My second week in Taiji, the dolphin hunters found a large pod of several hundred Pacific white sided dolphins. Eight bangers, four skiffs and a few hours later, two of those dolphins were stuffed into the Fisherman's Union harbor captive pens I mentioned in my post. The boats chased the dolphins down, circled them and entrapped them with progressively smaller nets until they were relatively easy to wrestle into the skiffs.
Everything else aside, that black smoke the bangers constantly fart out pisses me off to no end.
White sided dolphins are stronger and fight more than bottlenose, so the hunters take them while they're still at sea instead of driving them into the cove where they may damage themselves on the rocks. Once they had the dolphins restrained in the skiffs (a diver had to lay on top of one of them to keep it from moving too much), they took them to the harbor pens, which they had intentionally blocked with their gutting barge so we couldn't record the transfer. I managed to get a couple of small peeks anyway.
As you can see, the dolphins got rather bloodied; probably from the divers tangling them in the nets so tightly they cut into their flesh, then yanking them out to restrain them in the pads.
They were left in these small pens overnight. The next day, there was more action than usual in the harbor: they were preparing to transport the two new dolphins.
To another pen of the same size, just a few meters away.
No, I don't understand it either.
The one thing I do know if that they injected the dolphins with something while they were between pens. My guess is that it's either antibiotics to prevent the wounds they got the day before from getting infected, or a sedative. I kept an eye on the pens for quite a while after the transfer and didn't see any activity. Either way, it was something no dolphins should ever have in their system. Dolphins don't get injections in the wild!
Since I left Taiji, the remaining Cove Guardians have been monitoring the dolphins' condition. From the most recent report on Operation Infinite Patience:
Every day since the kidnapping, we have seen many trainers and vets examining, medicating, and tube feeding one of the dolphins. We know it is a female and that she is refusing to eat. White-Sided Dolphins do not adapt very well to a diet of dead fish. Each morning divers are in the water with a long tube that they insert into her mouth. She fights and the splashing grows intense during the process. As soon as they are finished, the tube is removed and she is again swimming with her captive companion. The two swim side by side in circles. Clinging to one another, consoling each other like prison cellmates. We will continue to update everyone on her progress and details of her condition.
This is unacceptable. I know I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: keeping animals in captivity is NOT OK. These dolphins should be in the sea, eating live fish and swimming miles and miles, not in pens, being forced to perform, after being battered and beaten and watching their families' slaughter. Please do not support dolphinariums, swim with dolphins programs and parks that keep captive dolphins, like SeaWorld. Thank you.