Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 15: Gone psychotic

Well, there is never a dull day in Taiji, that's for sure!

The dolphin killers were out today in force, and managed to find a pod. It was either a huge pod, or a money pod (like false killer whales or Pacific white sided dolphins, something they can sell to aquariums), because the hunters chased it for a very long time. After over 5 hours of searching and chasing they finally gave up and threw in the towel. We loved watching as they filed one by one back into the harbor, empty handed. After such an intense morning we were especially happy that they were unable to catch dolphins! Safe for another 24 hours at least... Dolphin killers are dedicated and hard working. They don't take days off unless there is a very good reason.

We then headed to Dolphin Base to confirm the presence of a pilot whale now living in one of the pens. Not exactly sure where it came from, but after watching for a long while we finally saw it logging in one of the hard to see corners of the pen. I guess I get to add another cetacean to the list of whales that I've seen in person. :/

The very worst part of this visit, and probably the worst thing I'll witness while here, was the pathetic existence of a dolphin named Jiyu. Rosie has been monitoring Jiyu for several weeks now, and his condition is getting worse. He is extremely emaciated, just skin and bones. Along his underside you can see the definition of his skeleton. His physical condition alone is enough to make you cry, but the most gut wrenching part is his mental health. Jiyu has gone completely neurotic. All he does is spyhop, in the same spot, over, and over, and over again. He probably spyhops once every 15 seconds or so. If the other dolphins in the pen got too close, which they often did, perhaps trying to play with him, he'd simply drift over to another corner and continue spyhopping. His eyes were not open, and he's so thin that his eye sockets are actually sunken into his head. I'm not even sure if he realized what he was doing. He certainly doesn't appear to have the energy to do this, but perhaps his mind has become disconnected from his body.

After seeing this, I was extremely distressed. I went back to the hotel to start processing footage, and Rosie stayed behind to be with Jiyu. We put out a call to action, asking people to politely phone and email Dolphin Resort and ask them to give him the medical attention he severely needs. At one point the trainers came to feed the dolphins. They paid no attention to him whatsoever, despite the fact that he was spyhopping literally right in front of where they were sitting. He did not receive any food or care of any kind.

Well, perhaps in response to the call to action, a dolphin killer in a wetsuit showed up at Dolphin Base just a few short hours later. When he saw Rosie, he left. Our guess is that Dolphin Base decided to get rid of this problem the easiest way they know how. Obviously these people are not against murder. Well now we've found out that their contact info is no longer functioning. Their telephone number is disconnected, and their website now connects directly with the blog created for information about those of us who've come here against the dolphin slaughter.

I haven't mentioned this blog on here before, so let me tell you a bit about it. It's basically meant to serve as a warning for us, just letting us know they're watching us. It has photos of us, personal info, travel details, etc. Stuff they basically shouldn't know. That's fine though, they claim all they want is for us to be aware of Japanese law and to follow it, and like I've been saying, we have a very good relationship with the police and we intend to keep it that way. As a side note, Save Japan Dolphins does not aspire to have a blog about the dolphin killers, with their photos and personal information, but if they feel they need to keep this on us, fine by me. As a side note to the admins of this blog (who I know are reading this), can I please request a better picture??? I don't so much care for that photo of myself. The only reason it exists is because I was posing with Ric O'Barry, and since you cut him out of it, it's really now just an unattractive picture of me. Feel free to grab a better one off this blog. Just a request though, of course! :)

Anyways, the night did not end there, but I won't bore you with the details. My guess is that Jiyu was either killed tonight, or will be killed sometime in the near future, and eaten. I suppose they only care to spend so much time and resources on a dolphin before they decide it is a lost cause. Such a disgrace. Just think, had they never interfered with nature, Jiyu would still be out there somewhere in that beautiful sea, amongst his pod.

Jiyu is the reason not to buy a ticket to an aquarium. Jiyu, and the countless other beautiful souls who've lost their minds and lost their lives in dolphinariums around the world so that we may be entertained. Personally, I'm at a complete loss for how anyone could get enjoyment out of another being's suffering.


  1. Heather, thank you for being there and for bearing witness to the daily tragedy that is Taiji. Don't even have the words to express how grateful I am for everything you folks do to raise awareness and to help these dolphins. Stay safe!

  2. What an incredibly difficult sight-thank you for sharing the photos that make it a reality for those of us reading. No matter how much "fun" an aquarium or zoo might seem, the pain caused from these establishments is not worth it. It's important to spread awareness about how these animals get to these places, and I appreciate you continuing to share the realities of marine life. I look forward to reading for the next few days before your trip back to the states. Stay strong and know that you are making a difference in the lives of others! :)

  3. Heather, make sure you guys capture screenshots of everything!

  4. Heather thank-you for being in such a terrible place, surrounded by so much sadness. Jiyu has already suffered so much, it is hard to imagine him on the way to the slaughter house to face the killers one last time. Taiji is filled with the most heartless people on the planet! Tear fill my eyes when I look at the pictures of Jiyu. thank-you for being there and bringing awareness to the plight of dolphins in Taiji.

  5. Jiyu seems to have had somewhat of a peanut head... Did he have that depression down the spine? Couldnt really tell from the photos here.

  6. I'm sitting here Bawling, so wish i could help them escape. Look at those eyes of frightening and terrified need help. Probably looking u wondering when you going to help us!! My heart just sank on the floor and wishing this can stop permanent. We need to keep strong and help these babies and they are counting on us. Keep the world know about this, even in Denmark. Lets keep up the good work and speak out and help as much as we can before its to late while we ran out these these babies!!

  7. Oh yes, he had a severe peanut head. The worst of it can be seen in his chest area though, where the bones are popping right out.

    I believe I can get you a list of all the known places drive hunts occur. Hang tight on that for a bit though...