Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dolphin Outlook Today!

It has been a great week if you consider that not one Dolphin has been captured or killed all week. It has been a Blue Cove if you will, for 7 straight days. It is also not for the lack of trying because the hunters did take their  boats out to try to find pods of Dolphins but all seven of them cam in every day this last week without any victims.

And most of all, there is the Taji Action Day Walk and Protest tomorrow (Friday, February 19) at 12 PM - 6 PM in UTC (Weather forecast Tomorrow: 45—50° Partly Cloudy at Cavendish Square Gardens in London, United Kingdom. Please join the crowd for this important event!
We will provide highlights pictures and discussions from this important event on next week's episode and on the blog report.
Charlie's Cycle Challenge Video. Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Join WDC Field Officer Charlie Phillips in getting active for whales and dolphins. Charlie is setting you a challenge! Cycle 4 or 10 miles and raise money for your favourite finned friends.

Shocking Revelations Over Animal Deaths at SeaWorld Texas
69 dead marine mammals in 24 years. And that's at SeaWorld Texas alone. ‪#‎DontGoToSeaworld‬. On February 6th, SeaWorld announced the death of Dart, a 12-year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin housed at its park in Texas. With Dart’s death, the San Antonio-based facility has lost four marine mammals in just seven months — all of whom died young.

In July 2015, SW-Texas reported that a premature beluga calf had died after enduring three weeks of “intensive, round the clock care.”  Just four months later in November, a two-year-old beluga whale named Stella died following treatment for gastrointestinal problems.

In the same month, Unna, a female orca, became ill with a Candida infection. The park preemptively announced her illness and issued several updates, but the 18-year-old whale died last December. SeaWorld announced that Unna’s necropsy report showed the whale had succumbed to “a systemic bacterial infection.”

SeaWorld’s announcement of Unna’s illness surprised many. Critics argued that the park was prepping the public for her impending death. SeaWorld supporters countered that the park was simply being more transparent with the public.

Whatever the reasoning, SeaWorld appears to be preparing the public for yet another loss. Along with the announcement of Dart’s death emerged news of another sick animal — Betty, the Pacific white-sided dolphin is also ill, and undergoing treatment for “inflammation or a possible infection.”

According to SeaWorld, there are “no apparent connections” between the deaths of these animals but critics disagree. In the belief that underlying problems rest with the captive environment itself, former SeaWorld trainer Dr. Jeffrey Ventre of ‘Voice of the Orcas‘ (VOTO) told Dolphin Project:

"Captivity is stressful. The common denominator with the Texas deaths is that ALL cetaceans were “under constant veterinary care,” yet they died prematurely of inflammatory and/or infectious causes. Under constant vet care translates into chronic over-medication."

"The “Merck Veterinary Manual” specifically reports that captive marine mammals are prone to infection and that, “most appear to be secondary to stress, environmental compromise, or other infectious diseases.” In this context of over-medication, chronic stress, and compromised immunity, it’s no surprise that whales are dying. Whether there is something unique about Texas, such as poor water quality, inadequate care, or an outbreak of mosquito-transmitted disease, we’ll probably never know due to the secrecy of SeaWorld itself."

Pacific white-sided dolphins at SeaWorld Texas
According to, SeaWorld’s wild-caught Pacific white-sided dolphins were captured off the California coast in the Pacific Ocean. Dart was born to Lorelai through artificial insemination. His sire is Arrow, who resides at Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan.

The remaining living population at SeaWorld Texas includes:
  • Betty; NOA0002534; SWT-LO-8005. Captured Jan. 21, 1980.
  • Catalina; NOAA0003086; SWT-LO-9376. Born at SWT Sep. 5, 1993.
  • Avalon; NOA0005862; SWT-LO-9976. Born at SWT July 18, 1999.
  • Hailey; NOA0005865; SWT-LO-9978. Born at SWT Aug. 28, 1999.
  • Bolt NOA0006582; SWT-LO-0976. Born at SWT Sep. 13, 2009 possibly through AI.
Dart’s death puts the number of Pacific white-sided dolphins deaths at SeaWorld Texas at eight. They are:
  • Unknown; NOA0002691; SWT-LO-8013. Captured Dec. 15, 1980. Died May 18, 1999. [Captive for 18 years]
  • Lorelai; NOA0002698; SWT-LO-8127. Captured Dec. 19, 1981. Died Jan. 15, 2000. [Captive for 18 years]
  • Larne’s Calf; Born August 7, 1996, and died the same day.
  • Cassie; NOA0005640; SWT-LO-9676. Born Oct. 11, 1996. Died Feb. 07, 2005. [8-years-old]
  • Unknown; NOA0005858; SWT-LO-9977. Born Aug. 04, 1999. Died Jan. 03, 2002. [2-years-old]
  • Unknown; NOA0005914; SWT-LO-0076. Born Oct. 15, 2000. Died Mar. 31, 2002. [1-year-old]
  • Dart; NOA0006147; SWT-LO-0376. Born Sep. 08, 2003. Died Feb. 06, 2016. [12-years-old]
  • Jet; NOA0006152; SWT-LO-0377. Born Sep. 11, 2003. Died Nov. 29, 2004. [1-year-old]
Munchkin, another Pacific white-sided dolphin born at SWT on Oct. 21, 2000, now resides at Shedd Aquarium. Including Munchkin, there have been 11 Pacific white-sided dolphin births at SWT since 1993. Unfortunately, only five of those animals remain alive today, a survival rate of forty-five percent.

With Dart’s death, SeaWorld has one remaining male Pacific white-sided dolphin in its inventory. Bolt, who is 6-years-old, has not yet reached sexual maturity (7-10 years; NOAA Fisheries). Also according to NOAA Fisheries, “this species of dolphin can live for more than 40 years” in the wild.

Ex-trainers reveal new details on past deaths
The spate of deaths at SWT in such a short time is not a surprise claims former TX senior SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove. Back in August 2013, SWT was queried by the media after the loss of its 13th beluga whale since 1995. Said San Antonio’s KEN5 News, “five of the 13 were under 5-years-old,” and “respiratory disease” was cited as the leading cause of death.

With the inclusion of stillbirths for all species, SeaWorld of Texas has lost 19 beluga whales since 1995 (21 years); 26 bottlenose dolphins since 1995 (21 years), 13 orcas since 1992 (24 years), and 11 Pacific white-sided dolphins since 1996 (20 years). These disconcerting numbers mean that in 24 years — not even a lifespan of one of these cetaceans, the San Antonio park has witnessed the deaths of 69 marine mammals including stillbirths. [Source:]

Hargrove believes some of the deaths could be attributed to a cost-cutting energy rebate program. In 2009, SeaWorld began participating in the CPS Demand Response Program. Last June, the ‘San Antonio Business Journal‘ reported that the Texas park had “increased its participation — exceeding 1,100 kilowatts of savings per event in summer 2014 and looking to increase that number in 2015.”

A colleague and former SeaWorld trainer from Beluga Whale and Dolphin stadium also told Hargrove that SWT had been reducing the capacity of the filtration system and possibly even shutting it off to conserve energy:

"I know the change to the filtration system started the summer of 2009. I don’t know if it was only a summer thing but regardless, it is disgusting for a company profiting from millions and touting that they are for the animals. Unna smashing her chin on a peeling pool … they had trainers put together scaffolding and re-tie a new net that was a pool divider and (the old one) made the animals sick from the decaying net wall. Talk about OSHA violations, trainers doing untrained activities out of our scope of expertise … we were over an empty, unlevel cement pool bottom."

The ‘San Antonio Journal’ discussed how the program worked. Participants could, it said, “install a smart thermostat for free or trim energy use by adjusting chilled water temperatures, turning down lighting or reducing pump speeds on certain equipment, among other measures.”

But Aimée Jeansonne Becka, Senior Director of Corporate Communications denied that the park’s chillers were ever turned off and responded:

"SeaWorld San Antonio has participated in the CPS Energy’s Demand Response Program for several years as part of our energy conservation efforts. None of the efforts related to this program involved turning off the chillers or filters for animal habitats. Water temperature and quality is based on veterinary requirements for the animals and maintained at the highest levels. You can find additional information and statements on our blog."

Hargrove’s colleague said none of the trainers could understand why their beluga whales were acting strangely:
"The trainers at Whale and Dolphin Stadium that housed only the belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins were first concerned when the belugas would split from the their trainer and go sit on the bottom of the pool and refuse control — even during the beluga interaction program with paying park guests. After trainers continued to try and figure out what was going on behaviorally and could not find a solution, they were reluctantly told by a member of management that elements of the filtration system were either being reduced or completely shut off for two hours during the peak and thus hottest time of the day."

Hargrove explained:
"The belugas are used to the continuous and consistent sound of when the filtration system runs normally. To participate in the CPS rebate program, aspects of the filtration system were reduced or possibly completely shut off, causing a completely different sound or no sound at all, which would freak the belugas out because of the change. These whales are considered high-flight animals and scare easily."

"Trainers would also notice a foam-like substance and the oil secretions from the dead fish both on the surface of the water and in the skimmers. When the filtration system is operating normally, this was not observed. Of course, belugas live naturally in very cold waters, and if this change to the filtration system also affected the chilling system and caused the water to be warmer, then that would be even more egregious. Now I ask you, does SeaWorld care for their animals and provide them with their self-proclaimed, ‘leading world-class care,’ or are they exploiting and endangering the animals for profit? I believe their participation in this rebate program — which appears to directly affect the beluga whales, fully answers that question."

Former SeaWorld trainer and VOTO member Samantha Berg believes that cetaceans are greatly impacted by their immediate environment. “In the human world, inflammation, infection, gestation and gastrointestinal issues all point to dis-regulated immune and endocrine systems — which means stress,” Berg said. “Furthermore, when you add in exposure to chemicals and malnutrition from an inadequate diet, this makes marine mammals even more susceptible to environmental stress,” she concluded.

Nobody can argue that captive care has advanced in 24 years and SeaWorld says it is working hard to understand the causes of deaths for four of its young captive-born animals, but with an overall figure of 69 deceased marine mammals in such a short period of time, it seems there could be more amiss than the park is willing to recognise.

Dolphin Project would like to extend sincere thanks to for providing data for this article.

John Hargrove is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, ‘Beneath the Surface.’ You can find him at his website:

Dr. Jeff Ventre is a medical doctor licensed in the state of Washington and is a board certified specialist in the area of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Sam Berg holds a Bachelors Degree in Animal Science from Cornell University and is the co-owner of the Acupuncture Center and Meditation Studio in Palmer, Alaska. Both of them can be reached via Voice of the Orcas.
Video: Univision Planeta Interviews Ric O’Barry
Watch The Interview with Rick O' Barry, activist to save dolphins:
Sea Shepard Conservation Society is aiming to bring awareness of the slaughtering of whales and dolphins in Japan. Sea Shepard vice president Ethan Wolf discusses the non-profit's new campaign with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

What! Idiots Find Dying, Stranded Dolphin and Take Selfies Instead of Helping. 

Beachgoers at an Argentinian resort in Santa Teresita found a baby dolphin dying of dehydration on the beach. Instead of returning the poor animal back to the water where he belongs, they decided to parade him through the crowd fo people so sunbathers could take selfies instead. After they had their fun, the dolphin was abandoned on the sand to die.

Making this incident even more tragic, the La Plata dolphin is a vulnerable species with only 30,000 left in the world. While they can typically live up to 20 years in the wild, they dehydrate easily when out of water.

The last photos of this dolphin show him tragically being grabbed and posed in the air as the crowd of beachgoers hold up their phones to grab a shot.
Tragically, this calf didn’t even get a chance to survive due to the crowd’s interest in a selfie. After the people dispersed, this poor dolphin was left lifeless and alone on the sand.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that selfies have affected the well-being of a species. When sea turtles in Costa Rica flood the shores of the Ostional Wildlife Refuge to lay their eggs each month, tourists flock to the beach to capture the spectacle on camera. Last year, so many people gathered on the beach to be a part of the action, that they blocked the turtles from reaching land, and some even went as far as to place children on the backs of turtles just to snap a photo.

These instances illustrate the sad reality of what can happen when we involve wild animals in our selfie sessions. Yes, we all love to see animals, and getting up close to one may seem like an incredible experience, but certainly not at the expense of their life.

The dolphin’s death has caused the Wildlife Foundation in Argentina to release a public reminder about the vulnerable species. However, we can all do our part by being more conscious of how our actions impact the world around us.  If we want the species we love so much to be around for us all to see, we must learn to respect wildlife – as these unfortunate incidents show, not learning to live in harmony with our animal friends could literally cost them their lives.

These beachgoers could have become heroes by calling for professional help to assist this poor dolphin, rather than parading it around like a trophy. If you ever come across a wild animal in need, call a certified, experienced wildlife rehabilitator, rescuer, or vet. These professionals will determine the appropriate course of action (we’re none of which will involve selfies), and be able to successfully release the animal back into the wild when recovered. All image source: Hernan Coria

Taji (Japan) Officials Continue to Sanction Terror in 'The Cove' (Originally posted on December 2nd, 2015)

The sun has set on yet another appalling day of brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins off the coast in TajiJapan.  As dolphin pods, or families, are split apart and murdered, calves heart-wrenchingly taken from their mothers, scarred dolphins throwing themselves at the feet of journalist activists, as if they are begging for mercy before being brutally, fatally hunted, it is more apparent than ever that mainstream public awareness is crucial to the survival of these innocent, peaceful guardian creatures of the oceans.

While human history is highlighted by many examples of brave leadership, innovation, scientific breakthroughs, it is also marred by modern day slavery and age old genocide. Civilization has since become enlightened to the horrors of slavery and the atrocities of genocide, lets not allow these ruthless acts continue against the world's dolphin population.

We literally steal animals now from its own free environment and we get them to work for free providing food and some small housing just like we did back in the days with Jewish people and with African American people. And, after capturing them, if they do not fit that physical ability to do that manual labor, the people enslaving others would kill them.

This practice is not limited to dolphins. Whales, elephants, rhinos, tigers, lions, apes - animals people pay to watch for entertainment were taken from their natural habitat and enslaved for the purpose of corporate profit. This type of slavery must end. It's time is overdue.

Some of these magnificent creatures are killed for their meat, for a tusk of ivory, for a horn or, as in the case of dolphins, no reason at all. Dolphin meat is not consumed by people outside of Taji, parts of their anatomy are not used for art, jewelry or display.

These acts can be likened to Europeans and Americans forcing Africans from their families and their homeland to become slaves, the property of others, forced to perform as their master's commanded. Shame on corporations, such as Sea World, paying for the capture and enslavement of creatures from the sea for human entertainment.

It is not limited to SeaWorld, the same goes with any place that uses animals and wildlife to make money for human entertainment.

The annual dolphin hunt season in Taji, Japan runs from September to March. International conservationists and activists travel to Taji to broadcast the slaughter each day of the season each year. The locals in Taji, Japan consider the broadcast harassment. I consider the hunt barbaric and, just as human slavery is illegal, I believe it should be illegal to slaughter dolphins and to steal animals from their habitat to be used for human purposes or corporate profit.

If you'd like to know exactly what happens in the slaughters, which happen most days in Taiji from September to March, this covertly-obtained footage shows brief glimpses (but please note it is extremely disturbing). Video length = 02:49

The slaughtering and capturing of dolphins began in Taji, a small Japanese village with a population of 3500 residents. Taji is located within the Wakayama area of Japan. The Taji locals corner the defenseless dolphin pods into a corner of a cove and use harpoons, repeatedly, fatally stabbing each dolphin and turning the once aqua waters a murderous red. The Taji locals consider this a "traditional hunting practice." In spite of the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary film "The Cove," and tremendous conservation efforts by individuals such as Ric O'Barry and a group called The Cove guardians, it appears, more is needed to bring this issue to mainstream public consciousness.

After having many conversations with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, it appears that many have engaged in a sort of group think and seem to block out the atrocities that must be involved in bringing these 'adorable Shamus' creatures to SeaWorld to delight the grandchildren. Others seem completely unaware of the issue.

Regardless of perception, the Wakayaman government has passed laws that violate international law. International Law forbids hunting dolphins and porpoises except when such hunting is in accordance with "Traditional hunting practices." The Taji dolphin hunt began in 1968. The Wakayaman Perfectural Government falsely claims the practice of this hunt has been going on since the 17th century and falls within the exclusion of the international law forbidding the hunting of dolphins and porpoises. They are not acting out of tradition, they are acting out of bloodthirst and greed.

In so doing, the Wakayaman government allows the brutal slaughter of 2000 dolphins and porpoises each year in violation of international law.

Other than an element of people in a tiny market in the town of Taji, dolphin meat is not exported to anywhere else in the world.

Just stated that in recent years, the Taiji dolphin hunt has become an active place for activists. I personally found out about it when I saw that Academy Award-winning 2009 film The Cove, which documents the hunt and raised awareness of Taiji's dolphin hunting industry internationally. I contacted the film makers during the film in disbelief that happened every year, let alone every day during it.

Conservationist group The Dolphin Project which is organized by Ric O'Barry has had a presence during every season, broadcasting live video feeds of it while protesting on land in the village with its' live Internet feed, and has helped gain great awareness about it every year. They have also mobilized protests at Embassy's and have garnered many kids to protest against the practice.

On January 19, 2014, many organizations like the Sustainable Action Network (SAN) and the Dolphin Project helped to organize and execute a large social media campaign. This campaign garnered the attention of US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy. Ambassador Kennedy wrote an open letter in opposition to the dolphin hunt to the Japanese Prime Minister. Other high profile people have become concerned about the dolphin hunt and traveled to Taji, japan to witness the hunt in person. These people include comedian Ricky Gervais, actress Shannon Doherty and pop singer Harry Stiles.

This has been a hard year. Pods of Risso dolphins have been captured. One that included 20 individual dolphins were captured just today. A group of pilot whales were captured, abused, starved and then, eventually killed last week. Anywhere between 150-200 have been killed or captured over the last three months. I continue to document these kills daily at my blog and at Sunset-Daily when writing up the Morning Joe Recap every week day; however, again this year, the task has become daunting.
Time-lapse footage with a counter showing the death process over a seven minute period (again a warning, this is extremely graphic). Video length = 01:30

This video shows a pilot whale captured in a drive hunt floating upside down in a pen in Taiji’s harbour. The pen is too small for the whale to swim around and submerge itself, so it is overheating under the hot sun. This pilot was observed over several days. The dolphin trainers did not bother to move it to a larger pen or release it, and the pilot whale eventually died. Video length = 00:15

Perhaps one of the most distressing aspects of the dolphin hunt to witness is the confused reaction of the dolphins. Dolphins instinctively are trusting and protective creatures. They literally trust their captors as they are led into a corner of the cove and slaughtered. Have you ever seen a dolphin guide a sea lion, seal or even a drowning dog to safety? Videos of just that depicting this nurturing dolphin behavior can be viewed on YouTube. The reaction of the dolphins as they realize they have been betrayed is hard but important to watch. They are tired, they stare, bewildered above the water, scratches and cuts apparent all over their magnificent bodies. The dolphins appear so very confused as if they are wondering why this is happening as they are stabbed over and over as they slowly and painfully die along with the rest of the adults in their pod.

To add to this cruelty, the hunters separate the calves from their mothers and release the calves, unable yet to fend for themselves, into the great ocean waters. Hence, the hunters seal the calves fate: to become food for larger ocean prey.
Even with the hype around it, Japan officials defend dolphin hunting atin the Taiji Cove. And, like I said above here, the locals defend the practice.

The hunt also drew publicity in January 2014 when a rare albino dolphin later named "Angel" was caught, captured and sentenced to a life swimming in small circles in a museum in Taji, Japan. The Wakayama Prefectural Government declined CNN's request for an interview about their practice of hunting and capturing dolphins. Instead, the government referred CNN to it's website that contains the stock position that "residents viewed dolphins and whales as legitimate marine resources and that the hunt, a local tradition, was integral to the town's economic survival." This argument is very familiar. The southern states also argued that slavery was integral to economic survival. In a civilized, humane society, there MUST be a moral line that can not be crossed for the purpose of economic profit. Taji Japan crosses that line.

Besides, that is not a true statement. This town is not going to be starved to its deaths if they do NOT eat Dolphin meat. The claim made by Government officials is that the town is "located far away from the centers of economic activity, the town has a 400-year history as the cradle of whaling, and has flourished over the years thanks to whaling and the dolphin fishery," is what the statement said verbatim. It went on to state that "the dolphin fishery is still an indispensable industry for the local residents to make their living.”

Only a person completely lacking compassion could have knowledge of the methods used in this annual hunt and not feel a sense of indignation. Drive Hunting, the technique used to guide, trap and capture or kill the dolphins is well documented in the Academy Award-winning Documentary "The Cove.' Drive hunting is performed with a weapon called a metal banger pole. The metal banger pole is used to create a wall of sound meant to disorient and deafen the dolphins. In this state, the dolphins are driven to swim away from the sound and into the shallow waters of the infamous cove.

This video shows how dolphins are captured in drive hunts, a method which involves herding the dolphins using underwater noise. Video length = 00:57

The cove hunt has become so well known that it was referred to in the latest Ben Stiller film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb." In the film, the character Atilla the Hun is portrayed abusing a dolphin. Ben Stiller's character reacts and exclaims: “Atilla, you don't beat up dolphins! They're gentle creatures, but you were hacking away at him like it was 'The Cove' or something."

Once driven into the cove, the dolphins become ensnared in nets placed by the hunters. The killers use large metal rods to probe and puncture the spinal cords of their victims. The dolphins and pilot whales finally die by either blood loss or suffocation by drowning in their own blood. When the killers have a successful, murderous day, the term "Red Cove Day" is announced because they have succeeded in the barbaric act of turning the once beautiful blue water of the cove a blood red coat of color. Conservationist activists use the term "Blue Cove Day" on the rare days when no dolphins or pilot whales are killed or captured.

You can watch that happen every day on live feeds at Ric O' Barry's “The Dolphin Project' web site.

Taiji fishermen's union representatives have told CNN reporters that their methods of spine-severing is a humane method of killing the dolphins.

These hunters are cowards. When filmed transporting live dolphins for their meat, they sought cover to hide when approached by cameras. They block activists from filming it as much as possible.

As a matter of fact, this form of activism, recording and speaking to the hunters has been labeled harassment by the Japanese government. Several individuals have been arrested for attempting to help the dolphins or record the activities of the hunters. The Japanese government is condoning this activity by allowing the hunters to hide and by attempting to shield this behavior from public awareness. In fact, Taji's mayor, Kazutaka Sangen, told the Associated Press "we are hunting under the permission of the Japanese government and prefecture, and so we will continue to protect our fisherman and the methods. We will not quit." Do these officials in Japan have any shame? Why do they want to hide their "traditional practices" from cameras?

I maintain that there should be an amendment to the current international law about protecting sea life from international waters. I feel that they should not be able to guide them into their shores and eventually into the Taji cove. The Japanese laws allowing this 47 year old barbaric method of hunting dolphins and whales can not legally not supersede the international laws protecting them. The international community must not lack the will to stop this practice.

A simple review of the money trail reveals the motive of the dolphin and whale hunt in Taji. The motive is not tradition, it is greed. Ric O'Barry, former dolphin trainer and documentarian said in that same interview, "while many of the dolphins were killed and sold for meat, the most attractive specimens were (are) rounded up during the drive hunting were (are) taken alive and sold to aquariums for sums in excess of $100,000 an animal. These captures were the real "economic underpinning" of the annual hunt." "You'd get $400-500 for a dead dolphin's meat, but there's a lot of money for a live one, and that's what keeps this thing going," he goes on to say about the practice.

Besides, the young, beautiful and more suitable ones selected for human entertainment and for private companies to make money that way, are forced to be with their families while they are killed in this netted pen area inside the cove in Taji.

About 700 to 1,000 dolphins are killed every year during seasons, and about 150 to 200 are taken into captivity every year and during every season.

Those numbers are down from 2010 and 2011 when 2,252 dolphins were caught by Taiji's hunters and when 302 were sold to marine parks (according to Ceta-Base). During those years back in 2010 and in 2011, 177 Dolphins were exported which if you use easy math, 125 dolphins (41%), were sold in Japan.

The true motivation for it is greed. Everyone can do that math rather easily because since the practice begun back in the late 1960's, more money is made by using these animals for the sake of human entertainment. They are stealing these animals as a way to make a lot of money. Just like people have done with their human slaves. It shifted from humans to animals.

Several Japanese zoos and aquariums voted this year to stop buying and selling dolphins taken during the notorious Taiji hunt. However, it does not seem to be letting up at all this year. The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums has banned the buying and selling of dolphins with the animals taken from the annual hunt off the coast in Taji. The organization that oversees 37 Japanese marine parks, voted for the measure this year after a threat of being cast out from the organization by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums opposes what are considered to be drive hunts, in which these animals are driven into a confined space to be killed or to be carted off to a place to perform for human entertainment

The ban happens to be what is considered "a big step because it's a statement from within the industry," says Courtney Vail, campaign and programs manager at the United Kingdom-based group Whale and Dolphin Conservation. But Vail also said in that interview that she highly doubts that the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums step actually would put an end to the annual hunting season. "I do believe that the drive hunts will not end until the overall ethic towards whales and dolphins that permeates Japan's political and social culture evolves," she says.

That ban should affect dolphinariums that have depended on the hunting season in Taiji as its "a quick and easy source of the marine mammals." According to the 2013 Elsa Nature Conservancy survey, about 600 dolphins live in 54 marine parks in Japan, 37 of which are members of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Japanese association's secretary-general, Naonori Okada, has said that the group's members keep upward of 250 dolphins, and that Japanese aquariums have purchased an average of 20 Taiji dolphins a year. Export data indicates that Japanese marine parks have been more reliant on Taiji dolphins than the reported 250.

According to Japan Times survey, five members of the Japanese association say that they will quit the organization as its way to continue buy dolphins caught off the coast in Taiji. Another two entities also say that they could feasibly quit too, leaving 16 companies in it that state that they will remain members.

What I am seeing happen more often today is also what I call to be 'smoke and mirrors' because let us take SeaWorld for example. They state now that they will not use any more animals caught or captured, however, they merely breed the ones already in captivity. Some are used as breeding machines.

The town of Taji has considered tying off a section in the cove used to snag these dolphins to create a breeding center.

Being bred to die or bred to entertain for humans while being in captivity is no answer to this problem.

"We will have a small team on the ground [in Taiji] for the [season]," again this year says Ric O'Barry. "This year we have to pay attention to who is capturing dolphins. The main dealer is the Taiji Whale Museum, and they are a member of JAZA." I must assume Ric means who is buying them from the people capturing them but the people at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation are also paying serious attention to how the World Association Of Zoos and Aquariums and how the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums respond to how these animals are actually purchased and gotten outside of Taiji.

The overall issue is the demand (or lack there of) to view Dolphins and all animals in live performances for human entertainment. The problem is that it is like a 'whack a mole' game in the sense that maybe its being reduced a bit in America, however, in places like Russia and in Abu Dabi, are the new markets. For instance, the CFO at Sea World was fired this year and the new one makes no bones about creating revenues in International markets. We now have to depend on the people in those countries to get that uncomfortable feeling (like I get) when they see an animal swimming in a pool the size of the one in our back yards or when they see one in a cage the size of our bedroom. But that is where the money is at for the hunters in Taji, Japan.

This video shows “Misty”, a dolphin kept at the Dolphin Base dolphinarium in Taiji. Misty is easily identified by his only toy, a yellow fishing buoy he carries constantly in his mouth. Misty sometimes plays with his buoy, but usually floats lifelessly in his tiny and overcrowded tank. Video length = 00:44
There has to be a global effort to not use these animals and wildlife as a way for its companies to make money.

Like I said many times here, it is modern day slavery. It is slavery but with animals. And, that we have shifted from enslaving humans in this same exact way, to animals. (Jodi Block Paisner contributed to this article).

Song ('The Sea') by Richtaste is Produced by Pat Aeby (Krokus, etc.), Music Video
Produced by Don Lichterman c/o Sunset Pictures Music Videos

Thanks especially to the tireless and what is endless work of the people that are trying to stop all Dolphin Hunting and Capturing in every way, and thanks to any participants who please, if you want to be credited in any way, contact us now at We will do it that minute. 

Also, this video is monetized in some way (ad shares, amounts of plays, amounts of views, etc.) and therefore any and I mean 100% of all revenues made from it, will go to the Oceanic Preservation Society (makers of the COVE) and to the Dolphin Project. As a matter of fact, we have set up an automated monthly payment which I am matching BTW, every month. Thanks for the help and for your participation in stopping all wildlife crime. Your tax-deductible donation helps the Oceanic Preservation Society often receives requests from supporters of our organization inquiring about their ability to raise money for OPS. Past request have included charitable fundraising programs by students, individuals doing charity walks or hikes, or individuals who were moved by our work and who just want to help us raise funds. Such independent fundraising activities are possible and greatly appreciated. The following is background information on OPS and how that independent fundraising should be conducted:

• Oceanic Preservation Society is a registered 501(c)(3) Public Charity, Tax ID 38-3891081
• Donations from individuals in the form of cash or check can be tax deductible to the donor as a charitable income tax deduction;
• Donations in the form of checks is preferable to donations in cash;
• If a fundraiser is soliciting funding, then any checks should be written to Oceanic Preservation Society, rather than to the fundraiser;
• The fundraiser should provide OPS with the name and address of each donor so that OPS can provide each donor with a letter acknowledging the donation for income tax purposes; and
• The fundraiser should indicate that he or she is merely selecting OPS as his or her charity of choice for his or her fundraising activities and that the fundraiser is not officially associated with OPS. 

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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Taiji Dolphin Slaughter (the following list was compiled by Alexandra Piotrowski at RYOT)

If you’re at all interested in the dolphin slaughter, you need to know these ten facts about it:

Proponents of the practice are quick to call it a “cultural tradition,” but the practice of en masse dolphin killing truly started when the motorboat engine was invented and adopted into the mainstream. “This is like one generation, and that’s not ‘traditional,'” says Lincoln O’Barry of the Dolphin Project. “[The Japanese] could go kill with traditional whaling and go in big 20 man canoes and paddle out and kill a whale, but they’d never slaughter 100s of dolphins before.”

The Soloman Islands are one of few remaining indigenous and tribal areas on Earth, and they used to hunt dolphins for food and cultural reasons. When O’Barry visited them, they were using dolphin teeth as currency. After several months of living with the native people, O’Barry was able to educate them about dolphin conservation enough for them to alter their practices. “They stopped after a thousand years of tradition. It shows people can change.”

Taiji’s fishing industry isn’t entire contingent on the relative success of the dolphin slaughter. Stopping the slaughter would put “50 people out of business,” says O’Barry. While 50 out of 300 is still a considerable percentage, those 50 happen to be the richest people in the small town who make most of their profits specifically from the slaughter. “There are 300 other fishermen in Taiji that fish for other things, not dolphins.”

A dead dolphin… is worth about $500 in meat. A wild dolphin,” like those captured in Taiji during the slaughter, “to keep in an aquarium alive can be worth over $130,000.”

Many Japanese citizens aren’t informed of the practice, motivation and effects of the dolphin slaughter — not even the people in Taiji. “We printed copies of The Cove in Japanese, and actually put them in every mail slot in every house in Taiji,” O’Barry says of Dolphin Project’s on-the-ground efforts to change this horrific practice. “I would personally relate the numbers of slaughtered dolphins dropping to this.”

Aside from a small group that profits immensely from the practice, most Japanese people don’t benefit at all from it. “No one in Japan mentions the word ‘mercury,'” laments O’Barry. Dolphin meat has some of the highest concentrations of the element, and consuming it can lead to severe neurological problems, from migraines to impaired motor skills.

2013 was the first year there was a Japanese activist standing up in protest at the cove. “This is about identifying and showing that it’s not all Japanese people,” says Lincoln. “There was a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment during the big whaling movement in the 1970s. All that really accomplished was that Japanese-American kids would get beat up on the playground. You can’t boycott a race of people just because of what a handful of people are doing in Taiji. That’s insane.”

In 2009, 2,500 dolphins were slaughtered. In 2010, 2,000. In 2012, only 800 were killed. That’s still 800 too many, but it proves that change can happen when passionate people take action.

Getting mad doesn’t solve anything, and blaming a group of people doesn’t help either. The methods that have worked over the years and reduced the number of murdered dolphins are education and communication. O’Barry tells a powerful story about a Taiji dolphin hunter he knew: “There was a 3rd generation dolphin hunter that one day had a moment of epiphany that he couldn’t do it anymore. He’s now converted his dolphin hunting boat into a dolphin watching boat.”

From signing petitions to sharing the facts on social media, there is a lot that you can do to help change this situation. The strongest weapon you have is your voice — use it to speak out against this atrocity and inspire change.

Footage courtesy of "The Cove",, Martyn Stewart, Whale Dolphin Conservation and