For the second year in a row, Taiji, Japan is free of blood-stained water one week into the annual dolphin hunt.
A pod of around 10 dolphins (initial reports said 20) that were earlier driven into the infamous killing cove have now been set free. Well, some of them. Just like last year, a few of the best dolphins were rounded up to be sold to aquariums. As was told in Blood Dolphins, such sales account for a large portion of income for Taiji fisherman.
So while it was a week devoid of bloodshed, a catch and release of this sort should not be a sign that things are necessarily changing. Last year, after a release just like this one, a pod of 50 pilot whales (members of the dolphin species) were slaughtered a few weeks later.
How long the waters stay free of blood depends most likely on international interest and monitoring by conservation groups. It’s no easy task — Japan’s dolphin hunts lasts from September to February. To find out how you can help, visit SaveJapanDolphins.org.