Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Taiji and the Cove is Empty

By Richard O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins Coalition

Today, we had a long train ride from Tokyo to Katsura, a small resort and tuna fishing town just ten minutes from Taiji.

I rented a car and drove over to our hotel in Taiji, but first stopped at sunset to see the Cove.

And, I’m happy to say, the Cove, made infamous by “The Cove” movie, was empty. I did not have to go back to my hotel in town thinking about any dolphins that would die at dawn tomorrow.

We have what we call a “stand-off”. As long as we are here (and we are pretty sure that fishermen spotted us at the Cove this evening and phoned the news to others), the fishermen won’t go out and kill any dolphins, including pilot whales. The drive hunt is suspended for the time being.

We will be here for a few days more. During that time, we will prevent the deaths of hundreds of dolphins. The day after we leave, a German TV news crew will arrive to spend 10 days here at Taiji. We hope the fishermen will stay in the harbor and drop any plans for catching dolphins for the next two weeks, because we are present.

It isn’t practical for us to be down here all the time during the 6-month dolphin slaughter season. But we will try to be here when we hear of dolphins being herded into shore. And we will continue to ask the media to come with us.

I’m here now with several members of our Save Japan Dolphins Coalition team, as well as Australia 60 Minutes, Sky TV, and a Brazilian TV news team. Tomorrow, I will take them around to see Taiji – the Cove, of course, the Taiji Whale Museum, the harbor with the dolphin drive fishing boats, and the Fishermen’s Union building. We will be looking for dolphin meat in stores.

Let us hope that we find none.

Please consider a donation to our cause. It costs us thousands of dollars to put people in the field here in Japan, one of the most expensive countries in the world. We don’t waste your dollars on fancy publications, esoteric research, or a highly paid bureaucracy. We spend money to get results, and so far it has been money well spent!

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Thank you for your support. We are making progress in ending the slaughter of dolphins and whales once and for all.

The Cove in Taiji is empty of dolphins when we arrive at sunset on Sept. 26th — we hope it stays that way.
Photo copyright Mark J. Palmer

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