Day Two: Carnage in the Cove

Update #2 – November 20, 2015, Taiji, Japan:

What took place this morning could only be described in terms of varying degrees of horror.” ~ Cynthia Fernandez, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor

After being netted in the cove and left overnight, with no access to food, the pod of approximately 50 pilot whales would soon learn their fate as divers arrived first thing the following morning. Skiffs were maneuvered into place while nets were rearranged as approximately half of the pod was separated from the group. The remaining dolphins were terrorized as they were pushed closer towards shallow water and ultimately under the tarps where they would meet their violent end.

Pilot whale Taiji, Japan, 11-20-15

Adult pilot whale’s last moments as divers attempt to push it under tarps for slaughter. Photo credit: Dolphin Project, Vicki Kiely, Cynthia Fernandez

But the pod didn’t succumb easily. In one instance, as divers manhandled a dolphin into the ropes in order to tie it to the skiff, another pilot whale rammed his/her head into the diver. In another example of the camaraderie of this pod, when a dolphin became entangled in the nets, other pod members appeared to attempt to assist the thrashing animal.

What we witnessed today wasn’t about personal safety or survival, but rather, about all members of the pod trying to help each other. I’ve not seen anything like this before.” ~ Cynthia Fernandez, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor

This was all caught on Dolphin Project’s Livestream where minutes felt like hours and dolphin after dolphin was either run over by skiffs, entangled in nets or dragged by their tails away from their family and under the tarps. One dolphin was removed in a sling, destined for captivity.

Pilot whale, Taiji, Japan, 11-20-15

Terrorized pilot whale trapped in nets. Photo credit: Dolphin Project, Cynthia Fernandez, Vicki Kiely

The water became cloudy as the cove ran red. All the while, the other half of the pod swam in tight circles, in the blood of their family.

Their will to survive will stick with me forever. Down to each of their last breaths, every dolphin fought hard, not only for themselves but for the rest of their pod.” ~ Vicki Kiely, Dolphin Project Cove Monitor

Several dolphins actually died before being killed by the divers, and their bodies were clearly seen floating on the surface.

Pilot whale Taiji, Japan 11-20-15

Body of a lifeless pilot whale floating beside living pod members Photo credit: Dolphin Project, Cynthia Fernandez, Vicki Kiely

The hours passed, and, with no further activity in the cove, we realized the survivors would be left alone, trapped for yet another night.

The cruelty witnessed over the past, two days is unspeakable. We can only hope for a quick end to the torture these gentle beings have endured.

At the time of this update, the remaining pilot whales are being held for a second night in the cove. Tomorrow will mark day three since they swam as free beings. They have had no food since the drive began. We will be back tomorrow morning to continue documenting and sharing their plight with the world. Please check back for updates.

Click here to read part one of this blog: We Are Family: First Pod of Pilot Whales Terrorized in Taiji.

Click here to read part three of this blog: Taiji Dolphin Brutality Continues.

Click here to read part four of this blog: Pilot Whales Meet Tragic End in Taiji.

Thank you to Dolphin Project Senior Cove Monitors Vicki Kiely and Cynthia Fernandez for their accounts in documenting this latest travesty in Taiji.

Learn more about becoming a Dolphin Project Cove Monitor.

Your help in supporting our campaign in Taiji is greatly appreciated and needed. Click here to donate.

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA (Tax ID 47-1665067), and donations are tax-deductible.


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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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