by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Film/TV.


Contrary to media reports saying that the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan was unfortunately underway, it now seems that it was more of a round-up.

About 5:30AM yesterday, fisherman from the small coastal town — made infamous as the backdrop for the new dolphin documentary The Cove — drove about 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins towards the shore. Instead of funneling the dolphins into the deadly cove for a blood bath, it appears that for now, concessions are being made in light of the public outcry from the movie. According to the Associated Press, 50 dolphins will be sold to aquariums. The rest will be set free.

Unfortunately, the 50 pilot whales did not receive a similar reprieve and were killed and sold for their meat. So, we’ve got a really mixed situation going on here — especially when it comes to dolphins being sold to aquariums. But compared to the past, it’s a step in the right direction — and we can thank the incredible work done by Louie Psihoyos and Richard O’Barry in drawing attention with The Cove. According to one anonymous official at the Taiji fisheries association, the public pressure has been so great that the town was unclear over whether they might ever kill dolphins again. “I am elated,” O’Barry, who was in Tokyo, told The Associated Press. “When I heard that, I did a backflip off the bed here.”

We’re cautiously optimistic that Taiji, Japan will end its dolphin hunt — especially as the international pressure is sure to ratchet up now that The Cove is set to debut in Europe this fall. There’s even talk of it being a front-runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars.

For information on the movie — and how you can help spread the word — hit the official site here.

Photos credit: flickr; jurvetson

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Erica

    Wow! Incredible work, Ric!

  • deena

    I’m very thankful for the mass killing to have stopped for the dolphins, but I mean trapping them to sell to aquariums? That just killed their spirits.
    Rip whales. I’m so sorry.

  • herwin

    thats so tragic and sad to spend the rest of their lifes in an aquarium.

  • Luke M.

    It’s great to hear that the dolphins will be set free instead of killed. If we keep showing public support for the film then maybe we can eventually get the fishermen to just leave the dolphins alone. Keep the issue alive!

  • maelstrom

    At a hundred grand or more a pop for each dolphin sold I don’t think this is a trend we will see end anytime soon. That being said I do have to tip my hat to Ric for his tireless activism on the issue. The man is one of my living heros…I put him right up there with Dave Foreman and Paul Watson.

  • Susanne Everding

    Spread to everybody you know :

  • Lauren

    While not killing animals is always good news, the fact that a documentary was shot makes me think the makers may have been a little too quick to judge. This is a cultural sport, but then again does that make it any better?
    This video has more.

  • R.A.R. Clouston

    The arguments of the proponents of the continued slaughter of whales and dolphins are akin to saying that because humans are not endangered, and because we have been killing each other for millennia, we should respect cultures who continue the practice of genocide. How cold. How sad. How misinformed. Please read my blog at

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