Blog | A New Kill of Risso’s Dolphins

A New Kill of Risso’s Dolphins

November 13, 2012 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Tia Butt
Cove Monitor
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

Today when we woke up, and I drove down to the usual lookout point where we watch the boats going out, I had a bad feeling for the safety of the dolphins that were going to be travelling anywhere near Taiji.  The ocean looked calm, the weather was clear, and I knew the dolphin killers would be wanting to get dolphins badly, as they have not had much luck lately.  The last successful hunt they had was almost a week ago, so they would be keen to get some dolphins.

I was right – just before 8AM they were driving a pod of dolphins in, and it all happened so quickly.  They had a pod of Risso’s dolphins in the Cove fast, and by the time we had raced up Takababe Mountain overlook, the dolphins were already being netted into the Cove, under the plastic tarps set up to block our cameras.

They were a beautiful pod, so elegant and graceful.  Some whiter in color than the others, and, as tears rolled my face filming, I could hear my fellow Cove monitor Johanna panting also in a panic, as we knew that these beautiful animals were going to have an agonizing death.  We could hear the killers getting the tarps up ready to butcher them under, and possibly take some for a captive life.

Soon they were pushed in; these dolphins did not want to go under the tarps, and it took a while for the divers and the killers to get them in.  A couple got caught in the nets and that is always hard to watch, along with the shouting of the dolphin killers and the sounds of the motorized skiff boats scaring the dolphins under the tarps to their fate.


Two were selected for captivity – a similar scene to last Wednesday, almost like a bad dream being replayed.  We heard the rest dying under the tarps.  I kept thinking of how these beautiful elegant animals were being butchered so painfully right beneath me.  We stood there in silence listening to the hunters dump the dead bodies onto skiff boats to be taken away to the slaughterhouse to be processed.

Again we are drained from a day of hell here in Taiji, but we will continue with our efforts to tell the story of each slaughter and capture we witness.  We owe it to the dolphins.

We need to let the dolphin hunters and the Japanese government know that we are watching and that we will not give up until the dolphin hunts end.

I am updating the Save Japan Dolphins Cove Monitor Facebook page with events as they happen here so please like and share. 

Also follow us on Twitter.  The dolphins are depending on us to tell their story.  We are their only hope.

Photo and video by Tia Butt.

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A New Kill of Risso’s Dolphins