Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How they die

They stab a 40 cm pin into the dolphins brain a couple of times... than plug the hole to prevent blood loss, not that they care about it, it's just they don't want the water to turn red that much, it attracts activists.

The dolphin doesn't die immediately, the animal suffers extremely for the next minutes!
And this is tolerated by us humans? Worse: this is actually approved by the Japanese government?

(footage by atlanticblue.de)

A question to the Japanese readers

I notice this blog gets read a lot by Japanese people, I can see it in the records. From all the views in the past 24 hours, half of them are coming from Japan.

My curiosity rises, I would like to know why you people are following. Are you Taiji Fisherman? Are you journalists? Are you normal Japanese civilians who maybe don't approve it either?
I'm making a request here: please write me on ch.heylen@gmail.com; let me know what your Japanese opinion is about the daily brutal dolphin killings, about the captivity of dolphins and about us cove guardians trying to bring an end to it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The butchers

They've become really good in covering things up in Taiji. I'm guessing there are more tarps used than the village has fishermen running around.
Everything from the dolphin killing that can be covered is hidden for us. They've placed nets, tarps, plastic containers, curtains,... whatever can be used to keep it from being seen.
They call it tradition, something they have been done for many generations long, a tradition on which they are proud. But now, since "The Cove" has send the cruel and horrible killings out into the world, all of a sudden it becomes a tradition that has to be continued under a tarp. Because they know: one picture says so much about what is going on there. One picture can make a human turn away in revolt.

The next series of pictures I've taken at 2 of the meat buyers houses... the first one ran for the doors but came to late. The other one was processing the dolphin meat in the open and didn't even have a clue that I was standing in front of him. So I took my time to shoot a few seconds of movie as well.

The meat you see is from Risso's dolphins that were swimming freely about 5 hours earlier.
You can still see them swimming (for there lives) on my blog of monday November 21st.
(By SSCS campaign regulations, the pictures got released only today)

for a video of the butcher in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUi5MAk_agU

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dolphins suffer in captivity

The 3rd day in a row that the banger boats came back without dolphins... The amount they bring in is going down and we can only applaud this.

We went to have a daily look at our friends at the Dolphin Base, where over 20 dolphins are kept in very small pens. You can see they are borred, they have no space, they don't belong there.

I wanted to post something about this issue here, but i can't bring it better together than how it is done on this site: http://www.squidoo.com/dolphins-suffer-in-captivity

If you care about dolphins, if you care about animals, read it and try to inform people from now on not to visit any more dolphinaria. As a kid I was amazed to see a bottle nose dolphin doing tricks at the Antwerp zoo, but i didn't know any better... We should not make the same mistake with the upcomming generation. We should decline dolphinaria and encourage whale and dolphin watching all over the world, so that children can go look at them in the free world instead of getting to know them in a swimming pool.

Some pictures from today:

Playfull creatures
The pilot whale was faced to a corner, floating in this position for a long time. I don't believe this whale feels really good in his prison cell

 If the have a toy, they 'll play with it

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sometimes they just don't find dolphins

I was on Takababe hill, right next to the cove, watching the horizon; keeping an eye on the banger boats when a Japanese man came to take some pictures from the morning view. I must say it's really an astonishing view there...
I introduced myself and we got in a small conversation. He was single and coming from a town somewhere north of Tokyo. I told him I was spotting dolphins and he seemed pretty interested to spot them them with me. I told him that many times around 10am a pod passes right next to the cliff, chased by some boats that bang on metal sticks.
His eyebrows raised... So I continued and explained that these banger boats drive the pod in the cove and slaughter the dolphins. The man made a friendly bow and told me good bye.

It became one of the good days. It's actually a real pleasant feeling to see the boats come back one by one.
Sometimes they just don't find dolphins...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A good day

The killers came back without any catch today, seems the wind was picking up and it got a little to rough for them to continue the hunt.
What a delightful feeling to witness them appear on the horizon not forming a formation.

The cove stays quit for the rest of the day...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Risso's again...

This morning they drove in another pod of Risso's dolphins. About 15 dolphins were pushed towards the cove. But what happened today, no cove guardian had witnessed before.
Normally the drive from the harbor to the cove takes about 30 to 45 minutes, this time it took the killers up to 4 hours to drive them in! Several dolphins managed to escape 4 times. They went deep and long, the killers lost track, they swam past the nets, under the nets, even one time 2 of them struggled themselves over the nets.
Me and Thomas were standing guard at the cove to keep an eye from a different angle and saw the boats goin' back and forward without any sign of dolphins... Rosie kept us updated from uphill, she had a view from above.
She said: "2 dolphins and a young one are on the other side of the nets... but they won't leave, they can go but they will not leave without there family members"
They really put up a big fight today. Still, in the end about 7 or 8 dolphins couldn't escape and got killed.
We noticed at least 2 very young ones were part of the group, we have no prove of them getting killed either or if they were taken for captivity. The dolphin trainers came in before the killing, which normally means they come to pick out "the best ones", but they left in a skiff with nets... not with a young dolphin.
I'm hoping for really bad weather tomorrow... and the next days...

Paul Watson on the Cove Guardians

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Striped, energetic, gorgeous, playful, intelligent, wild, innocent, free, mysterious, strong... and now dead

Today the dolphins put in a lot of fight. Just past 7 already we saw the banger boats driving a pod of dolphins. During several hours it seems that the killers were getting a hard time: we noticed the pod managed several times to escape by splitting up. Still the fast swimming mammals are no match to the powerful boats. When the killers managed to drive a pod of around 20 striped dolphins towards the shore, the hope on any more escape became smaller by the second.

However, just before they reached the cove the dolphins dove deep and disappeared for a while. You could see the killers looking 360° around as they lost them, the boats backed up... Than a few rised to the surface on the cove's entrance but no more than 7 to 10 of them... These drew the killers attention and they continued the drive. We're guessing half of them got away right there at the last moment.

But if it is 7, 8, 10 or 20 dolphins...each one is one to many. They should never have been there in the first place.
Once they close the net we know that it's over for them.

The thing about these striped dolphins is that they're really energetic and fast. This results in panic reactions that can lead to horrible scenes.
As they get driven further and further into the cove they see there space shrink and seek a way out. They are so in shock that they start jumping on the sharp rocks surrounding the cove. This leads in serious wounds that colors the water instantly.

Due to the fact that the killers placed a lot of bamboo on the hills and that we are being watched by a number of policemen we can't get any closer to see clearly what happens. Not that we ask any questions, we know what happens...
Once a dolphin hit the rocks, the divers go to pull them back in the water, tie a rope around their tale and hand it over to the skiff.

This was the first victim of today's slaughter, a juvenile striped dolphin...

Wounded by the rocks it get's dragged under the tarps where the killers do the rest

The others have no choice but to listen to it happening...and wait their turn

Maybe some of you wonder why I bring this story like this? It maybe all seems pretty sensation minded...but this is what happens, the images don't even show the real horror, they don't even give an idea about the screaming. I don't really want to soften it all up. I would like to share the things that happen in the way that I experience them.

For them who saw "The cove" know that it's horrific. Those who haven't seen "The Cove" yet and want to know the full story of Taiji's dolphin killings, please go and watch it. That documentary made the turn in this violence, it made many including me come to Taiji and will hopefully be the origin for the ending of dolphin killings around the world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today I witnessed how it's is been done...

About 11 killer boats left Taiji harbor this morning a little after 6. When I watched them sail out I had a bad feeling. They looked to confident... maybe 4 days without a catch did something to there motivation...

This is the story that shows the last 4 hours of  14 Risso's dolphins.
We took position on the far north east spot of town, where the whole ocean is in front of us. It was already at 7h45 that we noticed them back on the horizon, coming towards shore in 1 line: they were driving a pod of dolphins.
We drove to the hill south east of the cove to follow how they brought them in.
The killer boats are lined up and push the pack forward, the boats on the side keep the pod from going the wrong direction.
There's really not much chance for the dolphins to escape, if you see how the boats are spread out.
And it isn't really an honest fight, is it?
When the drive gets to the harbor they have to make a turn to the right (towards us) the pod goes down and the boats hold there speed...
A couple of brave dolphins manage to escape and head out for open ocean again!
But one killer spots them and starts the chase
The rest of them follow in a blink of an eye
It takes less than a minute to pass them and make them turn around
Meanwhile a skiff already heads for the cove to start preparing the tarps.
The place where the actual killing takes place is completely covered, nothing remains visible
The 2 brave ones than join the rest of the pod in front of the harbor
And all of them are getting pushed along the shore towards the cove
 By this time the dolphins are already on the run for almost 2 hours

They reach the cove entrance

Than the first net gets rolled out
Still trying to flee, but it get's clear...
...that there is no more escape...

The pod gets pushed deeper into the cove
 Beautiful Risso's...
All 14 of them...
From this point it is only 20 meters more before we loose contact with the dolphins
The last time I saw them alive
Only 15 minutes later a skiff brings out the first 6 bodies and hands them over to the larger killer boat
A second skiff brings 4 more bodies
And the last 4 come with the third...

The butcher house remains closed on all sides, everything is covered and shielded while the dolphins get cut to pieces inside
From where I was standing I could get a glimpse of what happened behind the tarps... I watched the first meat buyer enter the butcher house, where the fresh meat for her is waiting in yellow bins.
I'm sure the meat is still warm when it leaves in the back of the truck
4 more trucks come after this to pick up dolphin meat

Yesterday I wrote that I didn't wanted to witness it... now that I've seen it, it only got more clear that what happens in Taiji is beyond words. It must stop.