Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 16: Rest in Peace, Jiyu

As reported yesterday, we expected Jiyu, a severely emaciated and neurotic bottlenose dolphin at Dolphin Base, would be dead by today. Looks like we were right.

After watching the boats fail in their mission to find dolphins this morning, we went to find out what had happened with Jiyu. We weren't positive what we'd find, but expected one of two possibilities: 1., Jiyu would be heavily sedated and just floating around his tank, or 2., he would not be there at all. To be honest we'd hoped for the latter. If emaciation were the only issue, we would have been begging for proper treatment and medicine, however it wasn't just physical, the poor dolphin was lost in his mind somewhere. I don't know if he could have been brought back, but I do know Dolphin Base could not, or would, not have dedicated the proper time and money to try. And I know they wouldn't have rehabilitated and released him, which is what he and all of their dolphins need. So in this situation death was really the best option for Jiyu.

When we arrived at Dolphin Base we had a feeling he wouldn't be there because we walked right past another dolphin killer. I think it's safe to say Dolphin Base works closely with, or has friends who are, dolphin killers. They ought to put that on their flyers. Maybe frequent dolphin meat eaters can get a discounted dolphin show. And no, Jiyu was no where to be seen. I absolutely can't imagine any other aquarium would have taken him in his state, so it's safe to say that he was taken out and murdered like the rest of his pod. It makes me wonder if someone is eating Jiyu right now. Welcome to the world of dolphin captivity. At least Jiyu finally has the freedom he was meant to have.

It's so hard to fathom how these dolphin trainers can run around talking about how much they love dolphins. Let's see, they gave money to the people who killed Jiyu's pod, took this wild dolphin and locked him away in a tiny pen, and then let him starve and go crazy while they ignored him. Then, when the world took notice of this, they brought someone in to off him. And they call this love? That's absolutely tragic, because if they honestly believe they love dolphins, then they have no concept of what love is.

Likewise, anyone who visits dolphinariums claim to love them as well. Why don't they ever consider what the dolphin's life must be like? How can they supposedly care about something and be so disconnected?

Dolphin slaughter is not the only issue, dolphin captivity is just as bad, and worse to some. And Taiji is not the only place in the world where dolphin slaughter and capture occurs. Similar drive hunts take place across the globe, and wild dolphins are shipped to marine parks around the world, all in the name of profit. Remove money from the situation, and the pieces will crumble and fall. If everyone were to stop purchasing tickets to aquariums, the aquariums would have no money and no need to buy more dolphins. If they don't need anymore dolphins, fishermen will not be able to make the money they need to sustain their hunt. So the name of the game is education. If people can learn to understand the stressful and psychotic lives captive dolphins are forced to endure, and compare them with their social, active, wild counterparts, then hopefully they will think twice before supporting this industry.

So why are we here in Taiji? Well, this is just as good of a starting point as any, I suppose, and if we can't help an intelligent and civilized country like Japan to open their eyes to the truth, then we've got no hope for the rest of the world. I had an infuriating debate earlier today with someone who simply refused to believe and therefore care about the quality of life of captive dolphins. I know there are people like that out there; people who are so self-centered and absorbed that they brush off whatever you say, despite the science and logic backing it up. They wouldn't want to tarnish that wonderful memory of swimming with a dolphin while on vacation. They don't want to hear that this dolphin once had a family, and doesn't exist for the sole purpose of letting them kiss it and hug it and get dragged around a bathtub by its fin. They believe the lies that it is happy, and more fortunate than the others because it doesn't have to 'work' for its food. They believe this animal, who has evolved over millions of years to be perfectly adapted to its ocean environment, is actually better off in human dominated confinement. These people outright disgust me, and unfortunately they will always exist in the world. But I have to believe, I just have to, that the majority of people could and would care, if they knew the whole story, and it is up to those of us who care to teach them. And that my friends, that is why we are in Taiji.

Rest in peace, Jiyu, we can't hurt you anymore.


  1. Ohh Heather, that was such a powerful article.... I am left with tears.... thank you. I pray its' death was quiet, and quick... we can only hope poor little thing. I'm sure it was strong and healthy before those killers put it into this hell.

  2. I loved your entry. I feel the exact same way about dolphin trainers, and it makes me so angry whenever they claim to love these beautiful creatures when they are fully aware of the consequences of keeping them in captivity. They are selfish and despicable, placing their need for feeling a "bond" with the dolphins above what the dolphins really want.

    I am sure that Jiyu is in a better place now. Even though he is not here with us physically, he will always be here in spirit as we continue to fight for this cause every day.

    Take care and stay strong <3

  3. Is there a list of all the places (or countries ) that drive hunts occur?