Friday, December 16, 2011

Japanese Police Are Getting Desperate in Taiji

Erwin Vermeulen - The First Cove Guardian Arrest

Erwin VermeulenSea Shepherd Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen, a citizen of the Netherlands, was arrested today in Taiji, while attempting to take photos of Risso’s dolphin being transferred between holding pens in the sea and the Dolphin Resort Hotel.

An employee of the Dolphin Resort Hotel merely accused Erwin of shoving him and this allegation was immediately acted upon. The police handcuffed Mr. Vermeulen and took him to the Shingu police station where he is currently being held. He has been denied a lawyer and visitation rights, even from the Dutch Embassy.

Under Japanese law, Erwin can be held for 28 days before being allowed to speak with a lawyer.

The arrest seemed pre-planned. No witnesses saw Erwin shove the employee and Erwin was not even questioned. The police simply approached him and took him away. Out of compassion for the dolphins being slaughtered in Taiji, Erwin Vermeulen travelled to Japan at his own expense to devote his time and energy to the Cove Guardian mission.

The Cove Guardians are now half way through their 2nd year in Taiji. Operation Infinite Patience is clearly wearing down the nerves of the Japanese fishermen, local politicians, and the police.

Operating inside Japan requires a completely different approach, and patience is the key to success. The Cove Guardian mission is to be ever present, recording every activity, and constantly on vigil in the face of the dolphin killers, day in and day out, for as long as dolphins are being killed. All Cove Guardians are cautioned that every move must be nonviolent and within the boundaries of Japanese law.

Last year, the Cove Guardians were present in the killing cove for six months, cutting the number of dolphin kills in half, and this year they have been on vigil since September 1st. Many dolphins have been saved.
The key to the success of this mission is in not handing the authorities any excuse to expel the Cove Guardians. For that reason, every precaution is taken to avoid breaking any laws. Erwin Vermeulen did not break any laws. He was conveniently accused of doing so. Which law, we do not know, because the Japanese police refuse to divulge that information.



All we know is that Erwin was trying to take photographs of the dolphins when he was approached by police, handcuffed, and taken to the Wakayama Prefecture police station, where he has not been seen or heard from since.

Earlier this year, when Cove Guardian Rosie Kunneke was assaulted by a Taiji fisherman, her assailant was questioned and immediately released. This clearly indicates a double standard at work, with the law being applied discriminately and unfairly against the defenders of the dolphins.

Tensions are building and it appears that the police are testing the waters. They want to see what the reaction of the international public will be before making their next move.

The police have a dilemma. How do they get rid of non-violent dolphin defenders who have not broken any laws, but are clearly disrupting the horrific, cruel slaughtering practices of the Taiji fishermen?

Arresting Erwin may be the first move in a new strategy to deter the Cove Guardians by accusing them of false offences.

The Cove Guardians will not be deterred. Original Story posted: Sea Shepherd.org

 If you are reading this, please share this message, please post to your own Social Media Sites, share on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any connections with the press, please forward the link to the story!

Thank you for sharing your love of dolphins
For The Love of Dolphins
@DolphinsLoveUs
Facebook/DolphinsLoveUs

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kill The Bill - Not The Sea Lions

KILL THE BILL - NOT THE SEA LIONS





HR 3069 would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow the LETHAL REMOVAL of California Sea Lions from the Columbia River. Their crime - eating salmon!

PLEASE CALL YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND URGE THEM TO OPPOSE HR 3069: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3069

TO LOCATE YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS GO TO: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ~ HELP SAVE THE SEA LIONS! THANK YOU!!!!


Taken Directly from Facebook - To Stay Informed please visit their page
Save the Bonneville Sea Lions 
If you want to read the bill before you call/email congress here is the link: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3069If  you want to read the bill here is the link: 

This post was inspired by my good friend Sandy McElhaney 


Stay Passionate
Jackie Bigford
Animal Passionist
@Luv_Dolphins
Dolphins Love Us - Facebook

Bottlenose Dolphins Slaughtered at The Cove


Update October 4, 2010: It is now thought the large pod of dolphins slaughtered in “The Cove were striped dolphins and not bottlenose. The striped dolphin is known to have a very low survival rate in captivity. 



October 3, 2010 Today Tia Butt of Save Japan Dolphins and Rosie Kunneke, and Sarah Legg  of the Cove Guardians, reported real time from The Cove that 28-30  dolphins were driven into “The Cove” inTaiji, Japan where they were brutally slaughtered. Although the fisherman had built walls to keep watchful eyes out the activists could hear the bottlenose dolphins, mothers, children, and infants thrashing in the water as the dishonorable fisherman of Taiji stabbed them until they were immobilized and then sliced out their spines causing an agonizing death lasting at time up to 10 minutes.
Please watch this video made by Dieter Hagmann last winter to understand the terrible truth about the dolphin drives in taiji:





 One dolphin was spared today. That one dolphin will pay for the gas, and all expenses for todays hunt bringing in close to $200,000 from a swim with dolphins program, marine park, or aquarium. The dolphin spared today will be put into a tiny sea pen where his training through food deprivation will begin. Then in one years time he or she will be packed in iced and shipped to a life of captivity and slavery, an early death being certain. Please watch A fall From Freedom a movie that documents the connection between SeaWorld and the dolphin drives of Japan  http://afallfromfreedom.org/.
We must work with the people of Japan to end this cruel slaughter. By supporting Japanese businesses that are promoting eco-tourism and dolphin appreciation we can demonstrate that supporting the dolphins in the wild can be profitable. Please support Izumi Ishii because he is our hope for the future. His t-shirts are wonderful and his tours are taking the Japanese coastlines away from whaling and towards eco-tourism.

Izumi Ishii A Champion for Dolphins

http://kohkaimaru.com/?profile&l=2
http://www.freewebstore.org/We-Are-Free/WE_ARE_FREE_TEES/cat930749_829978.aspx
Please Join the movement to save the dolphins of Taiji
http://www.savejapandolphins.org/
And if you haven’t already please watch The Cove
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cove/
Please send love, energy, and strength to the one remaining dolphin of the pod as he or she swims in the blood of their loved ones wondering what kind of monster is this creature that walks on land. She or she has many years of sorrow and pain ahead. This pod will never be forgotten.

Guest Post by Kirsten Massebeau
Champions for Cetaceans

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SeaWorld TIED Directly to the Annual Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Japan

The filmmaker, Stanley M. Minasian, is dedicated to educating the public on these and other critical issues, and is fully supportive of any efforts made to help these animals that have no voice of their own. And remember, there is nothing that you might choose to do that is so small that it won’t make a difference.  It all matters – from signing petitions to showing up in person in Taiji – it will help.

Below is the trailer of this visually stunning movie, for the full free version A Fall From Freedom




Narrated by Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H, Providence), A Fall From Freedom digs deep into the history of the captive dolphin and whale industry. Topics covered in the film include:
-Sea World representatives secretly promoted the Japanese dolphin drives where thousands of animals are driven to shore and brutally killed, in order to provide their parks with replacement animals, says Dr. John Hall, former Sea World biologist.
-There is no educational value to having whales or dolphins in a captive environment, states former Sea World biologist Dr. John Hall and former Sea World killer whale trainer Dr. John Jett.
-Contrary to the claims of many marine parks and aquariums, captive killer whales die far more frequently and at a far earlier age than they do in the wild, says Dr. Naomi Rose, biologist for Humane Society International.
-Sea World has been involved in illegal and unethical actions to assure their parks are well stocked with killer whales, states former Sea World biologist Dr. John Hall.
-The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums has worked tirelessly to reduce government oversight on the health and well-being of captive whales and dolphins, states Dr. Naomi Rose.
-Sea World representatives have claimed that whales and dolphins are not highly intelligent, sophisticated, and social animals. Dr. Lori Marino, a leading expert on killer whale intelligence and social dynamics, asserts that their intelligence and social dependence is second only to humans.
-Sea World and other marine parks claimed that the rehabilitation and release back to the wild of Keiko, star of the Free Willy movie, was a failure from the start. Dave Phillips of the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation argues that the project was a rousing success, which proved that these animals can be taken from captivity, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
For Original Story: Reprinted from http://blog.seattlepi.com

Stay Passionate
DolphinsLoveUs
@DolphinsLoveUs
@Luv_Dolphins

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dolphin Midwives and Underwater Birth

Igor Charkovsky, a Russian male mid-wife has assisted in over 20,000 underwater births, but in 1979 he began experiments with dolphins and children. His daughter, one of the first modern water-birthers, was in her late twenties when the following incident happened. Charkovsky and his team had taken a woman to the Black Sea in Israel for an underwater birth. In two feet of water, preparing for the birth, suddenly three dolphins approached, pushed everyone out of the way and took over. They scanned the length of her body (with sonar?), which somehow relaxed the mother and child and gave birth with no pain or fear. Apparently all the human midwives were pretty shocked though. This opened up the new practice of ‘Dolphin mid-wivery’ which may sound strange, but fits in with the new breed of super-children that are currently coming in to existence.

For some reason, dolphins are attracted to pregnant women and young children and as most people are aware, the dolphins can also help heal people with mental and psychological problems. But the children, who are being born with the aid of dolphins, at least with the cases documented in Russia, are extraordinary children. Most of the have IQ’s of over 150 (genius range again), plus extremely stable emotional bodies and strong physical bodies. They are superior in one way or another.

The below video shows a dolphin assisting a mother in giving birth underwater



There are videos that document these babies and children up to age three, sleeping on the bottom of swimming pools. They even come up for air whilst still asleep and turn their heads over the surface of the water, take a breath, then go back to the bottom. It is as though this is their natural home. Some people call them ‘Homodolphinus’ , because they seem to have the characteristics of humans and dolphins. Water is becoming their natural environment, plus they are also super intelligent.

There is ample evidence that humans once had a much more intrinsic connection with water. Charkovsky believes that mans close affinity with aquatic animals can be explained by our common origins in water in our mammalian history. In the book The Aquatic Ape, Elaine Morgan gives a fascinating account of the aquatic theory of evolution. According to Morgan, our aquatic affinity goes back millions of years to the Pilocene age, when our ape ancestors lived a semi-aquatic life on the coastline to escape the extreme heat which occurred due to climatic change. By wading in the sea, our ancestors began to walk upright and lost their body hair and developed a layer of sub-cutaneous fat like other aquatic mammals, to protect them from the cooler temperatures of the water. Today, we still have this layer of sub-cutaneous fat.

Source: Wake Up World 

Stay Passionate
Dolphins Love Us
@DolphinsLoveUs
@Luv_Dolphins

Monday, August 15, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? Countdown to #TheCove

Who Do You Think You Are?
Reprinted with permission from: Save Misty The Dolphin

 AP Photo of Taiji dolphin hunters and their prey

As the days leading to September 1 dwindle down to a mere handful, the thoughts of caring people the world over turn to a small coastal village in the southern portion of Japan.  Taiji, made famous by the Academy-award winning documentary, The Cove, is ground zero for the annual slaughter of hundreds to thousands of dolphins.  




The footage in the youtube video, Who Do You Think You Are? is straight from Taiji. Warning: Graphic pictures

The numbers of the Taiji dolphin hunters are small -- less than 30.  Yet, armed with high-tech equipment, they are able to round-up and drive large pods of dolphins from their peaceful migration route in the Pacific Ocean into the shallow waters of the killing cove.  Most of the dolphins who are trapped in the cove will face a bloody death.  A small percentage will escape the spear only to face a lonely life as a performer in a dolphin show.  Dolphin trainers literally come into the Cove and hand pick dolphins to be trained.  From September 2010 to March 2011, 850 dolphins were killed in the Cove.  Another 171 were sold into slavery.
During the 2010-2011 hunt, activists were in Taiji throughout the season.  Their powerful videos and photos graphically depicted the shocking brutality of the Cove.  This year, the dolphin hunters will be supported by enhanced police and coast guard protection.
Now, more than ever, the dolphins of Taiji need YOUR support.  Please become a part of the international movement to stop the slaughter once and for all.  YOU can make a difference.  Here is how:
  1. Watch The Cove movie & share it with a friend.  Become a part of the world’s largest home screening of The Cove on September 1 by signing-up at:  
  2. Worldwide Screening of the Cove Movie on September 1, 2011
  3. Join in a peaceful protest or rally at Japanese Embassies & Consulates around the world on September 1 as part of the International Day of Awareness for the Dolphins of Taiji 
  4. Sign and share our Petition
  5. Call your Japanese Embassy and tell them to STOP the Taiji dolphin slaughter today:
In the United States call:  202-238-6700
In the United Kingdom call:  020-7465-6500
In Canada call: 613-241-8541
In Australia call: 61-2-6273-3244 
In France call: 01-48-88-62-00
In Germany call: 030-21094-0
In Italy call:  39-06-487-991
In Norway call: 47-22-99-16-00
In New Zealand call: 04-473-1540
Contact information for all other countries can be found here: 

It has been said that one person, giving all of their time to peace, makes news. Many people, giving some of their time, can make history.  Let’s make history together.  The water of the Taiji cove needs to stay blue - now and forever.  YOU can help make that happen #DolphinsLoveUs ><((((º> ♥°°°♫ ♫ .

Stay Passionate 
@DolphinsLoveUs 
@Luv_Dolphins 
Dolphins Love Us on FB 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Count Down to #TheCove - World-Wide Telephone Protest

Taken and reposted directly from FaceBook

05 August at 09:00 - 02 September at 12:00
Location
Facebook /Telephone Protest
Created by:
Kirsten Massebeau

On September 1st 26 dolphin hunters, and the horrific Whale Museum open their Season . Each year 1000's of dolphins are slaughtered and captured for dolphinariums world wide in "The Cove" . Their methods of killing are cruel beyond the imagination as seen in the newly released video by Dieter Hagmann as he goes behind the blue tarp to film a dolphins worst nightmare (warning: graphic and disturbing) http://www.atlanticblue.de​/neu/atlanticblue_01.html

On September 1st the world is standing up for Dolphins. There are 24 Events listed on Save Japan Dolphins and more are being organized everyday.

For the rest of August let us call the Japanese Embassies Monday thru Friday World Wide. Let's make them aware that the world now knows the truth about Taiji, and how they are abusing, and brutally murdering the sacred dolphins.

Urge Japan stop the 26 dolphin hunters and the Whale Museum from bringing shame on Japan!

Australia + 61 (0) 262 7332 3244

Brazil +556134424200

Canada +1 613 241 8541

Ireland 3153 (0) 1 202 8300

India 00-91-11-2687-6581/
4610-4610
Japan 03-3224-5000

London + 44 (0) 207 465 6500

Mexico +525552110028

Netherlands +31703469544

New Zealand + 64 (0) 4 473 1540

France +33148886200

Italy +39-06-487-991

South Africa + 27 (0) 12 452 1500

Spain +34915907600

Sweden +46771235235

Thailand 02-207-8500 / 02-696-3000

Venezuela +81456632988

Washington D.C. +1202-238-6900

Contact Japan Directly - Phone Numbers and Emails

Contact Emails for Japanese Universities

Contact Emails for Japanese Embassy's Around the World

When you are contacting the Embassies please use this phrase: Iruka-No-Kokyo (it means, please do not kill dolphins)
Sample Open Letter to Japanese Consulate






The Dolphin Hunters do not care that they are brutally slaughtering pregnant females, babies and young dolphins. They Have No Voice, They Need Yours ><((((º> ♥°°°♫ ♫ .

Dolphins Love Us
@DolphinsLoveUs
@Luv_Dolphins
DolphinsLoveUs on Facebook

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Countdown to Taiji Japan - The Cove

A young Italian Activist Jenni Bianki made this video about the dolphins of Taiji and September 1st.





The dolphins of Taiji need our help. The horrible and senseless slaughters at #TheCove in Taiji Japan are about to begin. The hunting season opens on September 1st. and despite what the world was hoping for after the tragic tsunami, the hunts will resume. Every year 23,000 migratory dolphins are cruelly and brutally murdered. This includes pregnant females, nursing mothers, babies and young jeuveniles..it is a horrendous site.

So what can you do to help? If you are on facebook, go over and join this page: Save Misty the Dolphin
There is a ton of information posted on this page about how you can become involved.

The same group of amazing dedicated people created this site as well preparing for the Countdown to September 1st.  There is alot of information available here as well: Count Down to Cove

And finally, if you are new to this issue and want to really understand why hundreds of thousands of ordinary people are taking action and becoming involved, you need to watch the Award Winning Academy Documentary "The Cove". To watch it free online: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com​/cove/

We encourage you to share this link with your circle of influence and if you have any Japanese friends it is a must watch.  This horrible annual slaughter will only end once the people of Japan become aware of what is happening and demand change from their Government .
Stay Passionate
@Luv_Dolphins
@DolphinsLoveUs
http://fb.com/DolphinsLoveUs

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dolphins Can Be Traumatized by Swimming with People


Dolphins are too clever to be used as performing animals in theme parks and should not be forced to swim with people because it can leave them traumatized, according to experts. 

 

The creatures have long since been thought of as the most intelligent of animals and a new study has found their brains are second only to humans in size.
Lori Marino, a neuroscientist at Emory university in Atlanta, US, will tell the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference their high intelligence means they can suffer psychological problems linked to being captured and confined.

She said dolphins could be traumatised by being kept in a theme park or by swimming with tourists.
Dr Marino said: "Our current knowledge of dolphin brain complexity and intelligence suggests that these practices are potentially psychologically harmful to dolphins and present a misinformed picture of their natural intellectual capacities.
"Dolphins are sophisticated, self-aware, highly intelligent beings with individual personalities, autonomy and an inner life. They are vulnerable to tremendous suffering and psychological trauma."
Her research could raise questions for dolphin parks offering interaction with the mammals, who have been said to have healing qualities.

Disabled people have often cited the health benefits of swimming with dolphins.

Mark Simmons, science director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "I do think we need to be very careful, not just swimming with dolphins but also watching them from boats as well.

"One of the indicators of intelligence unfortunately is that they can suffer in the same way we suffer.
"I'm quite sure they suffer in the ways that are very similar to us."

New evidence reveals dolphins have the biggest brains in the animal kingdom. For the rest of this story please read here: telegraph.co.uk

Dolphins Love Us ><((((º> ♥°°°♫ ♫ .
Stay Passionate
@Luv_Dolphins
@DolphinsLoveUs
@JackiesBuzz

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sharon Osbourne, Don’t Swim with Dolphins!

Guest Post by: Ocean Activist

Janice Oceans (on Facebook)
@janice_oceans (on Twitter)

 Sharon Osbourne recently participated in a Swim with Dolphins program and that attracted the attention of those who believe dolphins should not be forced to live in captivity. I am an ocean activist so I am in conflict with Sharon Osbourne, but I must clarify what I mean by “conflict”. I define it as something that is caused by having a different level of understanding of an issue. At first glance, Swim with Dolphin programs appear benign, but there is a darker, more sinister reality.


I am neither a fan nor a detractor of Sharon Osbourne. I understand from friends who follow celebrities that she is an articulate, hard-working professional who is extremely committed to her projects. Sharon, we have a project for you. Please join our campaign to put an end to whale and dolphin captivity.

Dolphins in captivity have a very high death rate and they suffer from pneumonia, various infections, stomach ulcers, and stress, and whales and dolphins that are born in captivity often die within the first weeks or months of their lives. Dolphins are amazing, highly social, sentient creatures and captivity causes endless pain and suffering. The optics of Swim with Dolphin programs are enhanced by smoke and mirrors, but make no mistake, there is pain behind the dolphins’ smile. 

The horrific dolphin slaughter in Taiji is driven by the live dolphin trade. I am a Cove Veteran and I have witnessed the dolphin slaughter in Taiji. The dolphins that survive this brutal drive fishery are traumatized because they witnessed the death of their families. These captives are packed in coffin-like boxes filled with ice and shipped as cargo. They then spend the remainder of their lives “dying to amuse us”.

Please watch the Academy Award winning move, “The Cove”.  If you love dolphins, seeing this movie is a life-changing experience. Here is something else you should see. PSA "My Friend Is"

Folks, we want Sharon’s support, so please, no personal attacks. I have no quarrel with Sharon, but I acknowledge we have a different level of understanding regarding dolphin captivity and we hope to close the gap.  

Sharon, come stand with the Cove Guardians in Taiji.  When you speak, people will listen. The dolphins need you because the slaughter starts again in September.

For the Oceans,
Janice

Stay Passionate
@Luv_Dolphins
@DolphinsLoveUs
@JackiesBuzz

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beyond Jaws, The Truth Really Bites!

Guest Post

By Conservation Author & Shark
Specialist Erik Brush
Erik Brush.com
The Sixth Extinction Homestead.com
Blue Videos Homestead
FaceBook Group

Bio Note:
Erik is an Author and Conservationist, Shark Advocate & Biologist in Sarasota Fla. He does Study/Research work with Elasmo branches and marine eco-systems specializing in sharks. Working in conjunction with Shark Savers, Sea Shepherds, Oceana, Wild Aid, The Global Shark Initiative, Sharks for Life, The EIA, Stop Shark Finning, and Shark Guardians etc to protect sharks and assist those protecting sharks on a global level

BEYOND JAWS, THE TRUTH REALLY BITES!

When JAWS came out in the 70’s peoples lives in the oceans changed forever. The movie grabbed the attention of audiences everywhere and cast a horrific feeling of danger in waters and beaches that people had never considered imposing before.

Suddenly there were sharks lurking in everyone’s mind as Jaws sold us on the idea that nature’s apex marine predators were out there, looking for careless swimmers who seemed deliciously oblivious to the great hunters of the deep! People were terrified of the water and sharks were on everyone’s mind for many years to come.

Even today, the stigma of a man eating mindless killing machine lurking in wait for unsuspecting swimmers is ingrained into our consciousness when we consider the oceans. People fear sharks. People hate sharks. People kill sharks and fish for them with a certain taste for adventure and vengeance that is unprecedented with most marine species.

The truth is that most people have never seen a wild shark. Most never will regardless of how often they swim in the oceans. Most people know nothing or close to nothing about sharks in general. But the picture that they do have, is so far from accurate that it is sad and amazing to those people who spend time with and studying these animals.

The thing that I always wanted to do was learn more about the animals and how they really were? Were sharks really mindless killing machines that ran on instinct like some deadly auto-piloted nightmare? Or was there perhaps something a little intrinsically deeper about these creatures? How smart are they? What are they like?

The best way to answer any question in life is to first ask, and then to seek out the best sources of information or the best experts in the subject in order to answer the question. I have done just that. My greatest allies were curiosity, intention, and a burning drive to learn everything that I could. I started to read and study on an academic level first. But this soon grew to a mass media study. Then in time I sought out the experts.

But the next powerful tool was to discover for myself. I began to swim and wade and dive with sharks. I needed to learn more and to figure out the truth. And it was not long before I began to discover just how little I really knew about them. I thought to myself, if I can have this many misconceptions and gaps in my mind about sharks, and I enjoy and seek them out as a subject of interest, then what must the common person who is oblivious think about them? The average person is still going by Jaws often enough, rather than the reality, which will paint a far different picture.

The average person does not know just how frightened of us most sharks are. They do not associate words like “shy” “scared” “mellow” or “nervous” with sharks. Nor do they associate sharks with concepts such as “intelligence” “versatility” “playfulness” or “aware”. But again, this falls hand in hand with their experience level and degree of study. The sensationalized stories are far more interesting and fuel our hungry negative stereotypes than the truth about mistaken concepts and maligned animals.

In my studies and work with sharks I have uncovered an animal that is not easily approached. A shy and elusive predator that is so incredibly sensitive and scared of us that it takes a very concerted effort to be able to approach them. I have found a creature that rewards association and patience with a kind of curious interaction that astonished and amazes anyone lucky enough to share such moments.

I know sharks that are so distinct in their behavior that they are easily picked out of a group because no matter how similar the group may appear physically, the actions speak louder than words. Some will approach and swim close, looking at you to see who and what you are. They will test you, not as a meal, but as a fellow ocean denizen to see how you react to them. It is interesting to see them and know that there is enough thought going on that they have the faculties to experiment in their interactions with you.

I know sharks that are quite social and seem to enjoy the company of divers or swimmers with whom they are familiar, while they will shy away from all others. They have their favorites and you can always tell who that person is. These sharks will willingly spend time very close to such a person. They always seem to sense the people who enjoy them the most. There is a sort of cross species friendship and enjoyment that is very rewarding and magical when it happens.

I have seen sharks take their personal relationships or interactions with a favorite diver, one step beyond. Large sharks who have actively threatened and chased off other medium to large sharks who approached too close to their human companion. I smile, as I know that this is most certainly not the image that most people have of these animals. But experience opens a world that no amount of big screen bullshit and myth can override. The Jaws idea is simply not in my thinking.

I wish that I could share a new truth about these creatures with the world. I want to tell everyone just how wrong they are about sharks and the danger levels that they represent. While one must always respect the fact that they are large predators and well capable of being aggressive or dangerous if they see a need, most are simply not inclined to treat with us on that level unless triggered or provoked.

Around the world the annual shark bite (I refuse to use the word attack because it is not appropriate for the action) rate is around 70 shark bite incidents a year. Out of these 1-5 wind up as fatalities on average. Most of these occur in water less than 3 feet deep by sharks under 6 feet in length. It is almost always in cloudy or murky water in which the shark’s vision is obscured. The bite is generally to the lower leg, foot, ankle, or hand. Most of the time the shark swiftly realizes its mistake and either releases or attempts to release and swim away. It is not always easy with a panicked swimmer jerking in one direction while a mouth full of back recurved teeth designed to catch and hold fish, is embedded in flesh and preventing an easy release. Amazingly enough, the majority of shark bites 98.9% are superficial and do not even require stitches. There is seldom ever any removal of flesh, though it will make all of the news media when such incidents happen.

The other group of shark bite encounters happens to surfers who are often mistaken for a seal or sea turtle in the surf. These are bit by the big three; the bull shark, great white, and tiger shark. In most cases the sharks soon realize that the surfer is not a fat juicy seal and they let go and swim off. The surfer returns with scare, big injuries, and again the jaws image is reinforced in the public mind. Because the public never thought to view it from the animals perspective. The public seldom asks of the surfer, “What were you thinking, surfing so close to a seal colony? Don’t you know that you look a lot like a surfing seal or sea-lion to a large predator?” It’s easier to blame the shark.

Mistaken identity is almost always the cause of most negative shark encounters. At least on the side of sharks. But the converse is quite different. More people are killed by vending machines falling on them each year ( 9 on average ) than are killed by sharks. The same holds true for car crashes, lightning strikes, dog bites, etc. But in the case of humans toward sharks the statistics are quite different. Sharks have far more to fear from us than we have to fear from them.

Right now in the worlds oceans there is a war going on. Humans verse everything else. And the biggest casualty of this war is the world’s shark population. 2/3rds of all species are down by 90-95% of what they were just 30 years ago. Sharks are vanishing at an alarming rate. They are the most hunted animal group in all of human history. 104 Million sharks are fished and killed each year. Of these 78 million are killed only for their fins, to supply the growing shark-fin soup trade in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Every fisherman in the world knows that there is a bounty on shark’s fins. Whether or not they fish for sharks directly or catch them as “bycatch” (the unintended species taken by a fishing industry targeting a certain type of marine life) they are quick to take the fins. It is an act often inflicted on the live animal. The fins cut away from the body and the shark is tossed overboard to die. Sinking into the depths, in pain and bleeding. Unable to swim. It will either bleed to death slowly or be torn apart by other predators and scavengers in the water.

Shark fins are the third highest earning illegal trade commodity on the planet next to drugs and weapons. The fins can fetch prices between $300 - $700 a kilo on the Asian market. The soup is considered a status symbol with great health and virility benefits for the consumer.

Once an extravagance that was too expensive for the common man, now with a booming economy, more and more Chinese and other Asians have disposable income, which they are willing to spend on luxuries such as this soup. It is a soup killing our oceans and in an ironic and sick twist of fate it is also killing its supporters.

This is due to the fact that as apex marine predators who are large and long lived, sharks and other similar predators, are loaded with massive amounts of toxins and pollution that have moved up the food chain. Years of ocean dumping of our chemical wastes have not caused these chemicals to vanish or dissipate. Instead the food chain concentrates these elements in its top predators. Sharks are loaded with Methyl-mercury, lead, cadmium, POPs (Persistent Organic Pollution) such as DDT and PCBs, and many other toxins.

In turn shark-fin soup is also loaded with these same chemicals. We are a twisted creature in our own right it seems. So do sharks kill humans? Yes, on occasion they do. But now in their rapid demise nature is fighting back on a much more insidious level. Dead sharks are starting to kill people. Methyl mercury is the sharks avenging ghost in a sad war in which there are no winners.

And what of the remaining sharks? Is there hope in stopping the chaos and slaughter? Is there any hope in turning the tide and bringing back balance to these animals and our oceans? The answer is yes. There is still hope for a change. Still time to correct things before the balance is irrevocably altered forever. It starts with awareness and education. It starts with a simple shift of mindset and an awareness of the reality behind the myths. Healthy oceans need sharks, and we need healthy oceans. In other words, we need sharks in order to survive as a species as well.

- Erik.


Stay Passionate
@Luv_Dolphins
@DolphinsLoveUs

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Open Letter to the International Whaling Commission






Dr. Simon Brockington
Secretary
The International Whaling Commission
The Red House,
135 Station Road,
Impington,
Cambridge,
Cambridgeshire CB24 9NP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 233 971
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 876
email: secretariat@iwcoffice.org

Dear Dr. Brockingon,

As the dates of the 63rd meeting of the International Whaling Commission approach, July 4-14, 2011, in the Channel Islands, we are writing to urge the IWC to take strong and decisive action to fully protect whales AND dolphins.

The slaughter of whales and dolphins for commercial, scientific or cultural purposes is inhumane and highly inconsistent with worldwide efforts to protect our planet’s oceans. Numerous reports have proven that whale meat is highly toxic with mercury. Furthermore, the March 11 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan resulted in radioactive water being dumped into the sea. According to a June 15 article published by the Associated Press, two Minke whales caught off of the coast of Japan were found to have traces of radioactive cesium. In the interest of public health, it is time to end the international consumption of whale and dolphin meat.

Following the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, the IWC has issued Japan, Norway and Iceland permits for scientific whaling. We strongly question the merits of this practice. Credible researchers around the world have managed to find ways to study whales without the use of lethal methodologies. Additionally, the fact that the whale meat from the alleged “research” is sold commercially further underscores the need to end research whaling. According to Darren Kindleysides of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, “Japan’s 20 years of “scientific whaling” has delivered thousands of dead whales and next to no useful knowledge of the whales they “study”. The meat is packaged and sold in the fish markets in Japan. This has more to do with sushi than science.”

Looking ahead to your upcoming meeting, we also note the questionable history of the government of Japan with regards to buying votes from international delegates to support the Japanese whaling agenda. The June 13, 2010 Sunday Times investigative article, “Flights, girls and cash buy Japan Whaling votes” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7149086.ece uncovered a wealth of improprieties conducted by representatives of the Japanese delegation. We request that investigations be undertaken and that appropriate and harsh sanctions be levied against the guilty parties. Such behavior simply should NOT be allowed within the confines of an international regulatory body.

Having observed the annual Taiji dolphin drive hunt from September 1, 2010 to the close of the season in March 2011, we furthermore call on the IWC to afford much needed protections to dolphins. The drive fishery method employed by the Taiji Fisheries Union is among the most cruel practices known to mankind. Like whales, dolphins are intelligent beings. They live in pods and nurse their young. We have witnessed pods of dolphins herded into the cove and then slowly and painfully slaughtered over the course of many hours. Calves swim in the blood of their mothers and fathers. This nightmare simply must end.

We call on the members of the 63rd International Whaling Commission to fully PROTECT all whales and dolphins. The time to END whaling and dolphin hunting on planet Earth is NOW.

Reprinted in Full from Save Misty The Dolphin

Please feel free to copy this letter and mail or email to the address above.
Stay Passionate
#DophinsLoveUs
@Luv_Dolphins

Monday, June 20, 2011

Winner 2011 Telly Awards - PSA to Free Lolita

{EAV_BLOG_VER:76341d93cc3927fd}


CONGRATULATIONS to Daniel Azarian for your two 2011 Telly Awards for this incredible PSA which raises awareness of the plight of our beloved Lolita the Orca, held captive for 40 years at Miami Seaquarium. Thanks to Sandy McElhaney for this post taken from Facebook



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cove Guardian - Alicia Barajas

Alicia Barajas is a young activist and member of the Sea Shepherd Organization. She is raising money thru the sale of bracelets to be able to travel to Taiji, Japan #TheCove to observe and report the the annual dolphin and whale slaughters set to begin September 1st. 2011. The Government of Japan issues 2,200 permits annually to the fisherman of Japan to kill or capture dolphins and whales. Below is an excert of how you can help her reach her goals. All Cove Guardians are responsible for all financial costs for their arrival and stay in Taiji.

I am accepting orders through email, twitter, and facebook and accepting payments through paypal. My prices include shipping. $7.50 for one. Two for $12.00. My current prices are for the US, Canada, and UK. If there are other countries that would like to order I can check shipping. Once customers ask for an order I will give them directions on how to send me the payment via paypal. All the proceeds will be going toward my trip to Taiji as a Cove Guardian. I have alot to sell and would love for people to share the cause with their families and friends not only for my trip but for the dolphins.

Payments accepted through:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/domethrax
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/domethrax
Email: Domethrax@aim.com


Thank you for caring about our oceans
"Saving the Seas is Saving Ourselves" Jacques Cousteau
For the Love of Dolphins
@Luv_Dolphins

Bob Barker PSA -Don't go to Seaworld

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Taiji Whaling Museum - Hell on Earth

One of the three white-sided dolphins in the 'small tank' at the Taiji Whaling Museum has died. This tank is literally 12 feet long, by 6 feet wide and they have about 4 feet of water depth. No stimulation at all. These dolphins are in a coma-like state, they won't even open their eyes. There are two left. Time to send those emails.

Here is the tank where these beautiful sentient beings are living in misery. Please help them by calling and emailing your  Japanese Embassy's in your Country the Urgent-Contact-List-Taiji-Japan


Stay Passionate
For The Love of Dolphins
@Luv_Dolphins

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hero

I am so honoured to be included in this video made by friends who are apart of a Bloggers Alliance for Dolphins and Whales. These Two Young People Inspire Me to Do Better EveryDay and it is heartwarming to me that they feel Inspired by my work and compassion to see an end to the capture, and slaughter of Dolphins and Whales for the Entertainment Industry.  Dolphins and Whales need to be free from slavery and they need to be left alone to live their lives in peace and harmony in our oceans.






Excert from the original post by Eric and Chasity A Family Standing Up For What They Believe In


Hero

Definition of Hero:


  • a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength;

  • the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem

  • champion: someone who fights for a cause 


  • These days I know that there are hero's all around us. Average people who just do the right thing. I also know that although I may find someone to be a hero, someone else might not agree. Everyone has their own idea's of what a hero is, regardless of definition. Some forgo the hero title and just call them role models. Thus, taking away the idea of super human powers and just making the person someone you should learn from and strive to be like. Regardless to how you look at it, these people should be celebrated.
      In the Activist world, there are so many people deserving of the title. From those that the world may know down to those that do so much work, but are not in the pubic eye. Today there are so many people that i look up to, for so many different reasons. I am surrounded by "Greats"! Their dedication and courage inspires me to be my best. Most of these people are there for me on a daily basis. They help lift me up when needed or are always there to just brainstorm with. I am blessed with the wisdom from the older generations and amazed by the determination of the younger ones. And although I know that none of them have super human powers, I sleep a little better at night, knowing these people are out there, fighting for our Earth.


    Stay Passionate
    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins

    Dolphin and Cat

    This charming video of the interaction between a dolphin and a cat is just so heartwarming. The Love that the Dolphin shows to this little cat is just so touching. Dolphins are not fish, they are highly evolved intelligent sentient beings and do not deserve the fate that bestows them in the waters of Japan and Norway.





     Stay Passionate
    For The Love of Dolphins

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Norway Whale Hunting Season Begins

     
    "It is disturbing on so many levels that whaling still exists in the 21st century. This barbaric practice needs to end and you have the ability to see the light about these truly magnificent creatures and really make a difference. Whales are part of the balance in our ecosystem and they are vital to our existence. They must be protected and cared for not slaughtered and butchered. They are innocent and do not deserve to be taken from this earth for human greed and consumption. There are many sustainable food sources available so the fact that they are eaten, even though their flesh is riddled with mercury, is not only an injustice to the whale, but also to the people consuming their toxic meat. I implore you to make a difference for your beautiful country and help to end whaling! Help to keep these loving creatures in the sea. I am sure one day you want your children as I do, to be able to stand at the sea and see life there not destruction… Be part of the solution not the problem." ..Niki Parker (Facebook post on the wall of Helga Pedersen)
      April 1st is the beginning of the annual whale slaughter in Norway. In definace of an IWC ban on commercial whaling, the government of Norway has authorized the slaughter of 1,286 minke whales between now and August.



    Norway has more than 100 diplomatic and consular missions located all over the world. All of these have their own websites, which provide information for the local population and for Norwegian nationals in the host country. Select the appropriate continent: http://www.norway.info/

    When you contact the appropriate embassy please say: Vennligst stopp drepe hval (Please stop killing whales in Norwegian)



    Here is the contact information for the Prime Minister of Norway: Jens Stoltenberg
    https://www.facebook.com/jensstoltenberg

    Here is the contact information for the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Norway: Jonas Gahr Store

     Here is the contact information for the Fisheries Minister of Norway: Helga Pedersen
    http://twitter.com/helgape  
    http://helgapedersen.no
    www.facebook.com/pages/Helga-Pedersen/151292808243115 

    From a Facebook post by Elora May West on the wall of Helga Pedersen (which has been deleted)
    "There is absolutely no place for Whaling in the 21st Century! By supporting this barbaric act not only are you slaughtering apex predators we need to survive on this planet and killing a being smarter than we are... But you are feeding the people of your country mercury! Please do some research and understand why whaling needs to end!!! Money is not worth the destruction of our Ocean, our Environment, and our Home! There is one Earth... we have one chance... please don't be apart of the problem" 
    Please get involved: these magnificent cetaceans need us to speak on their behalf! 
    Thank you  
    ~~><(((º>~

    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins
    @JackiesBuzz
     
     

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Taiji, Japan - From the Cove to the Tsunami

    It would seem that the Academy Award winning film ‘The Cove’ put an end to the senseless dolphin slaughter, but it did not. This past hunting season started in September of 2010 and ended prematurely in February of 2011. For the entire season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had the Cove Guardians present in Taiji to video, document and protest the dolphin holocaust on a daily basis. Scott West and his daughter, Elora West, were there for the first half of the season. Libby Katsinis and Nicole McLachlan were on guard for the second half. Many others from around the world volunteered as Cove Guardians. Toward the latter of  the season Save Japan Dolphins had monitors visit The Cove, as well. You can see many of their blogs via the links provided on the far right of this page entitled, “Previous Guardians.”

    Most of the locals in Japan were very kind to the Cove Guardians. Many even thanked the Guardians for their courage and devotion. Some gave them gifts and a few traveled from other parts of Japan to volunteer. The majority of Japan consists of good decent people. When the fisherman of Taiji profess their inhumanity, they attribute their evil misdeeds to Japanese culture. This is very misleading, for it creates the illusion that all Japanese people are evil. In turn, the murderers of Taiji can point a finger at ‘The Cove’ movie and call it racist propaganda. You can read some or the Japanese citizens’ blogs via the link list on the far right entitled, “Japanese Warriors.”

    The Egyptians had a culture of enslaving the Hebrews. They practiced their culture for 400 years and it was perfectly legal by their own law. The Roman Empire had culture. The Nazis had culture. So what! In today’s civilized world, killing and enslaving dolphins is not acceptable even under the guise of culture.
    The Guardians continued their watch in March along with Mr. Scott West, who had returned to Japan. When the earthquake and tsunami hit, all communication with the Guardians and a Monitor was lost. Some time had passed before we heard of their well-being.

    The Cove Guardians will be on the ground in Taiji come September. They have had an impact on the killings and will be there next season to help bring this atrocity to an end. If are able to join them as a Cove Guardian, completely at your own expense, please send an email to coveguardians@seashepherd.org. Meanwhile, here is what y0u can do. Also, please sign my petition Here. (Holise Cleveland III)

    For the rest of this story: please go Here:





    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins

    Dolphin Parenting



    Like Mother, Like Daughter ~ Dolphin Parenting ~
    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Taiji: Types of Dolphin Hunting Throughout the Year

    In Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan the killing of dolphins is not restricted solely to the much publicized drive hunts, which were the focus of Ric O’Barry’s great work in “The Cove”.


    Taiji has a three pronged approach to the extermination of migrating dolphins here; first is the dolphin drive hunts in which up to 12 of the registered “banger” boats venture out to sea on an almost daily basis within their nominated season (1 September to 31 March). These are assisted by up to 4 smaller skiffs, used once the dolphins have been driven closer to Taiji harbour / the cove.

    The dolphin drives account for the majority of the dolphins killed for their meat and skin and all of the live captures.

    Secondly, Taiji has the provision to use up to 3 small coastal harpoon vessels. Within Taiji in 2007 and 2008 these reportedly killed 40 Risso and 16 short finned pilot whales. An example of this type of vessel is shown below – the sizable harpoon is covered with a green tarp in this photo;


    These small whaling ships have their own separate annual quota and are believed to go out hunting between May and end August every year.

    We found examples of the last of Taiji’s hunting equipment; the boats used for hand held harpoons. One of these boats, pictured below has one of these gruesome hand thrown lances on it’s bow;


    These boats are equipped with a platform on the bow for the hunter to throw the sharp tipped spear into the back of the swimming dolphins, polystyrene floats are likely to be attached to the harpoon line to ensure that the dolphins stay afloat and can be retrieved. In 2008 the fleet of hand held harpoon boats recorded the killing of 122 Risso, 65 striped and 93 bottlenose dolphins although in previous years small numbers of spotted dolphins have been killed.


    It is assumed that the May to end August period, being the drive fisheries ‘off season’, is when this type of dolphin killing occurs. This is another example of a brutal form of killing subjected on a species which far too many Japanese people still regard as fish.

    Anyone that has a basic understanding of cetaceans knows that they are not fish, here are a number of the differences;

    Dolphins breathe air through a blowhole and have lungs, fish extract air from water through their gills.

    Dolphins are warm blooded, not cold blooded like fish.

    Dolphins give birth to live young, after a gestation period longer than humans. Fish lay eggs.

    Dolphin pups are fed mothers milk, just like humans. Fish fry feed for themselves and are not reliant on the maternal bond and nurturing.

    A baby dolphin needs to be with its mother for at least the first year, before it can feed and fend for itself in the wild.  Fish are able to survive on their own after emerging from their eggs.

    A dolphin’s tail is horizontal and moves up and down not vertical as in fish, which moves from side to side.

    Dolphins have complex feelings, emotions and are self-aware, fish do not have these characteristics.

    The excuse that dolphins are fish thereby removing them from an animal welfare legislation, within Japan, is a convenience that allows a small group of individuals to continue to kill these mammals whose intelligence they profit from within the dolphinarium industry.

    Original Story Posted Here: Eyes On Taiji

    Thank you for sharing your Love of Dolphins
    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins

    Tribute to the Cove Guardians

    A Tribute to the brave young men and women who give of their time and personal safety to Stand Tall and report the to the world the gruesome and brutal slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan ~ The Cove Guardians ~ #EveryDayHeroes.  Thank you for your Love of Dolphins.






    For The Love of Dolphins
    @Luv_Dolphins

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Dolphin Saves Whales in New Zealand

    This is such a wonderful story of the communication between these beautiful cetaceans...a dolphin rescues a mother whale and baby in distress.




    Please do what you can to save the lives of these magnificent mammals. We are their only voice and the annual slaughter of over 22,000 dolphins and whales in Japan alone is seriously reducing their numbers.

    Stay Passionate
    Jackie
    For the Love of Dolphins

       Educating People about the Oceans in 60 Seconds

    Many years ago, I attended a session that focused on how to make business connections.  We were told to develop an “elevator speech” that described who we were and what we did and to be able to deliver that message during a period equivalent to the time it takes an elevator to travel 10 floors with one stop.   It takes practise, but it is possible to pack a lot of information in 4 or 5 sentences.     
    I recently went on a vacation in the Caribbean.  Shortly after our arrival, we had the opportunity to attend an information session to learn about the various activities in the area. One of the options was a dolphin prison.
    Of course, I spoke up. It is very easy to explain over dinner, when you have a couple of hours, why dolphin captivity is wrong, but my challenge was to quickly and succinctly convey the message in just a few sentences. It was time for my best elevator speech.
    As a professional speaker and trainer, I always try to find out as much as possible about the audience, but if little information is available, I rely on a few key principles when selecting content.   Using these principles when creating an “elevator speech” can help deliver a powerful, timely message.
    Often people need facts. Put at least one fact in your communication.  Some people dismiss messages that don’t have some sort of fact or properly referenced statistic.
    Sometimes people need something upon which they can reflect because they need to come to their own conclusions.  For example, “Dolphins and whales are highly sentient beings and live in complex social structures.  How do you think the dolphins feel when they are torn away from their families and forced to live in a tiny pool instead of enjoying a vast ocean?”
    Be memorable.   Paint a picture that leaves the listener with a clear image that is powerful visually or emotionally engaging.   Use one of your sentences to describe something you have seen or experienced and tell people how it made you feel.
    There should be a call to action.   Ask people to not attend any attraction with captive whales or dolphins, recommend a website, or give them a few keywords they can Google.   
    If you give this some thought, you might find that one sentence can satisfy more than one of the key components of your elevator speech.  Have a few different versions and practice with your friends, but don’t memorize your speech.
    The same content does not work for everyone.  A person who requires facts will not be impressed if 4 of your 5 sentences are a call to action, nor will the person who is ready to act be interested in detailed statistics, but if you include different kinds of content, you are more likely to have one or more of your points achieve the desired result.
    It would be wonderful if every time we tried to discuss our causes, the other person gave us an hour of their time, but those opportunities are infrequent. A powerful “elevator speech” could potentially be used several times per day.  In 30 – 60 seconds, we won’t create a new activist, but if we are prepared, we can make progress and we will probably have said something that resonates with the listener.
    You can create a powerful elevator speech if you include:
    ·         at least one fact,
    ·         something upon which your listeners can reflect,
    ·         a description of a memorable image,
    ·         something that is actionable, and finally,
    ·         ask a question and try to turn your elevator speech into a dialogue.
    As activists, our window of opportunity to impact our listeners can be very limited so we need to be prepared.
    For the Oceans    

    Reprinted from Ocean Activist

    Stay Passionate  
    ~~><(((º>~

    Jackie Bigford
    http://twitter/Luv_Dolphins

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    I Have A Dream for the Dolphins of Japan

    Make the moment count! Dr Martin Luther King Jr. took a moment to deliver his speech "I Have A Dream" and it changed lives and society forever

    My dream is to see an end to the brutal, savage inhumane treatment that man perpetrates on our beautiful friends of the ocean, dolphins and whales.  To fully understand the importance of this issue it is important to know that dolphins and whales are NOT FISH.  Dr. David Busbee of Texas A&M University says, "If we can show that humans are similiar to dolphins, and anything that endangers dolphins is an equal concern for humans."




    Humans and dolphins may have much more in common than people think, especially when it comes to genetics. Dolphins and whales breath air, have a complex echolocation system for communication and have familial structures the same as humansDolphins are marine mammals that swim in the ocean and it was astonishing to learn that we had more in common with the dolphin than with land mammals,” says geneticist Horst Hameister.

     For the rest of this amazing discovery go here:  Dolphin-Human

     

    My love and compassion for dolphins began with a mid 60’s television show “Flipper” the story of the bond between a bottle nosed dolphin and a human family.  Like millions around the world this was the beginning of a life long dream to swim with these beautiful cetaceans.  It is ironic that Ric O'Barry who was trainer for the show has spent the last 35 years campaigning to end the captivity and training of dolphins. The bond that dolphins have with humans has been well documented with many instances of dolphins protecting humans from shark attacks.  I read an account on how a surfer survived a shark attack when a pod (family) of dolphins encircled him, protecting him so he could make his escape to shoreHere is an encounter with dolphins in the wild, in the waters near Hilton Head clearly showing the affection they have for humans. The day that this was shot there were 5 dolphins that came to interact with my friend, they were playful and unafraid.  The encounter was totally natural, no food was offered to them. 

    I have attended many Dolphin and Whale entertainment shows over the years and it never even occurred to me to ask the question about  where the dolphins and whales  came from or how they were treated.  The dolphins always seemed to enjoy putting on a show for the crowd.  Like most of the world I had no idea what was happening in Taiji, Japan and the direct link of the brutal slaughters to these shows. There is a saying “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” 

     

    An award winning documentary “The Cove” changed that forever. The movie, filmed in 2007 tells the true story of a small town in Japan with a very dark and deadly secret.  They kill dolphins, 2,200 annually. The primary targets are bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, spotted dolphins and risso dolphins. Those that are not slaughtered are captured for aquariums and swim with dolphin programs. An individual dolphin will fetch up to $250,000.00 US. This is a multi-million dollar industry.  According to export statistics compiled by the Customs Bureau, 57 live animals under the category of whales, dolphins, dugongs and manatees were exported from Taiji from January to August 2010, of which 22 went to China, 16 to Ukraine and 11 to Thailand. Customs declarations show the total monetary value of the animals was ¥172 million 

     

     

    The modern day practice of drive hunts only started 40 years ago and in 1986 when whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission.  Whaling has a long history in Taiji and was a way of life for the small coastal town.  Looking for other forms of fishing they turned to the dolphin drives.  The Entertainment Industry recognized the intense desire of people wanting to interact with dolphins and a partnership was formed.  Watch this short clip:








    Until this hunting season Taiji, Japan was the only place in the world where these practices of dolphin drives were still taking place. Unfortunately in Futo, Japan horrible drive fisheries were conducted there again, for the first time in four years! The fishers want the world to believe that they are teaching the next generation how to conduct these drives in order to maintain the skill of killing dolphins and whales. For a complete picture of how many Dolphinariums and Aquariums there are in Japan, take a look at this Google Map




    The Solomon Islands are about to resume their capture program because of the huge demand from European Countries for live dolphins.  A report shows that 56 Dolphins have been ordered for France, Germany, Dubai and various other European Countries. They will resume their hunt starting in February for delivery in June 2011. 


    The Government of Japan issues hunting licenses to the fishers of Taiji for the slaughter or capture of 2,200 dolphins annually. The total number for all of Japan is 22,000 annually.  Both the government of Japan and the fishers of Taiji claim they have a right to the kills as they are following century old traditions.  They claim that they are killing the dolphins for meat consumption and the issue of the flesh from dolphins being unsafe to eat has been accepted as untrue. Scientific facts show that the dolphin meat from Taiji  exceed mercury levels 5 times higher than is safe.

     

    Dolphins are being slaughtered almost daily in Taiji, Japan. The hunting season begins September 1st and ends March 31st. The dolphin hunters, set out each day in 12 large metal boats and attempt to herd whole pods of dolphins into “The Cove”.  The hunters use long metal poles and bang them against the boats to create a wall of noise, sometimes chasing the pod for up to 8 hours, exhausting and confusing them.  Many die during the chase of fear, exhaustion, or being driven over by the boats. The stress of the drive will cause a pregnant female to abort her baby.  Once the dolphins have been secured behind nets, trainers from the dolphin show industry come out and select the prettiest for a life of slavery.   The rest of the pod, including nursing mothers, babies, pregnant females and juveniles are all brutally slaughtered. An estimated 800 hundred small whales and dolphins have been killed at the killing cove this year to date.


    Dolphins are extremely protective and will fight to the death to save the members of their pod.  This is one of the reasons that they do not try to escape when any member is in trouble. Dolphins have family traits similar to humans. The babies are totally dependent on their mothers for survival for the first two years of their lives. Mothers will mourn the death of their babies sometimes for weeks pushing their dead offspring thru the water as they grieve their loss. What they have to witness as their family members are being brutally slaughtered in front of their eyes is no different than if one of our own children were having their insides gutted out as we watch helpless to do anything about it.  Despite the brutality of man towards these beautiful mammals there has never been one reported instance of them turning on man to harm them.  


    The dolphins that have been selected for the entertainment industry are then put thru a brutal and cruel process to determine if the are submissive and trainable.  The dolphins are pushed under water for long periods of time and many are drowned to death using this method.  Those that do make it are then subjected to inhumane behind the scenes training.  I was horrified to watch this video clearly showing the dolphins being drugged into submission.







     


    Here is the fate of Dolphins that were sold to Egypt, Saudi Arabia. Several dolphins died trying to survive in these filthy conditions. Unfortunately this is not uncommon and their are hundreds of documented cases of similar conditions.




    Thank you Pat Dickens for the following: Facts for You to Consider
     
    1) 53% of those dolphins who survive the violent capture die within 90 days.

    2) The average life span of a dolphin in the wild is 45 years; yet half of all captured dolphins die within their first two years of captivity. The survivors last an average of only 5 years in captivity

    3) Every seven years, half of all dolphins in captivity die from capture shock, pneumonia, intestinal disease, ulcers, chlorine poisoning, and other stress-related illnesses. To the captive dolphin industry, these facts are accepted as routine operating expenses

    4) In many tanks the water is full of chemicals as well as bacteria, causing many health problems in dolphins including blindness.

    5) When a baby dolphin is born in captivity, the news is usually kept secret until the calf shows signs of survival. Although marine mammals do breed in captivity, the birth rate is not nearly as successful as the one in the wild, with high infant mortality rates.

    6) Wild dolphins can swim 40 to 100 miles per day - in pools they go around in circles.

    7) Many marine parks subject their mammals to hunger so they will perform for their food. Jumping through hoops, tailwalking and playing ball are trained behaviors that do not occur in the wild.

    8) Confined animals who abuse themselves (banging their heads against the walls) are creating stimuli which their environment cannot supply. Dolphins in captivity tend to develop stereotypical behaviors (swimming in a repetitive circle pattern, with eyes closed and in silence) because of boredom and confinement. This is equivalent to the swaying and pacing of primates, lions, tigers and bears confined in cages.

    9) Dolphins are predators of fish and spend up to half of their time in the wild hunting for food. Supplying dead fish results in less exercise and lack of mental stimulation, thus causing boredom.

    10)When trapped together, males often become agitated and domineering. This creates pecking orders (unknown in the wild) and unprovoked attacks on each other and the trainers. In the ocean, although fights are not unknown, the wild dolphins have a chance to escape

    Dolphinariums claim that their mission is to protect dolphins in the wild through research and public education. Those are nice words but facts speak louder. If dolphins are so happy in captivity, why do they die so fast? Why the secrecy about their mortality rates? There would be fewer spectators if people knew how many animals were "dying" to amuse them. Perhaps if the death records were displayed at the entrance, no one would buy a ticket.

    When the movie “The Cove” was honoured with the Academy Award the tide began to turn.  People from around the world took up the cause, they wanted to know what they could do to help.  A world- wide “Save Japan Dolphins Rally” was held on October 14th. 2010 joining thousands of voices sending a clear message to Japan and to the people of Taiji  “We are watching and we will not let this continue, we will not stop until the hunt ends”.  1.7 million signatures signed a petition to see an end to the hunt and was delivered to Government Officials in Japan.

     

    People began to go to Taiji and document the slaughters.  They are called Cove Guardians and they do so at their own expense and personal safety.  These brave people send back daily reports of the horrendous slaughters to a network of thousands of people via Youtube, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter.  Here is a report sent back from a recent slaughter (warning: it is very difficult to watch)





    It is essential that the people of Japan have an accurate picture about what is happening in Taiji.
    Many in Japan have been intimidated by the aggressive tactics that opponents have been using. After all, would you want someone at your front door blaring insults through a megaphone, with no regard for your family, children or neighbors?  This harassment makes it very difficult for those in Japan who want to speak out.


    Here is a quote from one of the brave young ladies that is witnessing these horrors first hand: “Youtube videos and photos you see on websites and Facebook do not come close to the real experience of seeing these animals suffer. As best as I can, I still cannot capture the sounds, cannot capture the laughter of the dolphin hunters, and the atmosphere from up on that hill… it is a feeling that words cannot relay. It is something that will plague my memory for the rest of my life- I will always remember my freezing cold mornings up on that hill, battling my emotions and confirming my worst fears. But to get that message out there, to make sure the world never forgets about the dolphins of Taiji is the reason why I do it. I don’t want this to ever be ‘out of sight, out of mind’…Nicole McLachlan

     

    So what can you do?  I knew I had to somehow make my own statement. I started a petition on Twitter. Please support here: http://act.ly/2ca

    I invited my friends in Social Media to participate in a video that I produced and posted:






    One of the most critical objectives is to have the press present in Taiji.  The Government of Japan has a forced news blackout surrounding this issue and a large percentage of the Japanese people are not aware of what is happening in their own waters. They have no idea where the dolphins within their dolphinariums actually come from. The issues in Japan are no different to other countries where thousands flock to places like Sea World to see cetaceans perform and entertain. 

     

    It has been proven that when the press is present the dolphins are not slaughtered.  On one occasion, one of the brave Cove Guardians swan out into the Cove and pleaded for the lives of the babies and juveniles. Because the press was present they were released. The following day when the press had left Taiji, the slaughters resumed. 

     

    We have an opportunity for change.  The Cove needs a high profile celebrity to go to Taiji and take the press with them.  The Japanese people are fascinated with stars which would bring them to the Cove in droves and bring much needed attention to the issue. 



     In the meantime what can you do?

    · Send emails and phone the Japanese Embassy’s and Consulates daily.  Jam their email boxes and phone lines and disrupt their daily activities. 
    Click Here for Email List  

    Contact Phones Numbers in Taiji

     

    Support the various petitions that are online and add your voice. Give Cetaceans Rights

     

    Become a Cove Guardian: write to:  coveguardian@seashepherd.org

     

    Donate funds to support the efforts on the ground.  There are many organizations to choose from.  I personally support Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep their official presence in Taiji.  These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative.  They will remain through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.

     

    When dealing with any form of contact with Japanese Officials or the Japanese people it is important to always remain polite. The words iruka- no- kokyo has meaning to them- it means do not kill dolphins 

     

    It is important to understand that by buying tickets to places like Sea World or partaking in captive swim with dolphin programs that this directly supports the slaughters in Taiji.  It is simple…do not buy the tickets. 

     

    Purchase a copy of the movie ‘The Cove” and then share your knowledge with everyone in your circle. If you have Japanese friends, start a dialogue with them.  “Plausible Deniability” which allows us to do nothing because we did not know is no longer the status quo…we do know, so lets make is as difficult as possible for those that profit to carry on business as usual. 




    The time to act is now! Stand up and be counted…individually we are one drop but together we are an ocean.  Stay Passionate

    Jackie Bigford
    For The Love of Dolphins

    Resource Links:  

    Eyes on Taiji

    Sea Shepherd Org.

    Cyber Whale Warrior

    Article Safari

    The Path to Protect

    Champions of the Seas

    Dolphins Dying to Entertain You

    A Family Standing Up For What They Believe In

    For The Love of Dolphins