No Mercy for Dolphins

For the longest time, I had imagined how it would be to witness a drive hunt. I knew it was going to be very difficult to watch. And it was.

Roped by the tail, the struggling Risso's fought! Photo credit: Peter Roth

Roped by the tail, the struggling Risso’s fought
Photo credit: Peter Roth

On my fifth day as a Dolphin Project Cove Monitor, 10-15 Risso’s dolphins were killed in an unusually long drive. The dolphin hunters left port at 5:50 a.m., fanning out towards the morning sun in search of a pod. This was their routine, and so far, they haven’t taken a day off, except in the case of bad weather. For almost three hours the 12 hunting boats stayed beyond the horizon, but gradually it became clear that a drive formation was taking place. The hunters approached land very slowly, in an obvious struggle to keep the small pod under their control. Hour after long hour, the pod fought back. In the end, it took more than five hours to drive the exhausted and terrified dolphins into the cove.

Hunting boats pushing terrified Risso's dolphins to shore Photo credit: Peter Roth

Hunting boats pushing terrified Risso’s dolphins to shore
Photo credit: Peter Roth

The Taiji hunts used to be very bloody like the ones you see in the Faroe Islands, where the water is colored red from the blood of innocent lives. About five years ago the hunters in Taiji stopped bleeding the whales, preventing blood-tinged images from being shared around the world. In addition, they began to cover the killing cove with tarps, making it impossible to record the scenes. In this hunt, although I couldn’t see any blood, it was still a horrific sight.

The dolphins tried so hard to escape through the nets that sealed off the cove, desperate to get away from the danger and noise that had been following them for more than five hours. I saw one smash up against the rocks.” ~ Marna Frida Olsen

Reminiscent of the video below, taken during the first drive of the season where one dying Risso’s swam up to where Ric O’Barry was standing, the hunters struggled with the animals. Men in wetsuits pushed and pulled the dolphins in order to tie ropes around their flukes, with boats pulling them under the tarps so they could soon be killed. The hunters showed absolutely no regard as to the suffering of these beings. This in itself, was very disturbing.

The dolphinarium industry is the main motivator behind these brutal hunts – a money machine which has been fooling the public for decades. Here is the irony: people go see dolphins perform tricks because they like dolphins. And yet, the best thing anyone can do to demonstrate respect for these creatures is to simply leave them alone.

By supporting Dolphin Project’s campaigns, you are supporting dolphins around the world. Something as simple, yet powerful as not buying a ticket to a dolphin show is making a difference! Let’s protect dolphins together!

By: Marna Frida Olsen

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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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