Taiji Week 12 – November 24-30

The killing continued in Taiji on Sunday as a family of 6 Risso’s dolphins were brutally slaughtered.  Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians reported their screaming and tail thrashing in the final moments while the murderers laughed.  Heartless killers!

Thankfully, due to bad weather, the fisherman remained docked on Monday and the dolphins swam free.  However, the cove guardians ran across this dead baby Risso’s Monday morning, thought to have been one of those “released” on the 20th.  This is a reminder that these babies are likely not to survive without their mothers.

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project also reported that a bottle nose dolphin previously chosen for captivity did not survive and was removed from the sea pen.

Tuesday the cove remained blue again as killers in three skiffs moved a mysterious sea pen was moved to the same bay as dolphin base, but away from the other pens.

Wednesday, the killing returned.  Seven bottle-nose dolphins were taken into captivity, three of them taken straight to Dolphin Base.  Another 3-4 were slaughtered.

Thursday, as Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, the Taiji fisherman took freedom away from a family of Risso’s dolphins.  One was chosen for captivity while the remaining 3-4 were slaughtered again.

Yesterday another pod of 24-25 Risso’s were quickly herded into the cove.  The killers wasted no time in taking the lives of 17 of the larger ones and releasing those they deemed too small.

Photo by Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians

In one week, approximately 30 animals have lost their lives, mostly Risso’s, and the season is not even halfway over yet.

Thankfully this morning the fisherman returned empty-handed.

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Taiji Weeks 11 and 12

It has been a bloody two weeks in Taiji

November 10, boats remained docked due to bad weather.

Monday, November 11 a pod of bottlenose dolphins were netted and left in the cove.  These dolphins spent the night cramped, hungry and scared before 12 of them were chosen for captivity and the remaining were slaughtered the following morning.

For the next 3 days, the cove remained blue and the dophins had a small reprieve, only to be followed by the worst week yet.

On Saturday, November 16 while TV star Simone Reyes came to Taiji to be a cove guardian, a pod of Risso’s dolphins were herded into the cove.  Simone was there to witness 3 babies dumped back to sea following their mothers and other family members being slaughtered.

Sunday, November 17, choppy seas saved the dolphins in the area as the boats remained docked.

This week started out bad again as a group of pilot whales were herded into the cove and left overnight on Monday.  Tuesday, 14 of them were slaughtered and 13 juveniles were released.  It is very unlikely they will survive.

Pilot whales from Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians 11.19.13

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Wednesday was even worse.  Twenty-five Risso’s dolphins were herded into the cove.  Three were chosen for captivity, 18 were slaughtered and 4 babies and juveniles were released without their families.  HORROR!

Risso in sling for captivity from Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians 11.20.13

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For the next two days, the cove remained blue.

Yesterday, Ceta-Base shared a map of all captive facilities with known cetaceans from drive fisheries.  There are an astounding 96 facilities in 18 countries.  We will not stop until this ends.  DON’T buy a ticket!

This morning a large pod of manic striped dolphins were herded into the cove.  Reports came in that one was chosen for captivity while the others were quickly and brutally slaughtered.

Hearing of the devastation never gets easier.  We must continue to raise awareness across the world to make true change.

Several Japanese nationalists collaborated to release a new video this week titled The Truth About Dolphin Hunting in Taiji to raise awareness about what happens when tourists aren’t around.  Please share this video to help spread awareness.

Kings of Chaos also performed a show this week in Los Angeles as a benefit for Dolphin Project.  The goal is to have a concert in Japan in the future.

Going to SeaWorld? Get your blinders ready

Whether you’re an avid fan, an activist, or indifferent SeaWorld has likely gotten your attention in recent weeks.

Beginning with the premiere of Blackfish on CNN October 24th, the hype has not let up.  CNN had major publicity for a week leading up to the premiere.  The film was the highest ranking film on CNN this year and was the second most mentioned cable news show on Twitter.  #BlackfishonCNN trended for a good portion of the opening weekend.  Blackfish also had a big younger viewer turnout. SeaWorld San Diego facebook page was forced to disable comments following a ridiculous debate including SeaWorld, and captivity, advocate Jack Hanna. Word was, and still is, spreading quickly!

Friday, Animal Rights Florida staged an “Orca in a Crate” demo in downtown Orlando.  The event was a huge success.  It was followed by a protest outside the park on Saturday morning to commemorate Tilikum’s capture 30 years ago.  Protesters were met by Orange County Sheriff’s department after an apparent threat to the park Friday.  Officers circled protesters on bikes and left the cars parked through out the day.

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The law enforcement was also present inside the park.  As a guest, I’m not sure if this would make someone feel more secure or make them question why.

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(Orange Co. Sheriff’s Dept. in green)

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Tuesday SeaWorld was in the stoplight again as they entered the US Court of Appeals for the ongoing OSHA saga.  SeaWorld, with the assistance of Eugene Scalia (son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia), is appealing OSHA’s use of the General Duty Clause when issuing it’s original citation in 2010.  Comparisons were made to football and hockey players and NASCAR drivers. The difference, however, is that there have been feasible safety changes and improvements in these sports.  Scalia also repeatedly dismissed expert testimony by OSHA witness David Duffus, stating that he lacks knowledge to captive orcas.  It is important to note, however, that Duffus was involved in reviewing the coroners report for Keltie Byrnes (Tilikum’s first victim 20 years ago) and stated at the time that her injuries were consistent with the predatory behaviors he witnessed in wild orcas.  Scalia also repeatedly stated that SeaWorld’s “product” is the close contact between trainers and the killer whales.  What about education???

You can listen to the entire audio of Tuesday’s hearing here.  

While we await the decision, today SeaWorld released their highly anticipated 3rd quarter earnings report which states:

Attendance for the first nine months of 2013 declined by 4.7% compared to the same period in 2012 from 19.9 million to 18.9 million guests. Attendance was impacted by new pricing and yield management strategies implemented at the beginning of 2013 that increased revenue but reduced low yielding and free attendance, adverse weather conditions in the Company’s second quarter and in July, and the negative impact of an early Easter in 2013.

According to their press release:

Attendance trends improved in the third quarter compared to the second quarter reversing a negative trend earlier in the year, with a 3.6% decline versus a 9.5% decline in the second quarter.  Attendance trends also improved steadily within the quarter with July attendance down 5.7% due to adverse weather and August/September attendance down 1.8% as weather conditions improved.  Preliminary attendance in October showed continued improvement with attendance comparable to prior year levels. In addition to adverse weather, the attendance decline in the third quarter was an expected result of planned strategies that increased revenue but reduced low yielding and free attendance.  These strategies were implemented at the beginning of 2013 to increase revenues and operating margins through higher quality attendance which the Company achieved in the third quarter. – See more at: http://seaworldinvestors.com/news-releases/news-release-details/2013/SeaWorld-Entertainment-Inc-Reports-Record-Third-Quarter-2013-Results/default.aspx#sthash.pnWoig83.dpuf

Is the saying true that all publicity is good publicity?  Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish director, has repeatedly said in interviews, making Blackfish was peeling back the layers of an onion.  The onion has been peeled and the crying has begun.  For anyone planning to visit SeaWorld in the future, get your blinders ready.  There is too much to look past to visit without them for anyone with a conscience.  I don’t think it’s the weather keeping people away either!

Taiji Week 10 – November 3-9

It has been a bad week for Risso’s dolphins in Taiji.  The week started out with more blue but ended up very, very red.

Sunday there was no hunting due to a “whale festival” in Taiji.  Day 28

Monday, the fisherman went out and found a pod, but they gave up before reaching the cove.  Day 29

Tuesday there was tragedy.  The killers found a pod of Risso’s dophins and herded them into the cove.  According to Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, one Risso was chosen for captivity and the rest were brutally slaughtered under the tarps of shame.  It was a heartbreaking day in Taiji.

Wednesday and Thursday, the fisherman went out but returned empty-handed.

Friday the short streak ended.  According to Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, after a 6 hour fight, 9 Risso’s dolphins were herded into the cove.  Four were chosen for captivity, four were slaughtered and a baby was dumped back at sea surely not to survive.

The trend continued this morning as another pod of Risso’s were herded into the cove.  Every one of them were slaughtered under the guilty, yet heartless killers’ tarps, including a baby.  What a senseless act of cruelty!

Hearts are heavy this week with so many Risso’s dolphins losing their lives.

Taiji Week 9 – October 27-November 2

Weather kept boats docked for the first three days of the week while another typhoon passed.

On Wednesday, as we celebrated 24 consecutive days of BLUE, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians report that Taiji officials replaced and reinforced a metal fence barrier at the shore of the cove.  This fence is intended to block observers views and to keep them from obtaining a closer vantage point.

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Wednesday, Thursday, yesterday and this morning the boats returned empty-handed for a record-breaking 27 consecutive days of BLUE!

It has been a good week for the dolphins and small whales of Taiji.

Also in the news this week, Captain Paul Watson touched ground back on United States soil after months of living in international waters.  In a statement, Captain Watson said:

I have returned to the United States. The Interpol Red Notice from Costa Rica has been dropped. I will challenge the Japan notice in the U.S. If required. Heading to Seattle to defend Sea Shepherd and myself from the SLAPP civil suit launched by the Japanese whalers. We carry on with our efforts to save the oceans, undeterred and undaunted.

Welcome Home Captain!