Mass Slaughter in the Solomons
Fanalei, Solomon Islands: Dolphin Project can confirm that on March 9th, over 500 pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuatta) or unubulu* were slaughtered in the small village of Fanalei, Solomon Islands. In the largest single slaughter of dolphins in the Solomons since 2013, approximately 20 canoes carried around 30 hunters miles out in the open ocean in search of the mammals. An additional 200+ dolphins were hunted and killed in February.
*unubulu = Lau for spotted dolphins
For centuries, dolphins have been hunted in a traditional manner using simple tools such as canoes and stones, which are hit together beneath the surface to corral the dolphins into a nearby mangrove cove. The dolphins are loaded into canoes and ferried back to the village beach, where they are lined up, decapitated and shared out. Almost the entire village assists. No part of the animal is wasted, with meat and teeth prized by the Fanalei people.
From childhood, villagers learn to treasure kirio* teeth and meat. Wearing dolphin teeth at key life events such as weddings reflects the high social value and prestige of kirio and of the skilled, unified and brave hunters.” ~ Dr. Sarah Keene Meltzoff
*kirio = Lau for dolphin
The dolphin hunts in the Solomon Islands are typically conducted between January and April, when the seas are calm. Home to the largest drive slaughter of dolphins in the world, annual kills between the years 1976-2013 averaged 850 dolphins per year. Since Dolphin Project began a full-time campaign in 2015 in Fanalei, Solomon Islands, slaughters have dropped to a four-year average of 247 dolphins.
This May marks the two-year anniversary of the Kirio Kindergarten Dolphin Project funded. The school serves as a meeting place for the entire community, along with a base for our visiting team to hold marine conservation seminars. We are currently building a permanent field base in Fanalei, which will allow us to continue working with the community to develop sustainable economic alternatives to dolphin hunting and strengthen marine protection in the area.