Taiji, Japan 9/2/19 – On just the second day of the 2019/20 dolphin hunting season in Taiji, Japan, hunters were successful in locating a pod of dolphins.
Twelve banger boats left the harbor at 5:15 a.m. in search of unsuspecting dolphin pods. Dolphin Project’s team of Cove Monitors documented their departure, as we will do throughout the entire six-month hunting season. Just before 10:00 a.m., our team spotted the telltale signs of a drive, as black smoke peppered the horizon. While no dolphins could yet be seen, we knew what was taking place: migrating dolphins hugging Taiji’s coast in search of food were now fleeing for their lives, attempting to escape the deafening sounds of the banger boats as their engines gunned to overtake the mammals.
By 10:30 a.m. the exhausted pod was driven into the Cove, nets dragged across the entrance, preventing their escape. With their fate sealed, our team continued to document via livestream and photos for the world to witness and to take action.
We identified the small pod as Risso’s dolphins. Likely it was a single family.
The sounds of their struggling could be heard throughout the Cove. Then, one by one, their thrashing ceased as the pod of five dolphins were slaughtered. Their bodies were dragged over to the waiting banger boats, and then taken to the butcher’s house for processing, a practice carrying serious health risks for those that consume them.
“One dolphin struggled to get away but was caught in the nets before the hunters brought him back under the tarps. Dolphin Project Cove Monitors listened to the sounds of their thrashing as they were being killed.” ~ Rachel Carbary, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor
Dolphin Project will continue to document and live stream for the duration of the hunting season. Please follow us on our social media channels for live updates.
Featured image: Risso’s dolphins slaughtered in first successful hunt of Taiji’s 2019/20 drive season, Taiji, Japan. Credit: DolphinProject.com
Every year from September through March, a notoriously cruel hunt of some of the most sentient creatures on the planet takes place in Taiji, Japan, made famous by the 2009 Academy award-winning movie ‘The Cove’. During this period, dolphin hunters, “drive” the mammals to their capture or deaths via means of physical violence and acoustic torture. Their meat is either packaged for consumption (a dangerous practice as it contains high levels of toxins neither fit for humans or animals to eat) or shipped to aquariums that have placed orders for live animals. Dolphin Project is the only organization to have been on the ground consistently since 2003.