Saturday, January 25, 2014

Operation Kibou Update Time!

Greetings everyone. I apologize again for the slowness of blogs lately. It's been a pretty crazy month and honestly I have not had the time to actually sit and type one of these up so I'm going to try to catch everyone up on what is happening in one shot. I should also have a little bit more time on my hands over the next week or so, so expect more during the week. So this blog features some good, some bad, and some ugly. Let's start with the good.

The good news broke yesterday out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. After a period of wicked weather and harsh conditions, Sea Shepherd has once again located the Japanese Whaling Fleet. Currently, the factory ship is boxed in between two conservation vessels. One of which (The Steve Irwin) is ahead of the floating slaughterhouse and the other behind (the Bob Barker). The third conservation vessel, The Sam Simon is also in the area keeping tabs on the rest of the whaling fleet. How Sea Shepherd was able to track them down apparently has to do with Australia's survey flights as Sea Shepherd claims to have had gotten information on the whaling fleet's whereabouts from the Australian Environmental Minister Greg Hunt. As they neared the fleet they also were able to follow a trail of whale guts that the whalers had thrown overboard. With Sea Shepherd on the tail of the whaling fleet, no whaling will be going on. The fleet is heading North and away from the whaling grounds once again. Last time, the fleet was able to lose the pursuit of the conservationists, but with a vessel in front of the factory ship as well as behind, it will be much more difficult for the whaling fleet to achieve. Violence however is inevitable and the longer Sea Shepherd remains on their tails, the greater the probability of a conflict becomes. Despite helping Sea Shepherd find the whaling fleet, Australia has yet to send a vessel to the whaling grounds and ensure that their waters are safe from both violence and poaching.

Bad news is that the shark cull in West Australia is set to very soon. Despite continuing mounting pressure, the West Australian government has gone ahead with it's plan to kill any tiger, bull, or great white shark that is larger than 3 meteres. Conservationists have set up a national rally day on February 1st in hopes of disrupting the installation of the lines that will be used to kill the sharks. The plan has seen a small setback as several private contractors have backed out of the plan after allegedly being scared by conservationist threats. In response to this, fisheries officers will now be tasked with putting the lines in place during the upcoming weeks.

Now for the ugly, and boy do I mean UGLY. January 17th, 2014. This was the day that a superpod of 250 bottlenose dolphins were slated to be sold into captivity or slaughtered in the cove of Taiji, Japan. Nobody could have imagined what would come about over the next 4 days.
The first half of the superpod were netted off while the second group was being herded to the cove.

Along with the adults, an infant albino dolphin was herded into the cove.

The baby albino was quickly removed from it's mother and placed in a special area as it was quickly selected for captivity. It wasn't until later that it was discovered that this baby is possibly both deaf and blind. This will drastically it's value. The current status of the baby is also unknown, but many fear that it will not survive long without it's mother.

For four days, this pod was kept from the ocean. Kept from freedom, and kept from food. They endured incredible fear and abuse as the captive selection proved to be just are frightening as the slaughters themselves. Time and time again, dolphins would get caught in the nets of the cove in a desperate attempt at reaching freedom.

Skiffs would run them over constantly. Injuring many.

For 8 hours a day for four days this would go on. Any dolphin who was found injured or undesirable was driven into the killing shore and slaughtered.

During these four days, social media literally exploded with outrage over what was going on in Taiji. For the first time in quite a while, the cove was making headlines in the news. CNN and other major news outlets ran multiple pieces on the situation and the fury that it was causing on the internet.

Caroline Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to Japan took to Twitter and expressed her deep concern over the drive hunt in Taiji.

The hacktivist group, Anonymous, launched Opertaion Killingbay Phase 2 and viciously hacked over 150 websites and even took Sea World's website offline multiple times for their failure to defend the animals they claim to love.

Japan has openly come out and finally admitted that this slaughter is not just about tradition and feeding the people of Japan. Japan has admitted that this in fact is a cull. They have stated that they are killing dolphins partially in an attempt to reduce their numbers so the fisheries will not be affected by them. This is the same thing that has been done time and time again around the world and has failed time and time again. Remove predators from an ecosystem and you will eventually have a big, big problem.

The real driving force however continues to be the captivity industry. This superpod would never have been driven into the cove if it wasn't for the captive trade. Doubt that? Okay let me lay this out for you. 52 bottlenose dolphins from this pod were taken into captivity. Each dolphin, not including the albino who would sell for much higher, can sell for roughly $200,000. Each dolphin that is killed sells for at most a couple hundred. Do the math. It doesn't take much to realize where the big money is in this madness. Take that big money away and you are looking at a hunt that would not profit Japan at all after paying the salaries of the fisherman, boat upkeep, and all of the other expenses before a dead dolphin goes to market. If anything chances are Japan would actually lose money given the fact that the demand for dolphin meat is not that high to begin with.

Out of the massive pod, 52 were sold into captivity, 41 died due to injuries, stress, etc., and 130-140 were driven back out to sea (probably due to mounting media pressure) by the same tactics that drove them in. The mother of the baby albino dolphin is dead. An unknown number of these animals will not survive the stress and horrors that will be in their memory for a long time to come. Two pods of bottlenose dolphins had to suffer 4 days of starvation, abuse, and having to endure the pain of having loved ones literally ripped away from them. The world watched the brutal captive selection and could see the cove run red with the blood of the innocent. Japan continues to defend itself from mounting pressure, but for how long will they be able to keep it up? How long until this disgusting spirit that the government of Taiji is finally brought down a notch? Something is going to have to give soon. People, myself included, are growing tired of waiting and some are becoming simply outraged. The media has it's eyes back on Taiji, which has scared the fisherman.

Taiji fisherman have not commented to the media about the killing. They have apparently been running and trying to hide everything behind tarps. Then the Taiji government claims that it is a proud tradition. If they are so proud of it... Why hide it? They tried to say that the superpod was the last of the hunt for the season, but that fooled no one as conservationists were quick to alert the media that the dolphin hunt runs through March. All eyes are on that small cove in Taiji, Japan. Conservationists smell blood in the water and are now in a frenzy of spreading the word about the horrid slaughter.

So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the... God awful ugly... That also catches you all up on what's been going on with Operation Kibou. I've been incredibly busy on Twitter doing my part to spread awareness for the dolphins of Taiji. At times Twitter looks like a war zone between trolling robots and conservationists. Literally robots programmed by people to tweet about the good things in whaling and the dolphin hunt. I.E. the Yushin Maru No. 1's Twitter account.

So before I sign off for the night, I'd like to inform you of a new operation that Anonymous has launched. The operation is called Operation Funkill #OpFunKill . This operation stands against animal cruelty of all kinds. Whether it is shark finning, the Taiji dolphin slaughter, the ivory trade, lion poaching, etc. OpFunKill will be making a stand against it. These are hacktivists and activists who have had enough of sitting and watching as the natural world burns. Feel free to visit their website here and until next time, I bid you a fond farewell!  

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