Before the dolphin drive began in Taiji this year, Ric O’Barry and the other activists with Save Japan Dolphins were invited by Flippers Japan, a grassroots organization, to participate in a Flash Mob in Tokyo. Also joining Ric were drummer Matt Sorum and Izumi Ishii, a former dolphin killer with a change of heart. The event was reportedly a success. Photo by Tim Burns.
A week ago today, the dolphin drive in Taiji began in full force. The fisherman wasted no time this year, driving in a pod of dolphins on the first day.
Meanwhile, people met together in 117 different cities around the world to protest and raise awareness. Some cities, including Washington DC, met a couple days early in order to protest outside of the Japanese Embassy or Consulate. In Daytona Beach Shores, a group of us walked up and down the beach during the holiday weekend, talking to people and passing out literature. Even though we were interrupting their day, most people responded very positively and vowed to make calls to the consulate and follow up. Overall it was a success. What made the day even more urgent was the fact that we all knew there was a pod of dolphins already being held in the cove. Big thank you to Save Japan Dolphins and Save Misty for putting on a record-breaking day of awareness around the world.
There is a positive shift in Taiji this year, as a group of Japanese activists are protesting at the cove. Satoshi Komiyama, leader of Flippers Japan, was featured in what easily became the picture of the week among activists. The photo, taken by Daniela Moreno, depicted a visually upset Satoshi after ducking his head underwater and hearing the dolphins cry. Ric consoled him as he and the Cove Monitors have done all week, supporting the Japanese activists. They are the ones who have the important voice to change this brutal drive.
On that first day, a pod of 60-70 dolphins, possibly two species, were driven into the cove. The following day, 12-18 were chosen for captivity while the others were driven back out to sea.
The next 2 days, September 3 and 4, were blue days at the cove. However, on the 4th, four bottle-nose dolphins were transferred from the sea pens to Dolphin Resort Hotel. September 5 was another blue day. Rain and rough seas kept the fishermen in the harbor.
September 6, another 50-60 dolphins were herded into the cove following a fight that lasted for 6 hours. I can’t imagine the panic and stress they must’ve endured!
Yesterday, another 13 were chosen for captivity while the first slaughter illegally took place. A juvenile had been put into a sling for captivity and left. It was later seen at the slaughterhouse. This goes directly against JAZA’s agreement with WAZA that there would be no killing in the month of September.
Per the agreement:
WAZA has worked with JAZA and the Port of Nagoya Aquarium, to establish a
new, transitional approach to the capture of dolphins as part of a tradition of
Japanese inshore fishery. At this time it has been officially confirmed that during
September dolphins will be collected for aquaria, the only species taken will be
the Bottlenose dolphin, and the method employed will be ‘herding’. No dolphins will be taken for human consumption during September, and all surplus animals will be released.
Please contact WAZA to urge them to terminate JAZA and the slaughter immediately.
Today, we also learned that Tokyo has won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Although this is disappointing news, it could be a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is a chance for Flippers Japan to expose the brutality to the world.