Hello everyone and welcome to Operation Kibou! For those of you who are unaware. This is a blog that will, for the next six months, will be all about the conservation and preservation of whales, sharks, and dolphins. If anything major happens regarding in the realm of manta ray or bluefin tuna conservation I will make note of it here as well. Some things to look forward to in this campaign include following Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign as well as plenty of blogs about dolphins and sharks as well.
If this is your first time reading one of my blogs I'd like to welcome you. I started this blog a couple of years ago as a blog dedicated to saving sharks. From there it has expanded to include whales, dolphins, manta rays, and most recently bluefin tuna. The blog itself is based on facts unless I state otherwise. Some of the blogs will be opinions on news, others will be news, some will possibly be first hand experiences, and some will just be informational. So a little bit more about the author of this blog. As you might have guessed, I am a supporter of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I have my own opinions on certain things such as animals in captivity and commercial fishing that would probably set some people off, so I will try to keep those opinions out of this since I want this blog to be as neutral as possible towards those topics. The exception to that is long line fishing industries. Those I openly oppose. I do not get paid for this blog, so I do all of this on my own free time and on occasion I may get bogged down with something and may not be able to post for a while. If that happens, chances are it will pretty much be without warning. As a result something new that I think I am going to start up for this campaign is a Facebook group that will allow me to communicate with people who read this blog easier. I'll post details about that when I get around to it. Now onto the campaign!
Operation Kibou will take place from today (September 1st) through sometime in March. This blog will, as noted above, be centered on whales, sharks, and dolphins. The main message of this campaign is that we all have to have hope. If you've noticed, the background image of this blog has six very distinctive pictures. The two pictures on the left depict a minke whale that has been harpooned by a Japanese whaling ship and a minke whale swimming freely and happily in the sea. The middle pictures depict hundreds of shark fins on a roof in China. Below, a shark swimmingly freely and happily in the sea. The right depicts the cove in Taiji, Japan running red with blood from hundreds of slaughtered dolphins. Below, a dolphin swimmingly freely and happily in the sea. The above three pictures are what these animals are facing. The three below pictures are how these animals should be. There is still hope for all of these animals, but something more than what is being done now needs to be done. Whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and other areas around the world needs to stop, shark finning needs to end worldwide, and the dolphin slaughter in Taiji and other places around the world needs to end. There is still hope for all of these things to happen, but it is only through education and direct action that this hope can be turned into a reality. Countries need to crack down on the people who are breaking local and international laws regarding these animals. The only way that will happen is if enough people are aware of the situations going on in the world. That is where Operation Kibou comes in. So once again welcome to Operation Kibou!
Sadly, this campaign starts with sad news. Early this morning in Taiji, Japan, Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians broke news that despite rain and wind, Japanese fisherman have rounded up 60-70 bottlenose dolphins in the cove. The fate of these dolphins will be only one of two things. They will be killed or sold into captivity. For those of you who do not know, every year from September through the spring, Japanese fisherman in Taiji, Japan will kill 2,013 dolphins for human consumption and those that are not killed will be sold into captivity. There are several issues with this annual slaughter.
One is that at this point in time, there is no reason to still be taking dolphins out of the wild. Dolphins do breed in captivity and I feel that for us to still be taking these animals out of the wild is unneeded. (It's kind of tough to not voice my opinion on captivity regarding these animals since it holds so much importance to this slaughter) India made a very bold and interesting move recently that declares dolphins and other Cetaceans as "non human persons". This move banned all dolphin shows from the country and rejected all dolphinariums and marine parks, forcing ones that are in existence in the country to close. The reasoning for this is the extreme intelligence and sensitivity that these animals have. The move also bans any form of fishing or capturing of those animals in Indian waters. Several smaller nations have also banned dolphin shows including Costa Rica, Hungary, and Chile. Japan however continues to slaughter and distribute dolphins around the world.
The second major issue of this slaughter is just how it is done. Japanese officials claim that the process in painless. The reality is that the process is sometimes over 10 minutes of pure Hell. From this point on I warn that there is some very graphic images. I will be trying to paint a picture for everyone as to what exactly goes on in the cove. If you are not good with the sight of blood or animal cruelty at it's worst, I strongly suggest scrolling down until there is a line of stars that will signify the end of images and the horrific story that goes along with them. The line of stars below will be a final warning...
After being herded into the cove, the dolphins are roped off. Often times families are split with mothers being torn from their children. Prior to this, the dolphins are herded by fisherman banging anything from pots and pans to the sides of boats. The banging puts the dolphins into a panic and disorients them. This will continue until the dolphins are herded into the shallow waters of the cove.
Dolphins are then selected by trainers from marine parks around the world. This is where the vast majority of the money comes from as dolphins sell for a very high price. As you can see the dolphins are caught up along side boats and shipped to a training station before being shipped to the marine parks. Some of the things that take place in the training stations include forcing the marine mammals to perform behaviors out of water. While that is going on, back at the cove the slaughter starts.
Dolphins will be stabbed multiple times by spears. An act that Japan claims quickly kills the animal, but video and photographic evidence proves otherwise.
Divers will use knives in an attempt to kill the animal.
In a fierce struggle for survival some dolphins will throw themselves against the rocks.
The slaughter continues until all of them are dead.
The pristine blue waters of the cove become blood red as each and every dolphin that was not sold are killed.
This sign floats in the cove claiming that the dolphins are nothing more than property.
Not an ounce of mercy is shown to these desperate animals. In the end they will all die and this is the fate that awaits all of the dolphins currently in the cove that are not selected to be sold into captivity.
So that is it. Those are the two things that are horribly wrong with this slaughter. For you guys that skipped over the images, the bottom line is that all of the bottlenose dolphins that are not in the cove to be sold to captivity will die an incredibly brutal death. Still though hope remains. What happens to the dolphins after they are killed is for another blog, but the thing that is most important is that there are people fighting for these animals. The world, literally, is watching what is going on in Taiji. Countries are starting to ban dolphin shows which means the fisherman are starting to feel the pressure. The last thing these fisherman want to see is countries, especially large ones like India, banning their trade. The more the public is aware of this slaughter, the more that can be done about it. What can you do to increase the hope for these animals? For one you can follow the Cove Guardians on Facebook. You can also visit seashepherd.org and follow along with their Operation Infinite Patience. Or you can really do a number and encourage people to watch the Cove Guardian Live Stream from the sight of the slaughter itself. For how to do that visit the Cove Guardians Facebook page.
Though the intro to this campaign is certainly a sad one, hope remains. Operation Kibou is underway, Let's all work together to put an end to this and other slaughters around the world. Stay tuned here for updates on the slaughter in Taiji and other dolphin conservation happenings around the world. My next blog will probably be the first shark blog of this campaign unless something big happens in Taiji. Thank you all for reading and let us all have hope that these horrific actions will soon come to an end.