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Week Three in Taiji

September 15th – 18th – Blue – Read Ollie Blackmore’s account: Cove Monitor in Taiji

September 19th

First Bottlenose Dolphins Caught in Taiji

A pod of approximately 75-80 dolphins  bottlenose dolphins that – moments earlier – was swimming free in the open ocean, has been captured in Taiji, Japan. The dolphins were quickly spotted, and soon after, pushed and netted into the cove. Four nets, three close to the shore and one further offshore were strung, to ensure the dolphins did not attempt to escape.

Dolphin Project was on the ground, live streaming the violent capture, documenting the terrified dolphins’ vocalizations and tail slapping as their access to freedom was sealed off. At least one dolphin was caught in the nets. Two animals were also seen having bloody dorsal fins.

Much of the pod appeared to be comprised of juveniles, with at least three babies seen.

By the end of the day, several hours after the initial capture, a total of 18 dolphins were taken from the pod. Nine skiffs, each carrying two dolphins, took the mammals to the harbor pens and Dolphin Base, the latter a facility on the north side of Taiji which trains both dolphins and trainers, as well as allows public interaction with the animals. Their final destination? Unknown.

Approximately 60 dolphins remain in the cove, where they will be held overnight. They will not be fed. Their fate also remains a mystery. No matter what the outcome, the pod has been irrevocably ravaged.

20th September
The pod was held overnight, already fractured by the absence of 18 members. As dawn broke, skiff after skiff filled with divers approached the dolphins, netting and re-netting the area in attempts to select the desired animals. And, for hour after hour, this is exactly what happened. Much like one would inspect produce in a grocery store, the dolphins were inspected, manhandled, often turned upside down, some caught in nets while others, bloodied.

Dolphin Project Veteran Cove Monitor Terran Baylor captured these images, so clearly documenting the depravity of the captivity selection process.

In the end, approximately 50 dolphins were “chosen” for a life of captivity, with the remaining animals – around 30 in total – released back to the open ocean. Babies were separated, then reunited with their mothers.

September 21st

  • Hunters returning to the sea, dolphins in jeopardy! – 5:20am
  • Dolphin hunting boats arriving. Dolphins run free! – 8:30am