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Gone But Not Forgotten – More Reflections from Taiji Cove

December 10th, 2010 by Webmaster

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Photo Credit : Mike Lorden

Photo Credit : Mike Lorden

I recently returned to the United States from Japan, and while my body is now thousands of miles away from Taiji and the Cove, my thoughts remain with the dolphins and the daily horrors  occurring there.  The killings that took place on the last days of my visit haunt me, but it is in loving memory of those whose lives were lost or shattered that I share their tragic story.

During the early morning of Saturday, December 4th, a pod of over 100 migrating dolphins were ruthlessly hunted down and corralled into the Cove by Taiji fishermen. I watched from the shore as several of the dolphins got caught up in nets, their heads struggling desperately to come up for air, only to be pushed under by the fishermen trying to drown them.  I can still hear the sounds of blowholes spouting rapidly in distress as many were forced to listen to the anguished cries of their family members being killed. And I’ll never forget the sight of a lone baby swimming in isolation from the others in search of his mother. Forty-three dolphins were slaughtered before the fishermen decided to call it a day and leave the others to await their gruesome fate the next morning. Their trauma and terror as they swam close together, entrapped all night in the cove, is unimaginable.

We rose before dawn on Sunday to be at the Cove before the fishermen. After daybreak, it soon became clear why some dolphins had been spared the day before. Accompanying the fishermen, a group of trainers had come to select dolphins for captivity. Witnessing the selection process was sickening, as five trainers would wrestle down each dolphin for harsh examination. They would even ride them to see how they responded.  In the end, six dolphins had been chosen for a life of performance, never to be among their families again. For 36 others, death was their fate, and I listened and watched as they had stakes driven into their backs, and their bodies thrashed about violently in the waters for minutes on end.
Not all of the remaining dolphins were killed, with approximately 25 being released back to sea.  As they swam away the baby was among them, lagging far behind and certain to die of starvation without his mother. I felt I should be grateful that their lives had been spared, but I thought only of the shock and suffering these sensitive beings had just endured. How would they ever recover, and what kind of lives would they be returning to?

While the story of these dolphins in the Cove is no different than the many thousands who have come before, and, sadly, for the multitude who will come after, stories like theirs must be told until the day when all dolphins can swim free from harm.  Please help that day arrive by continuing to tell this story.

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    Reply

  118. December 13, 2010 at 10:24 am, cheryl smart said:

    I will never in all my 53yrs living on this planet,understand the mentality of some people, how these cruel evil fishermen of Taiji can inflict so much pain on these beautiful majestic dancers of the oceans is why beyond me! i have followed the stories every day, the gut renching feelings comes out from the story, these beautiful dolphins/whales will just disappear from our oceans because of greed, it does not matter to the evil people how they are murdered or kept for training to become circus clowns! every dolphin/whale has a price on it’s beautiful head!and until Japan gets educated that they are emptying the oceans,they will sit on there morals that this babrbaric way is their way of life

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  119. December 13, 2010 at 5:56 am, gigi bonomini said:

    Luckily you’re not the only one in the world that is bad for what happens in Taiji. you had the “luck” (!) to be present. the poor baby dolphin will be ‘asked’ cause people are so ‘evil and cruel. all together and thanks to people like you who witnessed the cruelty ‘daily lot of people will take’ note that all this has to stop and start ‘to fight without turning his head. thanks from italy. gigi

    Reply

  120. December 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm, Charlie said:

    Thank you for your honest and moving updates from Taiji. I admire you for getting out there and making the difference. I will never understand how these monsters can ruthlessly kill such beautiful, intelligent animals. But knowing that people like you, the cove guardians and the thousands of people on the facebook page care so much, gives me hope for the dolphins future.

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  121. December 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm, Lindsey Powell said:

    Just sickened by the cruelty and indifference to the pain of these beautiful creatures, what will it take to make this end?

    Reply

  122. December 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm, Rosemary Lachance said:

    I am soooooooo angry at these people, I cannot think. How can they do this to innocent animals? They are stone cold killers. Remember: “As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower livings beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” Pythagoras

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    • December 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm, Eli Month said:

      Why do people keep buying Japanese cars when they continue to slaughter dalphins and whales?

      Reply

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