Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whale Wednesday - Taiji Update

Updates from Taiji

Last week we left off with approximately 40 dolphins corralled into the cove.   Half of these dolphins were chosen for a life of captivity while the other half were released.  Although none were killed, those chosen for captivity will lead a life imprisoned while their family will go "back home" without them.  

September 13 was a happy day for the dolphins as the boats returned empty handed.

Saturday, September 14 the cove guardians started the day by finding a mother pilot whale floating.  She had been captured for captivity from the previous hunt along with her calf and had been struggling all week.  The fisherman took her off to the butcher house in tarps as the calf looked on.
Approximately 85-100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were brought into the cove.  Around 35-40 of these pilot whales were slaughtered as the others continue to be held in the cove for another day.

Sunday, this same group continued to be held in the cove.  No food, no freedom, and some with no family left.  Meanwhile buyers came to the butcher house to buy meat and make room for the next kill.

Monday approximately 35 more pilot whales were slaughtered while 30-40 continue to wait in the cove.  Days of waiting in captivity with nothing while watching other members of their pod being slaughtered.
CNN got wind of this story through the thousands of supporters and aired the following story on Monday night news.

Tuesday morning the remaining pilot whales and dolphins were released.
Wednesday there were no hunts.  Taiji is 13 hours ahead of EST and the hunts are in the early morning which is actually Tuesday night for me.

Why the big deal?  Because captivity is wrong!  Many of us, myself included, have enjoyed going to water parks to see dolphins and whales perform and think "aren't they cute?", right?  

When you look at the reality, it isn't so cute.  Dolphins in the wild travel in large pods, mainly family units.  They can swim up to 100 miles per day and only spend 10-20% of their time at the surface.  They are always aware and always swimming, even when the "sleep".  They are "volunteer breathers" meaning that they are conscious of every breath they take.

Captivity to them is like a swimming pool, only able to take a few strokes before running into a wall.  Since these tanks are shallow, they spend almost half of their time at the surface.  Their sonar is limited in this environment of cement tanks as well.  Skin problems often develop and dorsal fins of orcas bend over in captivity.

It rips families apart and the stress of capture can be severe, even fatal.  It also disrupts natural breeding.

The buzz word for these parks seems to be that they are doing this for "research".  Does this sound like research to you?

To follow the hunts yourself, check out:
Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians page here and/or
Melissa Sehgal at I Love Dolphins found here
Melissa is the on-ground leader for the cove guardians and was the spokesperson in the video above


  1. I have never been to Sea World, or even the large aquarium within driving distance in Maryland. From reading your whale and dolphin postings, I don't want to. :/

  2. I've never been a big water park fan for that reason. Even before I did any research into it, just comparing the size of the ocean with the size of those tanks, and the idea of making animals perform for our entertainment seems perverse in a way (just my opinion).

  3. It is sad to hear about the suffering and needless killing.

  4. Never been to a water park or a zoo for that matter....I hate seeing creatures penned up.