Each year, volunteers for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, known as Cove Guardians, head to Japan to document the drive hunts of dolphins in Taiji’s now infamous cove. Those dolphins who are not chosen for lives in captivity are slaughtered for human consumption.
This week, the spotlight shining on the dolphins of Taiji got a little bit brighter as celebrity animal activist Simone Reyes arrived to join the Cove Guardians. In today’s press release, Sea Shepherd announced that Reyes arrived last night and will spend ten days in Taiji as part of their Operation Infinite Patience campaign.
The star of Oxygen series “Running Russell Simmons” is also a vegan and outspoken animal activist, and recently shared her plans to head to the cove. “The Cove Guardians ongoing, unwavering presence are clearly paving a road to change. The tarps that conceal the murders, the police and security hired to stand at the Cove etc are all a strong indication that Cove Guardian presence is being effective in their efforts to document what goes on in Taiji, and shows just how terrified both the Fisheries Union and associated marine parks are that the world will know the shame of Taiji,” Reyes wrote on Global Grind.
Russell Simmons said of his co-star, “The atrocities that continue in Taiji at The Cove need international attention. I have no doubt that Simone being there on the ground will spotlight this cause and hopefully work to bring an end to the slaughter.”
Sea Shepherd reports that annual hunts throughout Japan claim the lives of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales every year. The organization says that after the animals are driven into the shallow water by boats and banging poles, the dolphins’ deaths are slow, and that they are brutally killed in front of their pods.
The Guardians seem hopeful that Reyes will bring more attention to what is happening in Taiji. Campaign leader Melissa Sehgal said, “We are honored and excited to welcome Simone to the Cove Guardian team. She is a powerful and devoted voice for animals and we know her passion and presence will illuminate the ongoing atrocities in Taiji for all the world to see.”
Sea Shepherd reports that nine pods of dolphins (including pilot whales) have been driven into the cove so far this year. “From those pods, 46 animals have been taken captive for sale to marine parks and swim-with-dolphin encounters, 91 have been slaughtered for human consumption, and 7 bodies have been found washed ashore due to the stress of the hunts and captures,” they write. The conservation group says the slaughter and the captive dolphin trade are “inextricably linked,” and that everyone can oppose the hunts by no longer supporting marine mammal captivity.