September 1, 2011 – With Typhoon Talas bearing down on them, Ric O’Barry and a team of international volunteers with Save Japan Dolphins conducted a prayer ceremony in the infamous Cove of Taiji, Japan. O’Barry told the Japanese Media in the Cove, “No protest just a prayer for the victims of the tsunami but also the dolphins that are about to die — 2000 will die here.”
Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, groups gathered outside of Japanese Embassies as part of the International Day of Awareness for the Dolphins of Taiji sponsored by the social media campaign Save Misty the Dolphin and Celebrate Japan Dolphin Day sponsored by Save Japan Dolphins.
The first of the worldwide events outside of Taiji was in Auckland, New Zealand. Event organizer Kerry O’Brien has been to Taiji to witness the bloody slaughter firsthand. She and a crowd of about 50 protesters including Craig Davidson, husband of race car driver Leilani Munter, who is in Taiji with O’Barry, waved signs “Honk if you Love Dolphins” and “Let the Dolphins Swim Free” among others.
As the day went on, groups assembled outside Japanese Embassies and Consulates in London, Rome, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Montreal, Brisbane, Sao Paulo, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, The Hague, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Milan, Stockholm, and San Jose. In the United States, there were coast-to-coast demonstrations and rallies in Tempe, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, DC, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Charlotte, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Olympia and Seattle. The event in Olympia, Washington was organized by 13 year-old activist, Clayton Lundstrom. Having recently seen, The Cove Movie, Lundstrum said, “I was shocked; it just wasn’t right — I wanted to do something and not just stand by and let this happen.”
With gatherings ranging in size from 7 in Lithuania to well over 100 in London — with adults, children, babies and lots of dogs — the messages were universal: Japan, let the dolphins live and be free!
Images from the gatherings can be viewed by scrolling down the facebook page of Save Misty the Dolphin.
Recently obtained quotas from Japan reveal that Taiji is authorized to capture more than 2000 dolphins between now and March 2012.
Weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of the thousands of event participants are the dolphins being held in seapens in Taiji. These animals are being trained to perform in captive facilities. Typhoon Talas is now generating 20-foot waves in Taiji. Tim Burns, who is in Taiji with the Save Japan Dolphins Team reports, “Dolphins getting tossed around in the pens at Dolphin Base. We talked with the trainers, they had not fed them yet, because of safety issues of getting out on the pens with the surge being so strong. Anywhere else in the world, they would be released and try to recover after the storm. But here in Japan, they will just eat them if they die in the pen.”
Following the March disaster in Japan, a storm surge in Taiji killed approximately 28 dolphins that had been trapped in the seapens.
Save Misty the Dolphin is urging people all over the world to contact their Japanese Embassies to request that immediate action be taken to save the lives of the Taiji Dolphins.