Posts Tagged With: japan

Taiji – Hell on Earth for dolphins

DSC_0079The beauty of Taiji, Japan is undeniable. There are views here that will literally take your breath away. No photo can do it justice. A couple of mornings ago the Cove Guardians all headed out to a lookout to watch for the gut wrenching “drive formation” of the hunting boats. While walking down the stairs we all had to stop to admire the gorgeous sunrise that was occurring. The orange glow was illuminating the rocky cliffs as it appeared on the horizon. I personally have never seen a sunrise so beautiful. The beauty here is evident and amazing.

The part that is hard to comprehend is the absolute horror that takes place amongst it all. I have been in Taiji as a Cove Guardian for six days and witnessed four slaughters. Three of those four slaughters resulted in dolphins being taken captive as well as being murdered. Monday, January 21, 2013, a family of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins were destroyed by this annual hunt. On this particular day the abuse and disrespect for these animals was appalling. The trainers were present once again for the capture process. They originally selected 27 for a life of slavery in the captive industry. The stress and violence of the hunt and capture resulted in the death of two dolphins before they could even be thrown into the sea pens. How can the Mayor of Taiji say that this hunt is humane and ethical when animals selected to actually survive die in the process? When these poor souls died at the hands of those who claim to “love” them, their loss was not mourned for even a moment. The dolphins that were first considered slave-trade quality were simply thrown onto a boat and hauled away to the butcher house. Their sacrifice was never considered by the killers or the dolphin trainers. They simply joined their slaughtered family members in a pile of waste and death.

Everyday that the hunts take place and the dolphin families are ripped apart shows an absolute lack of compassion and respect. This lack of compassion and respect is not a statement about Japan and the Japanese people. It really bothers me when “supporters” make hateful and racist comments about Japan and the people that live here. These hunts involve a handful of people when compared to all of the country’s population. The fishermen, trainers, buyers, and the few individuals who knowingly eat dolphin do not represent the entire country. The individuals that are a driving force in this annual atrocity live all over the world. Every European or American that takes their family to SeaWorld is responsible. Every hotel or resort owner that enslaves dolphins for tourists seeking a thrill while on vacation is responsible. The dolphin trainers across the globe who KNOW the extent of intelligence and self awareness that these animals have are responsible. The hunts occur to satisfy a demand for captivity. Eliminate the demand and you can end the source of supply.

I say it all the time and I will keep saying it until marine mammal captivity is eliminated, DO NOT BUY A TICKET TO A DOLPHIN SHOW OR SWIM WITH DOLPHIN PROGRAM. Do not support any hotel, resort, or business that profits off the lives of these animals. Every ticket purchased is encouragement for these fishermen to go out with their boats to hunt dolphins.

Thank you for reading.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Cove Guardian, Dolphins, Sea Shepherd, seaworld, Taiji | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My first days as a Cove Guardian

Being here in Taiji, Japan is incredibly surreal for me. To stand on the beach at the cove is a feeling I am not even sure I can put into words. This post is my first in a very long time. I have been planning this trip for months now and the fundraising and planning kept me very busy. Nevertheless, here I am in Japan. I am sitting in my hotel trying to work through what I have experienced since my arrival on January 16th. Travel to Japan was long but actually pleasant because I traveled here with a good friend and fellow SSCS On-Shore Volunteer. The people I have met in the last couple of days are extraordinary. They are from various countries around the world and we all speak in our own accent and language, but our reason for being here is the same.

I should mention that before this trip, I had NEVER seen a dolphin in real life. I have only ever seen them in books, movies, online and on tv. The first and only dolphins I’ve seen are either suffering a life in captivity here in Japan or were brutally killed in front of me this week. I think this is a clear message that you do not need marine parks and captivity in order to appreciate a species and want to save its future.

Today was by far one of the worst days of my life. It was only my second day of watching the fishermen leave on their boats to hunt mercilessly for dolphins, but it will be a day that I never forget. A beautiful pod of Bottlenose dolphins was driven into the cove in Taiji, Japan. Their lives were destroyed one by one by people whose vile actions are something I will never understand. I stood and witnessed as these 38 amazing, innocent animals were driven by a wall of sound into the deadly nets.

I have constantly kept up with the events happening in Taiji. I have seen The Cove at least a dozen times with friends and family as I try to educate as many people as possible. The images, the articles, the videos, none of it prepared me for witnessing a capture and slaughter with my own eyes. The trainers are some of the most baffling and disturbing people on earth. They spend every single day working with dolphins and claiming to “love” them. It only took a few minutes for them to arrive in the boats once they got word that Bottlenose dolphins had been driven into the cove. They stood up in the boat and acted excited as they looked over the day’s catch. The trainers work side by side with the fishermen who will slaughter any dolphin not purchased by them. Together, the trainers and the fishermen are some of the most horrible and sadistic people I have ever seen. One by one dolphins were violently handled and put into painful slings and hauled away from their family. You can hear the trainers yelling as they try to wrangle the frightened juveniles away from their mothers. These people do not love dolphins. They love the money the dolphins bring to them. The trainers selected 13 dolphins to suffer a life in captivity.

It was painfully clear when the slaughter began underneath the tarps. The thrashing and tail slapping that occurred is a sound that will forever live in my mind. It was agonizing to stand there and know that those animals were being brutally and violently killed. We stood in silence listening as the dolphins fought and struggled until after several minutes the thrashing ended. Again, this is a sound I will hear in mind as long as I live. There is no way to forget it. After it ended the last and thirteenth victim taken into a life of captivity was hauled away on a sling. This means that dolphin watched and listened to its entire family get murdered BEFORE being hauled away from their dead bodies. The trauma that dolphin endured makes my heart ache.

Taiji is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is incredible that such a horrible and disgusting thing can take place here. I am glad that 17 Cove Guardians were here today to witness the last moments of this Bottlenose family. Together we (and past and future CGs) are helping spread the word about this dark secret. This is not a proud tradition or cultural right. If it were there would be no tarps hiding the slaughter as it happens. There would be no police monitoring every move the activists make. They want to hide everything that is going on in Taiji. If it is a tradition then what are you so ashamed of? Why wouldn’t you want the world to see what you are doing?

Taiji has changed me in so many ways and my time here has only just begun. To those who helped me get here, thank you so much. To the dolphins, I am so sorry for what is happening to you. We have polluted your home, stolen your food source, and now certain people in this world make a living off your pain and suffering.

RIP to the 24 beautiful souls that left our world today, but also to the 13 lives that will now suffer in the world of captivity, my thoughts and heart are always with you.

Thank you for reading,

Rachel

A bottlenose is dragged back by a diver after trying to escape the nets in the cove

A bottlenose is dragged back by a diver after trying to escape the nets in the cove

DSC_0910

Four dolphins swim close together in their last moments of life

A captive dolphin is transferred from the ocean and it's family to a life of slavery

Two dolphins are taken away from their home and their family. You can see their frantic family members swimming nearby.

Categories: Cetaceans, Cove Guardian, Dolphins, Sea Shepherd, Taiji | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Journey Towards Taiji….

Okay guys, it is official. I have decided to go to Taiji, Japan during this year’s dolphin hunting season. I am aiming to go sometime in January 2013, but I need to start fundraising for the trip. I sent in my Cove Guardian application to be a part of Sea Shepherd’s on-going campaign, Infinite Patience. Since my application was accepted I must now start the process of FUNDRAISING!

I am very excited to begin this new journey towards helping the dolphins of Japan even more. In order to stop this annual slaughter of dolphins we must show the world what is happening. People need to see how their tickets to Sea World directly contributes to the deaths of these magnificent creatures.

I have started a fundraising page with the website Go Fund Me. I needed an easy way for friends and family (and hopefully some animal loving strangers) to help support me in this dream.

So check out the donation page HERE. (www.gofundme.com/stopthedolphinslaughter)

Thank you so much for reading and I will continue documenting the steps in this journey right here at World Wide Waves.

~Rachel

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blue Waters in Taiji….for now

Blue waters in Taiji, Japan

The 2011-2012 dolphin hunting season has finally come to a close in Taiji, Japan. For those of us that follow the daily occurrences within that small village, that news was not only wonderful to hear but also could not have come at a better time. On February 26th, last Sunday, news came out that the fishermen had slaughtered 98 Pantropical Spotted dolphins. It was heartbreaking to hear that news so when the fishermen started taking the poles off their boats and the doors to the butcher house started coming down I was elated and relieved. I read about the Cove from time to time last year. I knew what was happening and could tell others about it, but this was my first hunting season where I followed every detail every single day. I have been borderline obsessed with reading the updates that would come in from those on the ground in Taiji. And I have to tell you, it was exhausting. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. I am so happy the season has ended. Although, the 2012-2013 hunting season will begin in less than 7 months. The annual kill numbers are decreasing and I will post the numbers from this season soon.

For now, remember the dolphins that lost their lives in that small cove. Remember, the ones who were sent to live in tanks for the rest of their lives after they watched and listened as their families were killed. Remember that at the end of the day, when everyone goes home and has dinner or goes out with friends, those animals are still trapped behind glass, concrete and nets. There are animals all over the world that are being held in un-natural waters, being fed an un-natural diet, and are living un-natural social lives. All for entertainment and all for profits. Remember what fuels the dolphin drives in Taiji and DON’T BUY A TICKET.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Devestating Day in Taiji

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin

I was out with friends yesterday when I used my phone to go online and check on the status of the banger boats in Taiji. Shocked and devastated is an understatement of how I felt when I read the boats had returned and that the fishermen had killed 98 dolphins. 98…..98 dolphins were killed. I couldn’t believe it. I actually refreshed the page and then looked at several other pages to make sure that the correct number had been released.

98 Pantropical Spotted dolphins were brutally slaughtered in the Cove on February 27. None were taken for captivity. The lives stolen from this world included mothers, babies, and juveniles. Tim Burns who is in Taiji as a Cove Monitor with Save Japan Dolphins described the day’s events.

“Today as I watched the pod being pushed into the Cove, I could see many juvenile dolphins.  After splitting the pod into two groups, the hunters began the slaughter.  The first wave was driven, pushed, and in a few instances tail roped and dragged under the tarps.  After about 15 minuets the second group was just as brutally corralled under the tarps. I noticed one swim back out from under the tarp, as it was partially paralyzed.  It could only swim in one direction.  The hunters just allowed it to swim out in front of the tarps for about 5-10 minutes.  Once there was no fight left, he was tail wrapped and pulled back under.”

Thankfully this hunting season is coming to a close early so the killings will soon end. I am sure that is why the fishermen decided to take the lives of so many dolphins in one day. They showed their blatant disregard for life and their disrespect for other sentient beings in this world. I went to bed that night and dreamed of Taiji and the dolphins that have died there. I know I will go there myself one day soon and be a witness and a voice to those who are voiceless.

Pantropical Spotted dolphins

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Oceans, Sea Shepherd | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Erwin is FREE!

It has been a busy week for those involved with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Yesterday a judge denied the Institute for Cetacean Research’s attempts to keep Sea Shepherd out of the Southern ocean and out of their way when whaling. They tried to claim that SSCS has no authority in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and hoped that a U.S court would keep them away. Luckily the judge plans to look at exactly why the whalers are there as much as he will look at the SSCS’s presence.

In even BETTER news, Erwin Vermeulen was released from a Japanese prison today! Erwin was in jail after being falsely accused of pushing an employee at the Dolphin Resort while taking photographs. The judge signed an order to have him released. He has to go back to court on February 22nd to get the verdict of the assault charges from the alleged push. No jail time has been requested though. Only a $1,300 fine has been requested. Like I have said before, it is pretty obvious this entire arrest has been to try to make the Cove Guardians look like the bad guys.

Luckily, a Japanese judge saw through that and allowed Erwin to leave and go back to his duties as a volunteer for Sea Shepherd.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Sea Shepherd, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taiji

The first week of February did not end well in Taiji, Japan. The cove turned blood red as the fisherman slaughtered 30 striped dolphins. Their lives and families were ripped apart in just one afternoon. Thank goodness the following week was a little better for the dolphins of Japan. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the fisherman caught no dolphins.

However, on Tuesday, February 7, the waters again turned red with the blood of Risso’s dolphins. On this day the trainers were also at the Cove working with the fisherman to claim the lives they wanted for captivity. Two Risso’s dolphins were taken that day for a life of imprisonment, but not until they had to witness the deaths of their family members. The count was 22 Risso’s killed. 2 Risso’s bought by the trainers.

Tuesday was also an interesting and stressful day for the Cove Guardians who are in Taiji with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The police held the CG and ended up restricting the use of all hand held radios. They had been using the same radios for two years so it appears the police of Taiji are once again just getting desperate to find ways that the protesters are breaking the law.

This week also ended in a sad and tragic way. The fisherman found a pod of striped dolphins on Saturday. They drove them into the Cove and slaughtered all 30 adults. After the family was dead, they drove the juveniles and babies back out to the sea. They have no pod or mothers to keep them safe, so their fate will ultimately be death. They will starve or get taken by a predator. Tim Burns of Save Japan Dolphins was at the Cove this day:

“Now the Taiji dolphin hunters have driven these young dolphins from the open sea to land, killed their entire family in front of them, and condemned them to die at sea.”

This killing season only has 7 more weeks until it ends. As of Sunday, February 12, the fisherman have reached their quota for Risso’s and striped dolphins. They cannot hunt those species anymore.

We’ll see what this new week brings for the dolphins of Taiji. But whatever happens there will be 14 Cove Guardians standing by to witness it all.

Cove Guardians in Taiji, Japan

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Honor of Erwin

Erwin has been in a Japanese prison since 12/16/2011

Last night in Seattle a candlelight vigil was held in honor of Erwin Vermeulen. Erwin was arrested on December 16, 2011, in Japan for allegedly pushing an employee of the Dolphin Resort.

He is hero being held prisonor because of false accusations. Erwin refuses to plead guilty which is exactly what the Japanese police want him to do so they can justify their police force at The Cove. He is being fed only white rice and has lost nearly 20 pounds since his arrest. It is an absoulte outrage that he is being kept in prison and Japan should be ashamed that they are allowing this to happen.

Supporters of Erwin

Last night a large group of Erwin and Sea Shepherd supporters met at Westlake Center with signs, candles and messages of hope for Erwin and his family. We marched from the fountain at Westlake Center to the Japanese Consulate with our candles and signs. Bringing some awareness to the people of Seattle. It was great to see a couple of news cameras there and hopefully I can find those links soon and post them on here as

 

 

 

 

 

Walking to the Japanese Consulate

A poster made for the vigil

 

 As of now Erwin faces two years in a Japanese prison for this alleged push. A push that caused no injuries and had no witnesses that saw it. A verdict is expected on February 22nd.

Another gathering of support will take place on February 21st in Kirkland, WA. Visit Seashepherd.org for more information.

Categories: Animal Welfare, Marine Wildlife, Oceans, Sea Shepherd, Whales | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins Found

Around 6,000 rare Irrawaddy dolphins were found in the freshwater regions of Bangladesh this week. The Irrawaddy dolphin is a small Asian dolphin that resembles the Beluga. It is light in color with a rounded head and lacks a beak.

An Irrawaddy Dolphin

Although few extensive studies on the Irrawaddy dolphin have been done, it appears that their populations are low in all areas they are known to live. They live in family groups of around 7-10 dophins and live for around 30 years. Typically their range stretches from the mainland of Asia down to the coasts of Australia. Human related activities have impacted their populations within the freshwater habitats. Fishing practices that involve gillnets and explosives seem to be a great factor in their decline.

This recent finding of nearly 6,000 dolphins gives us a reason to smile during times that involve the deaths of many dolphins in the waters of Japan.

Categories: Cetaceans, Dolphins, Marine Wildlife | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Taiji Police get Desperate

This week Dutch citizen Erwin Vermeulen was arrested by the police in Taiji, Japan. Erwin is in Taiji with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a Cove Guardian. He traveled to Japan by his own expense to bear witness to the dolphin slaughters taking place there. An employee at the Dolphin Resort Hotel accused Erwin of shoving him, so the police arrested him without any witness to the act.

In Japan the law allows a person to be held for 23 days without being given the opportunity for visitors or speaking to a lawyer. It is usually in these 23 days that Japan gets their guilty pleas. Erwin has also not been allowed to speak to the Dutch Embassy.

If he pleads guilty the police say he will be released within two days. Clearly, the police and fishermen of Taiji, Japan are trying to convey to the world that the Cove Guardians are violent and break laws while protesting the dolphin hunts.

 

Categories: Animal Welfare, Cetaceans, Dolphins | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.