Amidst one of the world’s worst pandemics with the emergence of COVID-19, dolphin hunts have resumed in Taiji, Japan. And with it, the return of Dolphin Project, albeit in a manner that’s safe for both the local people of Taiji and for our global teams.
Dolphin Project / Life Investigation Agency Cove Monitor Collaboration Program
For the 2020/21 dolphin hunting season, Dolphin Project is collaborating with Life Investigation Agency (LIA), a Japanese nonprofit organization dedicated to investigating, exposing and campaigning against the abuse of animals, along with other Japanese-based activists. Program goals are to document the hunts in Taiji, along with expand educational programs throughout Japan. The program is headed up by LIA campaign director Ren Yabuki, and is open to all Japanese citizens curious about the Taiji dolphin drives and the captivity issue. This is the first time events at the Cove have been documented solely by an all-Japanese team made up of volunteers and nonprofit organizations.
At around 8:30 a.m. on September 15, a large pod of Risso’s dolphins was targeted by Taiji’s dolphin hunters. After four and-a-half hours of attempting to drive the pod into the Cove, the frustrated hunters finally decided to net them offshore, near the entrance of the harbor. Many of the mammals managed to escape, with the exception of 10 dolphins, which were slaughtered at sea, tethered to the sides of the skiffs and taken to the butcher’s house for processing.
On September 17, another pod of Risso’s dolphins was located. This time, hunters were able to drive the dolphins into the Cove, where they were slaughtered. Our documentation indicates the slaughter of an extremely young dolphin – perhaps even a newborn.
LIA was told to apologize for stating the slaughter of a young dolphin was illegal. The police say that it is not, however LIA stands firm that it is, and a copy of the law from Japan’s official governmental site was filed.
2020/21 Dolphin Drive Hunt Quota, Taiji, Japan
Our team will continue to document and live stream for the duration of the dolphin hunting season. Please follow us on our social media channels for live updates.
Featured image: A pod of Risso’s dolphins, including a very young calf is driven into the Cove and slaughtered, Taiji, Japan. Credit: Life Investigation Agency and 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. Dolphin Project is the only organization to have been on the ground consistently since 2003.