Cove Guardian Reports

Cove Guardians

Read updates from our Sea Shepherd representatives - the Cove Guardians - who are in Taiji now, watching over the dolphins.

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vrijdag, 20 januari 2012

Operation Infinite Patience: January 19, 2012

Cove GuardiansThe second Monday of January is a holiday in Japan.  It is a time when the young men and women of the town who have “come of age” that year are acknowledged as adults.  It is generally a cheerful time, full of pageantry.  The dolphin killers of Taiji failed to recognize the holiday and instead went about harassing a pod of Risso’s dolphins.  Two of these dolphins were sent off to imprisonment and the remaining seven were cut up and eaten.  It seems that the Risso, along with Pilot Whale, is very popular among the dolphin eaters here.

The bloodshed did not end there.  On the tenth of January, the next day, the killers struck again.  This time they claimed the lives of 43-47 Striped dolphins.  We have been told that Striped dolphin meat is “lower” grade and much of it rots on the store shelves.

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maandag, 09 januari 2012

Operation Infinite Patience: January 9, 2012

cove guardians reportIt has been a bloody time in Taiji these past few weeks.  Before the killers took their holiday break, dolphins were dying almost every day.  The killers returned to “work” after their break with a vengeance.  The very first day, January 5, found them harassing a pod of over 200 Striped dolphins.  At first, some of the hunting boats were messing with a small pod, but when they learned from their buddies that a much larger one was over the horizon, they left the small pod alone.  When the large pod had been driven close enough to shore for us to see them, they were stretched out over a mile.  Fortunately, it was just too much for the hunters to handle and most of the members of this pod escaped.  Eventually 41 to 45 of them were killed.

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zaterdag, 31 december 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: December 31, 2011

What Do Cove Guardians Do?

Cove Guardians Scott West, Luca Frattini, and Ethan Wolf.Cove Guardians Scott West, Luca Frattini, and
Ethan Wolf.
I sometimes hear criticism along the lines of, “I do not want to be a Cove Guardian, standing around and taking pictures of dead and dying dolphins.”  Believe me, I do not want to do that either, but unfortunately it is part of the mission.  If we were not here to document and report the atrocities, they would still occur.  They would occur in secret and these dolphins would die alone and forgotten.  By being here, we are able to demonstrate the lengths to which the murderers go to hide their deeds.  The shame these men must feel is quite evident.  The shame they bring to their country is monumental.  Without our being here to document their behavior, their shame would be a secret.

Cove Guardians do more than just photograph and document.  We are at the dock each morning when the killers make their plans for the day.  There is no time when they are free of us, or free of looking over their shoulders to see if we are watching.  We appear when and where they expect us and when and where they do not.   We are there to celebrate when they return empty handed from a hunt and we are there when they are torturing the unfortunate dolphins they do find.  We track the men and women who buy the bodies of the slain and we document the processing of the meat.  We are working on determining where that meat goes and who consumes it.  There is no aspect of the hunt, slaughter, or distribution that is free of our presence.

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zondag, 25 december 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: December 25, 2011

Christmas in Taiji

Shingu city police station and detention center.Shingu city police station and
detention center.
For the free-swimming dolphins of the Japanese Pacific coast, this Christmas day is one free of murder and mayhem.  However, there are many dolphins in Taiji who have recently been forced from the open ocean.  They had to endure being ripped from their families and then listening to those family members being killed.  Now they are incarcerated in small enclosures and are completely dependent upon marine mammal trainers for their sustenance.  If they do not perform the required tricks, they do not eat.

These dolphins have no idea why this happened to them.  They did nothing wrong (except choosing to live close to Japan).  They have no idea how long they must live this way.  If they knew it were a life sentence, how many would choose to die instead?  They are there because of human greed and arrogance.  We do not usually think of these aspects of humanity at Christmas.  It is easier to pretend that there is goodness in humanity.  Should you or your family visit a captive dolphin park this holiday season or during this coming year, think of these things.  Ask yourself how you are supporting greed and arrogance.

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donderdag, 15 december 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: December 14, 2011

Live Dolphin PodThe bloodshed continues here in Taiji, as today marked the third day out of four where the dolphin hunters located and slaughtered a pod. Two days ago, a family of 13 Risso's dolphins were sentenced to their deaths, with one being taken to a life in captivity- a death sentence in itself. The previous day, three Risso's dolphins were taken for captivity, however four transportation slings were taken into the killing cove. This could only mean that the people in charge of selecting the 'suitable' show dolphins were impressed with three on the first day. They knew there would be another chance to make their fourth selection, and were given this opportunity the following day.

Today, the dolphin killers drove and slaughtered a family of 14 Striped dolphins. This amazing species often leaves many people in awe of their beauty and grace, yet for a dolphin hunter, the ‘another day, another dollar, (another dolphin)’ mentality comes into play.

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maandag, 12 december 2011

Operation Infinite Patience, December 11, 2012

Report by Nicole McLachlan

Cove Guardians From L-R: Thomas, Nicole, Bianca, Nikki, Erwin and ScottCove Guardians From L-R: Thomas, Nicole, Bianca, Nikki, Erwin and ScottUpon my return to Taiji, only a few weeks ago, Rosie Kunneke briefed me on the many changes in the campaign. Rosie, unfortunately, had to leave Taiji after spending three months here as the campaign leader. Her presence has been missed. Cove Guardians past and present agree that she is a vital asset to this campaign. The insight we have gained through the scrupulous persistence and pressure she places upon those involved in Taiji's dolphin slaughter, trade, and captivity industry has proven invaluable and highly effective.

In fact, it has become increasingly apparent that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s constant vigilance is having a significant impact on the kill numbers of these murderers here in Taiji. The dolphin killers, trainers, buyers, transporters, and all those individuals in between must now factor in the time it takes to hide their bloody “work” from not only the eyes of us Cove Guardians on the ground, but also the world. Their constant need to be 'one step ahead' when it comes to the concealment of their actions has proven to work against them- effectively and significantly cutting down their kill numbers.

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maandag, 05 december 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: December 4, 2011

Cove Guardians (from left to right) Bob Timmons, Erwin Vermeulen and Nicole McLachlan at  the cove.Cove Guardians (from left to right) Bob Timmons, Erwin Vermeulen and Nicole McLachlan at
the cove.
This week was a really good week for the dolphins migrating past the shores of Taiji until Sunday. Bad weather with really high waves and strong wind kept the killers in the harbor over the weekend, but upon seeing the calm seas Sunday morning, all of our hearts sank. Within an hour of leaving the harbor, the dolphin killers found a pod of 9 to 11 Risso’s Dolphins fairly close to shore. They drove the pod into the Cove really quickly. Trainers from both the Taiji Whale Museum and Dolphin base then arrived in the cove. Three dolphins were taken for a cruel life in captivity. We suspect the Whale Museum chose two dolphins that are currently held in the harbor pens. The trainers from Dolphin Base, accompanied by the owner of Dolphin Base, chose one young Risso’s Dolphin and immediately took it to their pens. The rest of the pod was brutally killed.

During this week, we spent a lot of time at the places where the dolphins are kept in captivity. We discovered that a Pilot Whale at the Dolphin Base is either sick or showing signs of stress and depression. On two occasions, the trainers were working on this specific Pilot Whale whom we have affectionately named Kibo, which means hope in Japanese. We could not establish exactly what the trainers were doing to Kibo because of the location of the pen. During afternoon feeding, the trainers only threw about 4 small fish in his direction and we are not sure whether he ate any of them. This Pilot Whale will be the second dolphin in a time period of 3 months that goes from perfectly healthy to very depressed, sick and refusing to eat. Please do not support any institutions who keep dolphins and whales in captivity.

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dinsdag, 29 november 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: November 28, 2011

The pod of Pan-tropical spotted dolphins cordoned off in the Cove. Photo: Christoph HeylenThe pod of Pan-tropical spotted dolphins cordoned off in the Cove.
Photo: Christoph Heylen
This week in Taiji was a sad and brutal week. The Cove ran red with the blood of so many innocent and beautiful sentient beings that senselessly and cruelly lost their lives.

On Monday and Wednesday the dolphin killers brutally slaughtered between 20-25 Risso’s dolphins. The pod of Risso’s dolphins killed on the Wednesday fought extremely hard and refused to go into the cove for almost three hours. Time and time again they would dive deep and reappear on the other side of the banger boats and nets. We could see three babies amongst the pod and understood why this particular pod was fighting so hard. These mothers were not just fighting for their lives, but also for the lives of their babies. Eventually the killers tied a net between two banger boats and pulled the dolphins into the Cove. The dolphin trainers from the Dolphin Resort came to the Cove. We initially thought they might have taken some of the baby Risso’s for captivity. After thorough analysis of our video footage, it was determined that no dolphins were captured. This means the ruthless killers also murdered the baby dolphins.

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