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Japanese Dolphin Hunt Takes A New Twist, Whales Not So Lucky

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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

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