Dolphin Project Returns to Taiji

When Dolphin Project Founder/Director Ric O’Barry first witnessed the dolphin drive hunts in the tiny fishing town of Taiji, Japan, he committed to exposing the cruelty inflicted upon dolphins – a cruelty he could only describe as “breathtaking”. Sights and sounds that no human, nor dolphin, should be subjected to assaulted his senses, and, fifteen years later, still continue to do so.

Struggling dolphins are brutalized into submission, Taiji, Japan

Struggling dolphins are brutalized into submission, Taiji, Japan. Credit:

As long as Taiji has dolphins, they will have Dolphin Project.” ~ Ric O’Barry

Between the months of September and March, an “official” 1940 dolphins of various species including bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, pilot whales, false killer whales, pantropical spotted dolphins and new to this season, rough-toothed dolphins and melon-headed whales will be subject to harassment, injury, capture and slaughter — all in the name of greed. Many more dolphins will be killed in the process of the hunts, their numbers never recorded.

Learn more about Taiji’s dolphin hunts.

2017/18 Drive Fisheries Quota, Taiji, Japan

2017/18 Drive Fisheries Quota, Taiji, Japan

Trainers, working alongside hunters, will select untold numbers for captivity, “presold” to marine parks in Japan and overseas – a violent process where dolphins will fight for their lives against the deafening and disorienting roar of boat engines, nets and extreme manhandling. Once captured, they will undergo a strict training regimen to prepare them for shipment to marine parks and aquariums for “life” in captivity.

Panicking bottlenose dolphins get stuck in nets, Taiji, Japan. Credit:

Panicked bottlenose dolphins get stuck in nets, Taiji, Japan. Credit:

Much progress has been made since ‘The Cove’ won an Oscar for Best Documentary (2010). More and more Japanese people have become aware of the gruesome killings taking place in Taiji, with local activists participating in Japan Dolphins Day and other peaceful demonstrations. Despite the government’s denial, dolphin meat has been proven, in repeated testing, to be poisoned by mercury and other heavy metals, making it unfit for human and animal consumption. Captive facilities are becoming more unpopular in United States and other parts of the world, and in some cases, the breeding of captive dolphins has been prohibited.

Bottlenose dolphins endure grueling training regimen in Taiji, Japan.

Bottlenose dolphins endure grueling training regimen in Taiji, Japan. Credit:

Although a 19-day incarceration in January 2016, resulting in Ric’s deportation from Japan* will prevent him from going to Taiji, our team of Dolphin Project Cove Monitors will be present for the entire six months of the annual dolphin hunting season. We will document and disseminate the dolphin hunts to the rest of the world via live broadcasts, social media updates and blogs, revealing why the world continues to condemn the barbaric cruelty which takes place at the cove.
*Dolphin Project’s legal team is actively working to overturn the deportation order.

Risso’s dolphin guided to slaughter.

Risso’s dolphin guided to slaughter. Credit:

This insanity MUST end. And together, we WILL end it.



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

Donate to Dolphin Project


We’re calling on individuals, activists and organizations across the world to participate with us on this International Day of Action. Join activists across the world on/around September 1st and make a difference for dolphins.
CLICK HERE to host or participate in a Japan Dolphins Day event.

Japan Dolphins Day 2017 Taiji Dolphin Project


Wear your support for Dolphin Project and start a dialogue!
Shop our authentic gear here.

Shop Dolphin Project’s New Arrivals!

Shop Dolphin Project’s new arrivals and wear your support!

There are a number of other ways you can take action to help end the Taiji dolphin slaughter.

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