2017-2018

Taiji Drive Figures 

2017/2018 quota for the drive fishery in Taiji has added two new species to the list – rough-toothed dolphins & melon-headed whales.

The 2017/2018 quota by species is:
101 short-finned pilot whales
450 striped dolphins
414 bottlenose dolphins
251 Risso’s dolphins
400 Pantropical spotted dolphins
070 false killer whales
134 Pacific white-sided dolphins
027 rough-toothed dolphins
300 melon-headed whales

1 Dec 2017: Japanese Fisheries Agencies issued an updated quota, increasing the allowed take for rough-toothed dolphins – 27 (increased from 20) and melon-headed whales – 200 (increased from 100)
27 Dec 2017: Japanese Fisheries Agency again increases quota for melon-headed whales (+ 100).
04 January 2018 – Short-finned pilot whales from 101 to 132 (+ 31).

All information has been collated by Ceta Base. Reports from Dolphin Project

September

1-2 – BLUE
3 – 34 Pilot whales, driven into the cove after a 6 hour battle at sea. This nursery pod is filled with young pilot whales whose fate will be determined at sunrise.
4 – 10 pilot whales have been slaughtered and three juveniles have been taken for captivity. The remaining pilot whales will be kept for a second night. Exhausted and terrified, missing 13 pod members. Their fate will be determined tomorrow morning.
5 – Twenty adults were killed, with one younger dolphin succumbing to injuries, for a total of 21 documented deaths. Trainers, while claiming to love and care for dolphins, worked alongside the hunters, selecting desired animals for “life” in captivity while others were slaughtered. Three young pilots were taken during the captive selection process. The remaining juvenile pilots, approximately 20 in total, were eventually pushed out to open water. Pilot whales are comprised of a matriarchal society, complete with their own cultures and traditions. With no adults or “pilot” to guide them, their chances of survival are minimal at best.
Read – PILOT WHALE POD DECIMATED IN TAIJI’S DOLPHIN HUNTS
6-20 – BLUE
21 – After 15 consecutive Blue Cove days, a small pod of Risso’s dolphins was forced into the killing Cove.  One dolphin was declared suitable for captivity and taken away in a sling, on the side of a skiff. The others were left to be slaughtered. A struggle ensued as the dolphins tried to escape, only to be caught in the nets and pulled back to the killing area. The hunters quickly extinguished their lives.
Read – MIGRATING FAMILY OF RISSO’S DOLPHINS SLAUGHTERED IN THE COVE
22 -26 – BLUE
27 – Approximately 35 pilot whales pushed into the cove await their fate.
29 – After a day of terror, the ordeal ends for the pilot whales.  10 pilot whales were slaughtered and one young pilot whale died from the stress. 24 pilot whales were then released back to the ocean. These pilot whales endured unspeakable suffering. We can only hope that those pilot whales released will survive and never swim by the coast of Taiji again.
Read – TERROR IN THE COVE AS PILOT WHALES SLAUGHTERED
30 – BLUE

October

1-9 – Blue
10 – An unfortunate family pod of 6 Risso’s dolphins were swimming along the coast of Taiji at the wrong time today. Intercepted by the dolphin hunters and forced into the Cove after a long struggle. The dolphins were then manhandled and pushed under the tarps where trainers and hunters worked side by side determining each dolphin’s fate. Four were slaughtered, their suffering is over and two were taken for captivity. For those two, the suffering is just beginning.
11 – 38 rough-toothed dolphins were driven into The Cove, a lone pilot whale amongst them. A small number of rough-toothed were slaughtered, 9 were taken for captivity and the rest were released. In a second drive, 14 Risso’s dolphins were driven in, 11 were slaughtered, and 3 were released (including 2 young calves). The pilot whale was also released.
Read: MULTIPLE SPECIES OF DOLPHINS DECIMATED IN THE COVE
12-31 – Blue

November

1 – Blue* – Read – MISTAKEN IDENTITY: DOLPHINS FREED ON HUNTER ERROR
2- Bottlenose dolphins trapped in the cove & held overnight.
3 – A family pod of Bottlenose dolphins was torn apart today. PANIC IN THE COVE AS DOLPHINS FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
4-9 – Blue
10 – Read – FIRST MELON-HEADED WHALES HUNTED IN TAIJI
11-12 – Blue
13 – A day full of heartbreak as 30 melon headed whales were driven into the Cove. No captive selection today. 18 were slaughtered in a very brutal process. 12 were separated from those to be slaughtered but tried desperately to get back to their family. The lifeless bodies were then dragged past the remaining dolphins. Those who were not slaughtered were battered and some were bleeding. Carelessly run over by skiff engines, thrashing on rocks in panic. Throughout the ordeal, from start to finish, these dolphins were right by each other’s sides. The surviving dolphins were forced back out to sea, missing a large part of their family.
Read: NOT TRADITION, NOR CULTURE – JUST CRUELTY
14-19 – Blue
20 – Melon headed whales were driven into the Cove today. Many of the pod escaped during the drive but 36 unfortunate souls were netted in and their fate sealed. As the dolphins were pushed towards the killing area, panic ensued and many got tangled in the nets where they were left to struggle for life until divers untangled them. 20 melon headed whales were slaughtered, their lifeless bodies dragged right past the remaining pod members. Brutalized, traumatized, terrified and exhausted, the remaining pod members, including several young calves, were driven back out to sea. Hopefully, reunited with the rest of their pod members and strong enough to survive this ordeal although missing 20 family members.
21-23 – Blue
24 – A family of melon headed whales was quickly found this morning off the coast of Taiji and driven into the Cove. The entire family was slaughtered and Cove Monitors witnessed the bodies of the 23 melon heads being dragged out from under the tarps by the skiffs. The skiffs drove over the bodies that were attached to them by ropes as they left the Cove headed for the butcher house. These melon headed whales swam closely together as they spent their last few moments as a family.
25 – The banger boats left at sunrise this morning to hunt for dolphins and quickly found a mixed pod of about 26 individuals. The pod consisted of rough tooth and bottlenose dolphins. These dolphins were clearly stressed and agitated and could be seen slapping their tails and jumping out of the water. There were young calves within this group as well. Cove Monitors witnessed hunters in dive suits grabbing dolphins by their bloody and injured rostrums. The dolphin trainers from the local Taiji captivity facilities were on the shore as well as they chose the ones that would be taken for a life in captivity. Both hunters and trainers could be heard laughing together on the beach and in the boats as they took 10 dolphins away for a life in captivity. The rest of the pod was driven back out to sea by the banger boats but they were reluctant to leave their family members behind. The captivity industry is the driving force behind these annual hunts and today 10 new dolphins were taken away from their family because of it.
26-30 – BLUE

December

1-2 – BLUE
3 – Within an hour of leaving the harbor the banger boats had found a pod of rough toothed dolphins. They worked quickly to drive the family closer to Taiji using that ominous wall of sound. The pod fought hard and tried to slip away a couple of times but the hunters were quick to corral them back. This family of rough toothed dolphins had approximately 30 members and 8 were taken for a life of captivity. The hunters fumbled with nets as dolphins got caught several times and it took them nearly 4 hours to take the 8 dolphins into captivity. There were juveniles trying desperately to stay by their mother’s side and the entire family was visibly stressed by this drive and capture process. Cove Monitors could see and hear dolphins slapping their bodies and tails into the water as members of their family were taken away by the divers. The quota for rough toothed dolphins in Taiji is 20 and it appears the hunters went beyond this number.
4 – BLUE
5 – Read: TAIJI’S ASSAULT ON MELON-HEADED WHALES
6 – BLUE
7 – Read: THE COVE RUNS RED AS STRIPED DOLPHINS SLAUGHTERED
8-14 – BLUE
15 – 15 striped dolphins who were swimming wild and free were brutally murdered, now to be sold as meat for human consumption. Read: AN ATTACK ON THE SENSES
16-18 – BLUE
19 – There was devastation at the Cove this morning, as the sixth pod of Melon-headed whales this season was torn apart. It was a very fast drive, and when the hunters had netted the Melon-headed whales into the Cove, these docile beings huddled together in complete shock and confusion. A few of the whales become entangled in the nets, panicking and battling for freedom, bleeding from their rostrums, whilst young juveniles clung closely to their parents. Soon after being forced under the tarps, a skiff emerged with 3 live juveniles struggling incessantly under a tarp, a hunter sat on top of them, pinning them down. They were dumped at sea to fend for themselves, so they wouldn’t be counted as part of the fisheries quota. Meanwhile, a lot of heavy breathing and thrashing was heard from the killing beach, as the rest of the family was brutally slaughtered. Their dead bodies were then tied to skiffs and dragged out of the Cove, often appearing from under the tarp that was attempting to conceal them, then transferred to banger boats to be transported to the butcher house. Due to the drive fisheries recent increase in quota from 100 Melon-headed whales to 200, the hunters had authorization to massacre these 27 individuals who were unfortunately migrating past Taiji today. The juveniles who were dumped at sea are not included in this number, but they may also have little chance of surviving, now they’re without the care and guidance from their mothers and relatives. 
20-31 – BLUE

January

1-4 – BLUE
5 – On the first hunt of 2018, a pod of melon-headed whales was driven into the Cove. Initially, the pod was very large, Cove Monitors witnessed the vast majority swimming frantically away to open ocean, but thick black smoke still billowed from the banger boats who were chasing after the remaining dolphins. The pod fought hard and tried several times to escape, but it only made the hunters rev their engines louder and drive them in more forcefully. Once they had been netted in, the dolphins clung together tightly, swimming in circles, in their last living moments as a family. Skiffs then aggressively pushed them under the tarps to their deaths. Cove Monitors witnessed one panicked individual trying to evade the killers before a diver then launched himself at him, tied a rope around his tail, and dragged him back to the killing beach to be slaughtered. There was lots of loud thrashing, before three skiff emerged dragging along dead bodies of the dolphins who were swimming wild and free just hours ago. This was the seventh pod of melon-headed whales to be driven in this season, and all 16 of them lost their lives today.
6 – BLUE
7 – Cove Monitors were concerned this morning when no other banger boats followed the three that first returned to the harbor. Sure enough, a formation soon emerged from the South, thick puffs of black smoke hovering above the boats. It took them a while to drive the pod all the way to the mouth of the Cove. By which point, we could tell that the dolphins were completely exhausted from being chased so far by how slowly they were swimming. They used all their strength to keep going, but were shoved under the tarps very quickly. As the thrashing began, some stray dolphins swam around erratically. One individual got caught in the nets in a panic, until a diver tied a rope around its tail and handed it to a hunter on a skiff. The dolphin continued to struggle desperately as it was then dragged under the tarps to its death. Skiffs left the Cove shortly stacked with dead bodies covered with tarps. Another pod of Striped dolphins was decimated today, a total of 21 dolphins were slaughtered. Now to be butchered into slabs of meat for human consumption.
8-11 – BLUE
12 – A family of Risso’s dolphins was destroyed in the Cove today. Banger boats congregated in the East and started driving the pod towards Taiji at 8:15am. Soon after that, the pod somehow split into two groups, so the banger boats split too and pursued both sections of the pod. The first part of the pod appeared to be younger by their darker color. When they were netted in the Cove, they swam around frantically, one of them become increasingly distressed slapping the surface of the water with its tail as it became entangled in the nets. The second part of the pod were then chased in and the family were reunited, little did they know it would only be for a short while. The whole pod swam around in circles in panic, led by their older leader of the pod, looking for a way out. Then, the trainers arrived. Cove Monitors witnessed divers launch onto a dolphin, manhandling it as it struggled, then pass it over to the hunters who trapped it in a net and took it under the tarps to be transferred for a life in captivity. The rest of the pod were shortly driven under the tarps and the loud thrashing began. At least one dolphin was alive witnessing their whole family be murdered, but in fact 6 Risso’s dolphins were being put in slings ready for captivity whilst the slaughter was occurring. Two skiffs emerged from under the tarps with 6 live dolphins alongside trainers who stole them from their homes in the ocean to incarcerate them in tiny sea pens. Two more skiffs then left, but this time, with dead dolphins. A total of 10 were slaughtered today, in addition to the 6 dolphins that were selected for captivity.
13-15 – BLUE
16 – A pod of 24 Striped dolphins were slaughtered for their meat this morning. After an extremely long drive, everything happened very quickly once they were netted in the Cove. The thrashing began almost instantly. Cove Monitors witnessed dolphins panic as one became entangled in a net and driven over by a skiff, and another dragged under the tarps by a rope tied around its tail. The thrashing got louder and louder. It was unbearable to listen to the dolphins struggle as they drowned in their own – and their family’s – blood. The water crimsoned and began to seep out from underneath the tarps. Eventually, the thrashing subsided and was replaced by the sound of throwing dead bodies onto the skiffs. Through a gap in the tarps, Cove Monitors saw the face of a dead dolphin lying lifeless on a pile of bodies. Once swimming wild and free, now to be butchered for human consumption.

18 – It was an extremely traumatic day for dolphins in Taiji today. Two species – two families – were harassed and massacred. Firstly, a pod of Striped dolphins, including a calf. After putting up a tough fight during the drive, these dolphins, in exhaustion, finally succumbed to the hunters pursuits and were forced into the Cove. Even once netted in, the hunters continued to throw lead weights at the pod and imitate the banging sound of the banging boats to further threaten them. The family huddled close together, the calf never leaving its mother’s side, before the hunters chased them under the tarps by aggressively revving the engines of their skiffs at them. Cove Monitors witnessed a few dolphins throwing themselves at the rocks in a panic, meanwhile divers were grabbing at others and tying ropes around their tails to hand over to the hunters who would then drag them to their deaths. The distressing sound of thrashing began and continued for several minutes, followed by the sinister sound of bodies being thrown onto a skiff, before it then left the Cove covered in tarps. A total of 15 Striped dolphins were slaughtered today, including the calf. But the hunters weren’t finished yet.

As the first pod were being driven closer to the mouth of the Cove, Cove Monitors had noticed a second group of boats in formation driving from the South. They were charging after a small pod of Risso’s dolphins, who were also putting up a strong fight, as the banger boats circled behind them several times as the pod made efforts to escape. Like the Striped pod, as they were netted into the Cove, these dolphins had weakened, swimming much more slowly than before. And again, the banging continued, but this time because one determined dolphin had escaped and tried to make a getaway. The hunters greedily persisted and managed to trap the individual in with the rest of his family, and then pushed all of them together under the tarps to be slaughtered. One individual got caught in the nets, at the same time as a diver wrestled with its tail in attempt to tie a rope around it. The dolphin managed to free itself and kick away the diver, but unfortunately swam in the direction of the beach, where he was then killed. A total of 6 Risso’s dolphins were murdered, in addition to the 15 Striped dolphins that had been decimated earlier that morning,

A transfer of 6 dolphins also took place.

19-20 – BLUE
21 – The sixth  Striped dolphin pod were driven into the Cove and slaughtered.  As the banger boats drove the pod in closer, the dolphins became more and more determined to try and flee from the hunters, resulting in the pod splitting into two. One half of the pod successfully broke free, swimming out to open ocean at full speed! However, the other half weren’t so fortunate. The banger boats remorselessly hunted them down, revving their engines, black smoke billowing behind them. They netted the dolphins into the Cove fairly quickly, although unbeknownst to the hunters, a couple of stragglers swam outside the nets, helplessly watching their trapped family members. As the hunters lifted the nets to push the few outsiders in, they started swimming as fast as they could out of the Cove. Two skiffs charged after them, but returned empty handed. Another few dolphins had escaped. Unfortunately, the others’ fate was sealed. Shortly after being pushed under the tarps, the thrashing began and the water started to cloud with blood. 16 Striped dolphins were stolen from the ocean and brutally slaughtered.
22 – A family of Risso’s dolphins was slaughtered in the Cove this morning. Everything happened extremely fast – the banger boats hadn’t even been hunting for an hour before they came across this pod. The Risso’s weren’t giving in easily though. They made several attempts to escape and swim away, but the hunters were relentless and charged after the pod every time. When they were netted into the Cove, it was clear that there were some younger pod members due to the lack of white scaring from feeding on squid on their darker coloured bodies. The pod swam tightly in circles and tail slapped the surface in panic as the skiffs revved their engines to drive them under the tarps. The docile dolphins reluctantly succumbed and all 12 of them lost their lives in the Cove today.
23 – BLUE
24 – The seventh pod of Striped dolphins this season was driven into the Cove and slaughtered. It was a very quick drive – Cove Monitors saw the formation within 45 minutes of the boats leaving the harbor. The white splashing  indicated that this was a bigger pod, and as they got closer they could be seen porpoising and jumping out of the water frantically as they were being chased. A portion of the pod were able to escape, but the banging from the banger poles and the lead weights thrown from the skiffs forced the other dolphins closer to their deaths. This Striped family huddled together as they were netted in the Cove and panicked as they were separated into groups. Individuals were tied to skiffs by their tails and dragged under the tarps to be killed. As the dolphins thrashed, blood seeped into the sea. Skiffs shortly left the Cove with hunters sat across the bodies covered with tarps. One dolphins lifeless rostrum peered out from underneath. A total of 34 Striped dolphins were slaughtered today, now to be reduced to slabs of meat.
25 – A small pod of 6 Risso’s dolphins was driven into the Cove and slaughtered this morning. Despite the small number of dolphins, all 12 banger boats congregated to drive this pod in, but it seems they were trying to get their work over with – a Japanese-speaking Cove Monitors heard a hunter say, “let’s do it quickly”. Risso’s dolphins are docile beings, and in this shallow, alien environment, they were swiftly pushed under the tarps once netted in to the Cove. There wasn’t even any loud thrashing, although we did hear one Risso thrash against the side of a skiff as it had mostly likely been tied up by its tail. Only minutes later, a skiff appeared from under the tarps dragging along all 6 bodies. A hunter then threw a tarp over them and sat across it in attempt to conceal the bodies, but they couldn’t avoid revealing their lifeless bodies as they were transferred to a banger boat.
26 -29 – BLUE
30 – A pod of 51 Striped dolphins was brutally murdered. The level of cruelty that was inflicted on these animals was unimaginable. Many dolphins threw themselves at the rocks in panic, cutting their skin and bleeding out in the process, before divers came and tied ropes around their tails and handed them over to the skiffs. Hunters then dragged the still-living dolphins under the tarps to their deaths as they struggled and thrashed against the boat. One diver found a dead dolphin wrapped in the nets, its lifeless body was then also dragged by its tail under the tarps, another individual,  was trapped between the net and the rocks in the blood of its dead pod members, took its last breath and floated upside down. Each of these dolphins was tortured, harassed, and mutilated before finally being massacred in front of their whole family. The slaughter lasted at least an hour, and the Cove was stained bright red. There are no words to describe the devastation that occurred here today.
31 – BLUE

February

1 – A pod of 17 Risso’s dolphins, including one calf, was slaughtered in the Cove. This pod was driven in two separate groups. The first half arrived at the Cove quite a while before the second, but the hunters waited for all of them to be netted in before they started slaughtering. The dolphins swam frantically in circles, awaiting their fate. By the time the second part of the panicked pod arrived,  the first group had tired from circling endlessly in confusion. Due to the gentle nature of Risso’s dolphins, both sections of the pod were forced under the tarps to their deaths very quickly. One dolphin, however, tried his best to avoid the hunters and swam towards the ocean, but found himself trapped in a net. Shortly a rope was tied around his tail, and he was dragged back to the killing beach. We heard loud thrashing from their struggle, and one dolphin cried out piercingly. Three skiffs then left the Cove, dragging the dead bodies alongside them, a few of them appearing from under the tarps. All of the family’s lives were lost today, including the calf. 

2 – Cove Monitors were shocked as the waves were so choppy – when the 5 banger boats that were heading back to the harbour turned around towards the open ocean, for a small pod of just 8 individuals. Even though the pod were driven towards Taiji fairly quickly, the dolphins put up a strong fight and tried to escape from the hunters several times.  The pod clung closely, swimming and splashing in circles, looking for a way out, but they were just pushed in further and further by the engines of the skiffs. The hunters strung across a third net to force them towards the killing beach, and one individual became entangled in it. The hunters aggressively grabbed the dolphin by its tail, tied a rope around it, and dragged it under the tarps. There was a fair amount of thrashing from the dolphins as they continued to struggle. A skiff left shortly with the dead bodies of all 8 Risso’s dolphins, and transferred them to a banger boat to be taken back to the butcher house, one dolphin’s lifeless face bobbing out of the water. Another Risso’s family destroyed.
3 – BLUE
4 – 3 Bottlenose taken captive and 17 Risso’s Dolphins slaughtered for their meat. Today there were three separate drives, thankfully one got away.
5 – 6 Risso’s were slaughtered, while two juvenile Risso’s got dumped at sea. The juveniles  followed the skiff back to the cove. Hunters spent the last 2 hours with no luck trying to find them and drive them back to sea. They are likely going to fall prey or starve without the support of their now slaughtered family.
6 – The madness continues for Risso’s Dolphins trying to migrate past Taiji Japan. 6 more slaughtered and 2 juveniles taken captive for a life of tricks for food to entertain us.
7 – BLUE
8 – 36 Striped dolphins were slaughtered. Adding to the quota of 450 an estimated total of 242 Striped dolphins have been slaughtered this season so far. These slaughters are fueled by the captive dolphin trade.
9-13  BLUE
14 -The destruction of the lives of two separate sets of families has broken the run of four blue cove days. 10 Risso’s Dolphins were slaughtered while one small juvenile was dumped at sea. Without the care of its pod and mother this juvenile will likely not survive. Several hundred Striped dolphins were driven towards the cove, most were lost and the remaining 46 were quickly netted into the cove. Four were taken into captivity, while the remaining 42 were slaughtered.
15 – Within the course of 2.5 hours the hunters of Taiji ruined the lives of 7 Risso’s dolphins. 6 were slaughtered and 1 was forced to give up its freedom and spend the rest of its lifetime in captivity.
16 – Less than an hour after leaving the harbour to search for dolphins the hunters had a small pod of Risso’s dolphins netted in the cove. Trainers appeared however no dolphins were selected for captivity. The entire pod of 6 dolphins was slaughtered.

17 – BLUE

18 –  a pod of eight bottlenose dolphins, including a mother and calf fought valiantly for their freedom. The dolphin hunters relentlessly pursued them, assaulting their senses with noise. After finally netting the dolphins into the Cove, the exhausted dolphins were left for hours as the hunters pursued another pod. The family huddled tightly together, the calf seeking comfort from the adults, as they awaited their fate. Eventually, trainers arrived and took five bottlenose dolphins away for captivity, leaving three dolphins who were deemed unsuitable — perhaps too old, maybe not pretty enough — to be driven back to the ocean without the majority of their family. 

A second drive occurred today, with the pod accidentally being driven into the offshore fishing nets. Skiffs headed out to the nets, and after a long while, two went to the butcher’s house to unload the unknown species.
19 – A pod of Pacific white sided dolphins were driven into the waters just outside the Taiji harboUr. Many of the dolphins escaped but four were trapped in nets. The dolphins were subjected to a brutal capture process. Each was wrestled and manhandled into skiffs and tossed into a sea pen. The brutality of the process could be seen in the bloodied flukes of these dolphins.
20 –  A pod of 36 Risso’s dolphins was destroyed today. 9 were taken for captivity while 27 had their lives extinguished. Some who were taken captive were under the tarps as their family members were brutally killed right in front of them. The sounds of the dolphins slapping their flukes on the water as their life force drained away was heard over and over. Trainers remained under the tarps as dolphins were slaughtered, working side by side with the hunters as they selected their captives.
21 – BLUE – A drive that was coming in from the north was getting close and preparations were being made for an offshore capture of Pacific white sided dolphins. The pod escaped past the fishing nets and some of the banger boats pursued but gave up.
22 – BLUE – Cove Monitors arrived at Tomyozaki lookout point, there was activity at the fishing nets. Two skiffs with divers removed two dolphins, alive and were dumped into a sea pen.