But she also knows her presence and documentation of the actions of 26 fishermen, who have their government’s blessing to slaughter and supply dolphins for live trade despite breaking international laws, could help bring the annual event to an end.
The Nanaimo animal activist is raising money to travel to the cove near Taiji, Japan to participate as a Cove Guardian for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. For several years, the group has posted volunteers around the cove to capture footage of the slaughter.
Since the beginning of this year’s slaughter, which began in September and ends in late March, Sea Shepherd has had six to 20 volunteers at any given time.
“Every day will be filming, filming, filming, talking to the fishermen, talking to the Japanese media. Making sure the Japanese fishermen don’t get away with anything and that everything is documented so that the entire world can see what is happening on a daily basis,” said Daviduk, who will travel with friends and fellow volunteers Carisa Webster, also of Nanaimo, and Mike Vos, of California.
Despite the international ban on hunting whales, the Japanese government issued a quota of 23,000 dolphins this season. Most are slaughtered for food while some are captured and sold in the live dolphin trade to zoos and aquariums.
Whaling ships also left Japanese ports this week to hunt 1,100 larger whales in an Arctic sanctuary, some of which are listed internationally as endangered.
“We’re trying to expose that and shame the Japanese government into stopping, but we’re also hoping that once we expose this to the Japanese people, that they will put pressure on their own government to stop,” said Daviduk.
Daviduk knows it won’t be an easy three weeks in March. The Japanese government set up coast guard and police stations near the site to discourage violent confrontations.
The cove was brought to international attention by the 2009 Oscar award-winning documentary The Cove, a story about how a small group of people infiltrated the guarded cove for the first time to document what takes place.
Daviduk said the movie inspired her to take action not only for the dolphins, but Canada’s annual seal hunt as well. For several years, she has helped organize Nanaimo seal hunt protests.
“Whether it’s seals, dolphins or a shark hunt to make the Chinese delicacy shark fin soup, it’s wrong,” she said.
To help raise money for the effort, a showing of The Cove will be held at Vancouver Island University on Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m., featuring a talk by Cove Guardian Tarah Millen, who recently returned to the Island from Japan. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Boston Pizza, Tourism Nanaimo and The Thirsty Camel.
A ‘Bottle Nose Dolphin Drive’ is also underway at bottle depots on Fremont Rd. (off McGarrigle Rd.) and Mostar Dr. When returning bottles or cans, simply indicate you wish the proceeds to go to the Cove Guardians. Bottles and cans can also be dropped off on the driveway at 5977 Broadway Rd. on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
For more information or to donate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The group will also be blogging at www.thecoveguardians.blogspot.com once they arrive in Japan.