As the annual Taiji dolphin hunt begins in Japan, a video of a dolphin making a feeble, last ditch attempt to escape has been caught on camera. The heartbreaking video captured by Ric O’Barry, the founder of The Dolphin Project and the star of the 2009 film The Cove captures the final moments of a Risso dolphin that throws itself at the feet of Barry — who is standing among a crowd of journalists who have arrived at Taiki to cover the annual dolphin hunt. According to Ric, the dolphin seen in the heartbreaking video is one of the first victims of this year’s dolphin hunt.
The video, which we have embedded above is not graphic in nature — but is sure to leave the viewers shaken. The video of the dolphin was captured on Friday, The Dodo reports.
In the video, you will also be able to see that an entire pod of Risso dolphins have been herded into the infamous Taiji cove. According to Ric, the animals have been trapped inside a sea pen and the several layers of netted walls prevent them from escaping into deeper sea. Over the course of several hours, the distressed dolphins try hard to escape and in the process become tired — before eventually giving up. The dolphin seen in the video is visibly distressed and exhausted and is on the verge of giving up.
“This is anguish. [He’s] panic-stricken on the rocks, and I am heartbroken that I can’t get in the water and help him away from… he’s tearing his skin up. This is awful.” Ric says.
A few minutes later, a group of Japanese fishermen are seen approaching the dolphin. They yank the dolphin, grab the mammal by its flippers and prod it into deeper waters.
“That dolphin’s not going to make it,” O’Barry says. “He’s given up.”
Towards the end of the video, Ric adds that the dolphin that nearly threw itself at his feet — probably in a last attempt to save itself — had drowned. A few minutes later, a diver is also seen approaching the dolphin — probably to recover the now dead dolphin and to “slice him up” as Ric puts it. O’Barry says he feels helpless as he sees the intelligent dolphins being slaughtered mercilessly.
“I will be arrested immediately. The police are all over the place.”
An estimated 20,000 dolphins are killed every year in Japan. Several of those killings happen at Taiji alone which has become infamous over the years for the treatment meted out to dolphins. Several of the dolphins captured here are sold to zoos and marine parks as well.
While Japan claims that the dolphin hunt is part of their tradition, several activists allege that the tradition has only been in practice for a few decades. The dolphin hunt, according to them, is the monopoly of a few rich people in the area who do it under the garb of tradition.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]