A powerful video has been released by conservationists, capturing the final moments of a terrified dolphin as it threw itself out of the sea in an attempt to escape the annual massacre at Taiji cove.
The video was taken as conservationists monitored the annual dolphin hunt in Japan, during which most of the animals are killed with a metal rod (the best looking dolphins are separated and kept for sale to aquariums). Ric O’Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project and the filmmaker behind The Cove (which brought the dolphin slaughter at Taiji to the world’s attention), shot the most recent clip, which shows a family of Risso’s dolphins as they find themselves trapped. As the Daily Mail notes, some of the dolphins attempted to escape, but found themselves on the wrong side of the deadly nets.
One young male dolphin appeared particularly distressed in the shallows, throwing himself upon an outcropping of rocks in a vain attempt to escape the slaughter surrounding him. As he continued to film, O’Barry pointed out that should he intervene, he would be immediately arrested by Japanese authorities, as the Independent notes.
“It’s not cultural, it’s not traditional, Japanese people historically have never done this kind of cruelty,” he says.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 14, 2015
Observing that the dolphin was “panic stricken” upon the rocks, O’Barry expressed that he was “heartbroken” that he could not help the animal. After a few moments, a group of fishermen made their way to the dolphin, grabbing it by its fin and moving it into deeper water. Rolling in the surf, the dolphin appears to have given up the fight as O’Barry observes that the animal is “not going to make it.”
— PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE (@Protect_Wldlife) September 14, 2015
Moments after the dolphin sinks to the ocean floor, a boat appears with a diver. O’Barry solemnly observes that the diver likely has a knife, and has been sent to end the dolphin’s life. Shaken by what he has witnessed, O’Barry said he was heartbroken at the dolphin’s death.
“This is so stressful. This is so difficult to witness. I almost got in the water. I almost got in the water and maybe I should have. I guess I blew it.”
The annual hunt in Taiji has taken place since 1969, but was brought to widespread attention by O’Barry’s film. In the ensuing years, numerous protests have been staged, criticizing Japan for allowing the mass killing of dolphins.
[Photo by Vimeo / The Dolphin Project]