Another Gruesome Slaughter

By Tim Burns
Cove Monitor
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

We had two days of no killing in the Cove: on Friday, when the dolphin hunters were unable to find any at sea, and again on Saturday, when the hunters took their usual day off.

We rose this morning at 5:00am.  Checking the weather report, it was going to be calm waters with no wind.  We didn’t need to drive to the Taiji harbor to know the boats are going to be heading out.  We of course got in the car and headed south to witness first hand as they were slipping out the harbor entrance.  Much like every morning they fanned out 180º.  

This morning we had several emotional ups and down, as the boats would appear on the horizon in formation, then slip out of sight again.  About 10:00 am, it was confirmed they had a pod.  A couple of the boats came in, only to get the cove prepared for a slaughter.  By 11:00 am the pod was being sealed into the cove.  

As is often the case with Striped Dolphins, they begin to panic in the shallow waters of the cove.  As they panic they jump onto the rocks.  The fishermen quickly have a diver in the water to pull them off so we cannot film any bloodshed.  

We listened for 30 minutes as the slaughter happens under the tarps just 200 feet below us.  Then we hear nothing.  No more tails slapping; no more fishermen yelling. 

All is silent for several minutes before the first of several skiffs come out from under the tarps.  We filmed the skiff as it rounded the point and noticed that there was movement under the tarp.  Then we see the tails of several juvenile dolphins flapping in the air.  The skiff rushed around the point and headed out to sea. 

Later we confirmed that the dolphins were released.  Many cheered, but we felt sorrow. It’s supposed to be seen as a gesture or an act of good fisheries policy.  The sad truth is, without the rest of their pod, these juvenile dolphins will just die of starvation or fall victims to predation.   Now the Taiji dolphin hunters have driven these young dolphins from the open sea to land, killed their entire family in front of them, and condemned them to die at sea.

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About Ric O'Barry

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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.

In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.

From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.

Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.

O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.

Author: Ric O'Barry
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