pod didn’t succumb easily. In one instance, as divers manhandled a dolphin into the ropes in order to tie it to the skiff, another pilot whale rammed his/her head into the diver. In another example of the camaraderie of this pod, when a dolphin became entangled in the nets, other pod members appeared to attempt to assist the thrashing animal.
What we witnessed today wasn’t about personal safety or survival, but rather, about all members of the pod trying to help each other. I’ve not seen anything like this before.” ~ Cynthia Fernandez, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor
This was all caught on Dolphin Project’s Livestream where minutes felt like hours and dolphin after dolphin was either run over by skiffs, entangled in nets or dragged by their tails away from their family and under the tarps. One dolphin was removed in a sling, destined for captivity.
The water became cloudy as the cove ran red. All the while, the other half of the pod swam in tight circles, in the blood of their family.
Their will to survive will stick with me forever. Down to each of their last breaths, every dolphin fought hard, not only for themselves but for the rest of their pod.” ~ Vicki Kiely, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor
Several dolphins actually died before being killed by the divers, and their bodies were clearly seen floating on the surface.
The hours passed, and, with no further activity in the cove, we realized the survivors would be left alone, trapped for yet another night.
The cruelty witnessed over the past, two days is unspeakable. We can only hope for a quick end to the torture these gentle beings have endured.
At the time of this update, the remaining pilot whales are being held for a second night in the cove. Tomorrow will mark day three since they swam as free beings. They have had no food since the drive began. We will be back tomorrow morning to continue documenting and sharing their plight with the world. Please check back for updates.
Click here to read part one of this blog: We Are Family: First Pod of Pilot Whales Terrorized in Taiji.
Thank you to Dolphin Project Senior Cove Monitors Vicki Kiely and Cynthia Fernandez for their accounts in documenting this latest travesty in Taiji.
Learn more about becoming a Dolphin Project Cove Monitor.
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Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA (Tax ID 47-1665067), and donations are tax-deductible.