Week Thirteen to Eighteen in Taiji

Two striped dolphins stuck on volcanic rock near the entrance to The Cove Photo credit: Tim Burns / Dolphin Project

November 25 – 28 – Blue
November 29 – Red –  Risso’s – 6 captured – 6 killed  – 0 aquariums – 0 released
November 30 – December 15 –  Blue
December 16 – Red Risso’s – 8 captured – 8 killed  – 0 aquariums – 0 released
December 17 – Blue
December 18 – Red –  Striped – 36 captured – 36 killed  – 0 aquariums – 0 released

It appeared to be a Blue Cove Day when the first of two boats began to make their way back to the harbour. However, soon after, a formation of seven boats appeared on the horizon, pursuing what seemed to be a huge pod of dolphins.

A large number of the pod broke free,  but many remained under the control of the hunters, approximately 45-50, and were quickly driven closer and closer to the cove. The speed at which they were driven in was the first sign that this would be a particularly brutal drive.

Repeated “banging” sounds rang out as hunters hit the poles with hammers, creating an acoustic nightmare for the dolphins. Jumping and splashing from the terrified dolphins confirmed their species to be Striped dolphins. Their fear was palpable, even on camera.

The horror continued to unfold when several dolphins became stuck on the razor-sharp volcanic rocks at the entrance to the cove. Attempting to escape the surrounding chaos, they become bloodied, some of their injuries severe. Divers entered the water to pull them off, injuring them even further. Then, on the opposite side of the cove, a solitary dolphin thrashed violently, entangled in the nets. Over and over, the water churned as the terrified dolphin began to drown, while fisherman sat in their boat and simply – watched. No effort was made to assist the animal. After several long moments, the dolphins finally freed itself, but was promptly dragged to the killing cove where it met it’s final end.

Dolphin after dolphin was pushed, pulled and dragged underneath the tarps. Although this area is hidden from the view of the Cove Monitors, the sounds were torturous.

“The sounds will haunt you, the sounds of their tails slapping on the surface of the water while they are being killed. Slap, slap, slap, loud, desperate and violent and then everything goes silent. Eerily silent.” – Tim Burns

Excerpt taken from Dolphin Project


December 19 – Blue
December 20 – 22 – Red – Bottlenose – 80 captured – 30 killed  – 30 aquariums – 20 (approx) release

Taiji: Dolphin fighting to jump net, got away from divers, but in second enclosure. 2015-12-21. 9:15am. #tweet4dolphins #dolphinproject

Posted by Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project on Sunday, 20 December 2015

Taiji: The sun is setting as the remaining 50+ dolphins have been in the cove for over 30 hours now. Property of the…

Posted by Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project on Sunday, 20 December 2015

Taiji: Remaining dolphins pushed out to sea, including many juveniles who likely cannot survive in the wild without…

Posted by Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project on Monday, 21 December 2015

“It’s done. Out of approximately 80 dolphins, about 20 were finally driven back out to sea, after two days of being manhandled and starved in the cove. At least four of the released were juveniles and only one had a mother left to swim beside. It’s unlikely the other three youngsters will survive, leave alone the adults of the shattered pod.

When it was finally done, after 50+ hours of terror, starvation and abuse, the released few shot out to sea. They looked like birds skimming over the surface of the water, they were so fast. The last we saw of them were the juveniles, who lagged far behind, unable to keep up with the rest of the pod. It’s a sight I’ll never forget.”

~ Tim Burns, Dolphin Project Cove Boss and Monitor

Please read – Taiji shows the world why captivity is a death sentence

As this year completes and gives way to the next, take a moment to watch this short video clip, titled: “A day in the life of captive dolphins” and then share it with others. Every person we help educate on the realities of dolphin captivity is another person who may choose not to support the marine park industry.

December 23 – January 4 – Blue
January 5th – Red

After almost two weeks of blue coves the hunters of Taiji quickly found a pod of Rissos’s dolphins. They were quickly corralled into the infamous killing cove. Their end came swiftly, all sixteen beautiful, peaceful animals were slaughtered.

Read: Grim Start To The New Year As Risso’s Slaughtered