Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 5 in Taiji

And yet again another great day for wild cetaceans in Japan, the banger boats and the harpoon ship left the harbor to hunt today and came back empty handed.  GO DOLPHINS!

Again we spent the day checking on the captive dolphins at the Taiji Dolphin Hotel.  Today we saw something there that really blew our minds, and yet kind of didn't surprise us at all.  So firstly I really want to stress how much garbage we see in the water here.  Some of it I am sure is from the typhoon, but for whatever reason the water is FILLED with garbage everywhere we go and no one seems to be cleaning it up.  Today at the harbor there was so much plastic floating in the water and at least 50 dead fish floating amongst it.  We also see a huge amount of garbage floating around the dolphin pens and literally every day we have been there we see dolphins playing with garbage.  The last 3 days we have visited the Dolphin Hotel we have seen dolphins pushing around plastic bags which would get caught on their dorsal fins and they would roll around trying to get it off.  We also see the trainers picking the garbage out of the pens but today we actually saw a trainer playing fetch with a dolphin using a plastic bag.  He was actually throwing a plastic bag into their pen and the dolphin would bring it back to him apparently in an effort to teach the dolphins how to clean their own pens.

But today we saw something that really disgusted us.  A large plastic trash can that had been floating around in the water got stuck between two of the dolphin pens.  We saw one of the trainers pull the garbage can out of the water and we honestly thought that they would take it up to their dumpster or something but no.... he actually tossed it back into the ocean away from the pens, he THREW A LARGE PLASTIC TRASH CAN INTO THE OCEAN, next to the dolphins no less!!!
Is this what the people of Taiji think of the oceans?  That they are just a big garbage dump to put their trash in, to steal animals from, and to totally overfish?  Considering the treatment of these dolphins at the Taiji Dolphin Hotel why would we be at all surprised that they would throw garbage into what SHOULD be a beautiful ecosystem.  Total and complete disregard for marine life.  TOTAL AND COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR MARINE LIFE.

And to top the day off we had to watch the public come and swim with the dolphins twice.  The 4 dolphins in the middle pen are the most tame so all of the tourists get to climb in with them and ride around on their backs, grabbing on to their dorsal fins.  The first group we saw was 4 adults, but the second group was 27 high school children.  There were literally 27 people in a 60 foot by 60 foot sea pen, all at the same time, all grabbing at the dolphins.  It is very difficult to watch all this and not spontaneously combust, there are so many things wrong with this place it is almost too much to take.

The best part is we were followed by undercover police officers all day.  I am not really sure what these undercover police officers were expecting, but we knew they were police right away and when they were pretending to have a nap in their car we marched right over, tapped on their window and asked who they were.  They looked absolutely horrified we had approached them and when they showed us their badges we just started laughing.  I can't imagine a town where wild animals are being tortured and abused in the worst way and they follow us around like we are the criminals?  It's a joke.

We get the message loud and clear, the people of Taiji have ZERO respect for marine life and the oceans.  If they had any at all the beaches wouldn't look like a garbage dump and dolphins wouldn't be getting hacked to pieces and molested in cheap, filthy, roadside dolphinarium hellholes.

This place is really starting to get to me, and I haven't even witnessed a hunt yet.

Marley Daviduk
Cetacean Defense League

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