Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Weeks of Torture in Taiji

I've been away from Blogger for the past couple weeks but the brutality in Taiji has continued in full force.

For those of you who are not familiar with the horror in Taiji, I try to report on the brutal slaughter and capture of dolphins in the hidden cove of Japan.  This hunt started in September and continues through March.  The "fisherman" herd pods of dolphins into the cove by banging on the sides of their boats with long, metal pipes.  The dolphins are drawn closer to shore where they are netted into a small area.  Scared, hungry and often injured they are sometimes left for days.  Other times they are immediately killed or the young or "pretty" ones are picked for marine parks around the world, sold for up to $150,000 each.  Meat is sold for human consumption.  

The past two weeks have been the most brutal since the season started.  

On Thursday, the 17th, a pod of 6 Risso dolphins were slaughtered quickly followed by 16 Striped dolphins.
The next day, 58-60 Striped dolphins were killed.

Sunday the 20th, 38 bottlenosed dolphins were driven into the cove.  13 were chosen for captivity, 1 drowned in the nets, and 24 were killed.
Monday 54-56 Pantropical spotted dolphins were driven in the cove.  24 were chosen for captivity, 2 others died of stress during the captivity captures and another became injured and was added to the remainder of the pod, all killed.
Tuesday, heavy rains brought reprieve for the dolphins while Taiji Action Day for Dolphins was celebrated.
Wednesday the hunt continued with 28-30 Pantropical Spotted dolphin were driven into the cove.  Fifteen were chosen for captivity to live in Taiji Whale Museum, Dolphin Base and Dolphin Resort Hotel.  All others were killed.
Thursday there were 30 Risso dolphins brought in.  One juvenile was chosen for captivity while he watched his family be slaughtered.  Friday, 14 more Rissos were skilled.
Saturday was another calm day before Sunday when 56-58 Risso dolphins were driven into the cove.  Twenty-six were slaughtered while the others were released back to sea 2 hours later.  By then, after watching the others killed and being netted in tight quarters, it is unlikely that they survived.
Thankfully this week there has not been any more killing or capture.

This was by far the worst couple weeks of the hunt, breaking records of previous years.
In just 2 weeks, 75 Rissos, 40-44 Pantropic Spotted, 74-76 Striped and 24 Bottlenosed killed.
2 Rissos, 39 Pantropic Spotted, and 13 Bottlenosed were taken for captivity
3 Pantropic Spotted and 1 Bottlenosed died of stress or drowning.

Grand total is 217-233 dead dolphins and 54 taken for a life in a concrete tank in 2 weeks!

Please consider signing these petitions for both the slaughter and for anti-captivity of these animals if you haven't already.




Please consider taking a few minutes to sign.

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  I've also recently broken down and joined Twitter.  You can follow Here.  There are more frequent updates about Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

This Week in Taiji

The dolphin hunt in Taiji rages on...

Last Wednesday, 14 Risso dolphins were herded into the Cove in Taiji.  Two juveniles were taken for captivity to Dolphin Resort and Taiji Whale Museum.  The other 12 were slaughtered for human consumption.   The meat was quickly sold at the Taiji Fisherman's Union and sold to local buyers.  Apparently they don't have enough Mercury poisoning in their diets yet.

Thursday 20-21 more Risso dolphins were brought in.  Once again, two were taken for captivity while the others were slaughtered.  

On Saturday 32-34 Striped dolphins were slaughtered in the cove, one run over by a skiff as it tried to escape.  

Yesterday morning the "fisherman" wasted no time.  My 7:30am they were already in formation driving a pod of Risso dolphins to the shore.  The entire family had been slaughtered.

As if it's not bad enough that these animals are captured and killed, the suffering they endure in the process is unbearable and not even close to humane.

Here are more petitions for both the slaughter and for anti-captivity of these animals.




Please consider taking a few minutes to sign.

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  There are more frequent updates about Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Canada Orcas in Peril

You might have heard about the Orcas who were trapped in ice in Canada last week.  The story first broke when a video was captured by Clement Rousseau and posted all over social media.  Rousseau is a teacher from Inukjuak, Quebec, the small fishing village where the orcas were trapped.  The video went viral in both Canada and the US as advocates posted and shared to gain attention and assistance from the Canadian government.

There were anywhere from a dozen to 20 orca in this pod, all left with a pick-up truck sized hole to breathe for two days.  According to David Kirby, author of Death at SeaWorld, the whales usually are not in the bay at this time of year.  He says that climate change has changed the sea ice patterns this year.  The waters were still warm enough for the orcas to travel into the bay at Christmas, then a sudden drop in temperature caused the predicament for them.

In case you missed it, here's a clip that was shown on the Today Show.

By Thursday morning, the wind patterns had changed and the whales were gone.  While the media took this as good news, the experts were (and still are) skeptical.  There was 2 flights over the Hudson Bay on Thursday to try to identify the whales but they were nowhere to be found.  The flights showed that much of the bay is still covered in ice.  It will still be difficult, if not impossible, for these whales to survive.

Since orcas are matriarchal mammals, it is thought that the grandmother of the pod was able to identify an opening and lead them out into open waters.  Hopefully the fact that they haven't been seen is a good sign that they are well on their way out of the bay.  They are capable of traveling over 100 miles per day when in open waters.

This story has been compared to the true story that was retold in the movie Big Miracle.

In Big Miracle, the whales were trapped off of Alaska and were ultimately rescued by a Russian ship in the 80s.  President Reagan requested assistance from the Russian government to work together to free the whales.  The Canadian government stepped up to do what was necessary to free these orcas as well.  

What do you think about governments getting involved in rescuing these animals?  Is it just good PR for them or something more?  Does this situation prove global warming?

Some feel that it is best to let nature take its course.  My personal opinion mimics that of David Kirby.  Would you let nature take it's course if you were diagnosed with cancer or some other curable disease?

Don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate Facebook page.  There are more frequent updates on stories like this, Taiji, Sea Shepherd and other marine mammal happenings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Update on stranded pilot whales in FL

Back in September I wrote about a pod of pilot whales stranded on the coast of Florida on my other blog.  You can find the posts HERE and HERE.  Of the pod, only 4 survived - one male and 3 females.  They were taken to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation.

On Tuesday, it was announced in a press release from SeaWorld that the rehabilitated whales will not be released back to the wild because they were dependent calves at the time of rescue.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is ultimately responsible for the decision and agreed that the animals were not able to be released.  They will join another previously rescued, non-releasable female, Freddi.
You can find the story HERE

This is not a surprising decision, but it is a controversial one.  It seems that SeaWorld knew exactly what they were doing from the beginning.  Many of the adult stranded whales at the time were euthanized.  The early reports also only mentioned one juvenile out of the group that were rescued.  SeaWorld is known for their husbandry efforts and with another captive female in their collection, this appears to be the perfect set-up.

Could it be that SeaWorld didn't want to deal with the older whales and that is why they were euthanized?  Were the juveniles purposely rescued so they could end up in SeaWorld's collection?
Do you think this is SeaWorld coming to the rescue or benefiting themselves from a bad situation?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Baaack with a Taiji Update

Picture taken from I Love Dolphins facebook page

WOW!  It's been a while since I've been here but it's good to be back.  So, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your enemies, share, share, share!
And don't forget to "Like" my Ocean Advocate facebook page
There is a lot to catch up on so I'm hoping to keep the posts coming.

Today I wanted to catch up on the news in Taiji.  The last time I posted about Taiji was late November so here is what's been going on since then...

November 28 there were 7 Risso dolphins killed in the cove
December 2 was a horrific day in the cove!  Sixteen bottlenose dolphins were captured.  Seven were killed and 9 were taken live-capture for various aquariums
Also that day, there were 12 short-finned pilot whales killed
On December 7, 12 Risso dolphins were killed
Fourteen to Fifteen Risso dolphins were killed on December 9.
On December 11, 55-65 Striped dolphins were captured.  One was held captive and the others were killed
12/12 was another devastating day in the cove.  200 bottlenose dolphins were captured.  25 were killed, 101 held captive and 74 were released.
December 20 brought the death of 25-30 more Striped dolphin and December 23 there were 5 more killed.

So far in 2013, there were 14 white-sided dolphins (pictured above) captured for captivity.  One of these died.

In total since the beginning of the season in September...
399 animals have died (33 bottlenose, 1 Pacific white-sided, 102 Risso, 141 Pilot whales, and 122 Striped)
159 have been held captive (132 bottlenose, 14 Pacific white-sided, 9 Risso, 2 Pilot whales and 2 Striped)
286 have been released (134 bottlenose, 4 Risso, 148 Pilot whales)

Although so many have been released, many of them have been discovered dead near the cove due to the stress of the capture.  Several of these have also been juveniles who cannot survive on their own.  The reason for many of them released is that they are too small, but that doesn't mean that the hunters are doing any favors.  These animals released don't count against their quota.