Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 3 in Taiji

Today was even stormier than yesterday with pounding rain and gale force winds.  The banger boats never go out in this kind of weather so the wild dolphins are lucky.

We spent the day checking on the captive dolphins in the city instead.  We are very concerned about one dolphin in particular at the Dolphin Hotel in Taiji.  The dolphin hotel is a terrible tourist attraction where you can stay there and watch dolphin shows and swim with the dolphins in their pens.  They have 7 sea pens in ocean as well as an unknown amount of dolphins in their dolphinarium.

The dolphin we are worried about is the one we saw exhibiting neurotic repetitive behavior bobbing up and down constantly spyhopping.  Yesterday we watched as they caught him and pinned him against the side of the pen, injected him with an unknown substance and put what looked like an iodine mixture on these open bloody wounds on his tail fluke.  It looks like he is rubbing his tail raw on the bottom of his shallow pen while bobbing.

Today when we arrived we saw that he had received more veterinary care for an injury he received below his eye.   We could see that there was a large amount of what looked like a white substance, almost putty like as if it had been spread on this wound, and still the large jagged mark was still clearly visible below his eye.  We sat and watched as the trainer fed all the dolphins but the sick dolphin would not eat.  While all the other dolphins were jumping at the dead fish, he still bobbed up and down showing no interest in the meal.  We could see that the trainers were speaking about him and pointing at him.  Rosie from Sea Shepherd said she witnessed them force feeding him the other day so we may see that again tomorrow.

Something else that could be a serious problem is 2 dolphins who have escaped from their pens.  We don't know how long these dolphins have been loose, but they just swim around the outside of the pens that keep their friends and family captive.  We don't know why they don't head out to sea, perhaps they are loyal and refuse to leave the others.  We noticed today that during feeding time the trainers did not feed the two dolphins who are loose and when we inspected some close up photos of them their ribs were clearly visible.  When the trainers were walking around the pens with food the dolphins were jumping 6-10 feet out of the water as if to get their attention.  We are not experts on dolphin physiology but we have sent the pictures of the dolphins to a professional.  I don't think it is a good thing to be able to see the ribs on a dolphin, especially because they need blubber to keep warm, and considering these dolphins won't leave the harbor they may not be getting enough food if the trainers aren't bothering to feed them.  We will wait to here more about this dolphins condition and will update soon.

The police were kind of aggressive with us today.  They pretty much follow us around where ever we go, and the police we have met so far have been extremely friendly.  Today the dolphin trainers called them because they don't want their pictures taken and the police are trying to force us to stop taking pictures when the trainers are out there.  They say it is because Japanese morals say it's not ok to take a picture of someone who hasn't given permission.  Morals?  From these people who are mistreating wild animals?  Well this makes it a little bit difficult because we need to take pictures of the trainers feeding and treating these injuries.  We will continue to take pictures for the dolphins sake, we will not stop.

Ultimately we are here for the dolphins! If the police would like to be our personal escorts around the town of Taiji, they are welcome to. All of this personal attention is costing a great deal of money!

We will continue to update as much as possible, but if you would like to help please call the Japanese embassy near you on behalf of the captive dolphins. They need to hear that it is NOT okay to treat these sentient creatures like objects for entertainment. They are all hungry and have too little space to move around.

For the Oceans,
Carisa and Marley

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