What I Learned in Taiji

Dolphin Project’s Mini Cove Monitors recently spent several days at the infamous Cove, and we couldn’t be more proud of them. Eight brave children from Gecko Community, a school in Thalang in the north of Phuket, Thailand, alongside Senior Cove Monitors Vicki Kiely and Terran Vincent Baylor took on the duties of their adult counterparts, reporting live from Taiji.

To ensure they didn’t miss the boats leaving the harbor in search of dolphins, their day began at 5:00 a.m. They reported live on camera, posted to social media and most importantly, learned about what we do to keep the world informed of the activities in this remote part of Japan.

We asked each of the kids to share, in their own words, what they learned in Taiji, and you can read their responses below. All of them learned that education gave them power. We know our Mini Monitors will continue the good fight for those whose voices are silenced for profit.

Jessica Mini Cove MonitorI’m Jessica, and I’m 9 years old.

It’s my second time being a Mini Cove Monitor.  This time I learned that it takes a while to train the dolphins after they are caught. Different buyers want the dolphins trained at different levels, so not all dolphins are fully trained when sold.


Sofia, Mini Cove MonitorI’m Sofia, and I’m 12 years old.

I’ve learned that when captured, some dolphins go to Dolphin Base, some go to the harbour pens and some go to the Taiji Whale Museum.


Jessica Mini Cove MonitorI’m Lola, aged 9 years old.

I’ve learned that there are 12 hunting boats and that they all work together. If I see black smoke, then the hunters have found dolphins.


Shakira Mini Cove MonitorI’m Shakira, and I’m 10 years old.

This is my second time in Taiji. I learned how to do one of the posts with Vicki. I was not happy when the boats went out. I hoped it would be too windy for them to hunt.


Evi Mini Cove MonitorI’m Evi and I’m 10 years old.

I learned how to do the video on Instagram and post that the boats went out to hunt. I don’t like when the boats look for dolphins.


Eddie Mini Cove MonitorHi I’m Eddie and I’m 13 years old.

I learned how hunters drive the dolphins into the cove. I also learned how to post on Facebook Twitter and Instagram, and that I must text our Dolphin Project Home Office to let them know if the boats went out or not.


Connie, Mini Cove MonitorI’m Connie, and I’m 10 years old.

I learned that all the boats fan out in different directions. When one boat finds a pod of dolphins, they all come together and attempt to drive them into the cove.


Alex Mini Cove MonitorHi I’m Alex.

I’m 11 years old and I learned how to post on social media and that we only post what we actually see.


All images courtesy of DolphinProject.com, Terran Vincent Baylor and Vicki Kiely.

Are you interested in joining us in Taiji as a Dolphin Project Cove Monitor? Learn more here.

Please consider supporting our work. Our donation page offers many opportunities for giving. Thank you.

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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