Awaiting ‘Fate’ – The Cruel Decimation of Two Pods

Cruelty towards others is always also cruelty towards ourselves.” ~ Paul Tillich, American Theologian and Philosopher

Day Three – September 18, 2016, Taiji: At 5:20 a.m., the boats arrived to the cove and immediately fishermen and trainers started selecting more bottlenose dolphins for captivity. Early morning rain and wind only added to the foreboding of the day. Dolphin Project Cove Monitors noted how weak and stress-weary the dolphins were, making it easier to catch them in shallow waters and wrangle them into submission. Four dolphins were pulled from the pod, with a staggering 42 mammals chosen for “life” in captivity.

Once completed, around 9:25 a.m., the nets were pulled back and the remaining pod members were freed.

And what of the pilot whales?

 If I understood them correctly [the fishermen], they were talking about how to separate moms from babies.” ~ Yoshi, Japanese activist

Pilot whales huddled together while being forced into the killing cove.

Pilot whales huddle together while being forced into the killing cove.

It was over 48 hours ago that the pod of 18-20 pilot whales were caught in a second drive. For two days they had been held without food or shelter – waiting. Video and photographic documentation showed the dolphins continually spyhopping – poking their heads out of the water, with the matriarch of the pod circling the younger dolphins, seemingly offering them comfort.

We feared the worst as suddenly, we saw the pilot whales getting pushed into the killing cove area. There was some panic and a few dolphins got tangled in the nets. Fishermen worked to untangle them, pushing them further into the cove.” ~ Daniela Morena, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor

One of two pilot whales being taken out to sea, in the absence of the rest of the pod, Taiji, Japan

One of two pilot whales being taken out to sea, in the absence of the rest of the pod, Taiji, Japan

Out of the terrified pod, one dolphin was selected for captivity. Then another skiff appeared, with a sling on either side. Two juvenile pilot whales were wrestled into the slings. Cove Monitors live streamed as the dolphins were transferred to banger boats, where they were taken out to sea and released, in the absence of the rest of the pod.

There is no tradition of separating juvenile animals from their elders. No other culture on the planet has put so much effort and expense into hiding their so-called “tradition” from tourists and journalists. ~ Tim Burns, Dolphin Project Coordinator

At around 10:05 a.m., after ensuring the remaining pilot whales were secured inside the cove, they were, once again, left alone, where they will spend a third night – waiting.

Featured image: The remaining pilot whales spend a third night in the cove, in the absence of food or shelter. Credit:


Day 1 – September 16, 2016 Breaking: Two Species of Dolphins Brutally Captured in Taiji’s Hunts
Day 2 – September 17, 2016 Sold Into Servitude: “I’ll Take the Baby”



Dolphin Project will be on the ground in Taiji during the entire killing season, live streaming, blogging and disseminating information for the world to see. Your support has never been more crucial and is greatly appreciated.

Donate to Dolphin Project


Interested in joining us in Taiji? Learn about becoming a Dolphin Project Cove Monitor and submit your application, free of charge.

Ric O'Barry Dolphin Project Cove Monitors at The Cove





Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a non-profit charitable organization, dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide. Founded by Richard (Ric) O’Barry on Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the mission of the Dolphin Project is to end dolphin exploitation and slaughter, as dolphins are routinely captured, harassed, slaughtered and sold into captivity around the world – all in the name of profit.

Every year from approximately September 1 to March 1, a notoriously cruel hunt of some of the most sentient and sensitive creatures on the planet takes place in Taiji, Japan, made famous by the 2009 Academy award-winning movie “The Cove.” During this period, fisherman, or more appropriately, 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 in Taiji since 2003. We have revolutionized live streaming and broadcast throughout the entire season.

Dolphin Project works not only to halt these slaughters but also to rehabilitate captive dolphins, investigate and advocate for economic alternatives to dolphin slaughter exploitation and to put a permanent end to dolphin captivity.  This work has been chronicled in films such as, ‘A Fall From Freedom,’ the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Cove,’ and in the Animal Planet mini-series, ‘Blood Dolphin$.’

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands


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