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Friday, January 7, 2011

A Sad Day In Taiji

This morning rushed to a lookout point...the banger boats were out...and driving in two dolphin families.  One family of bottle nosed dolphins were being pushed into the slaughtering cove...while another family of Risso dolphins were being chased out at sea.
video

So emotionally exhausting...watching one family fight to escape and another being manipulated easily to what ultimately would be into a death trap. I jumped in a car from the lookout point....to go to the cove.  Felt panicky, as though, I too, were being driven into the cove.

On reaching the cove... hiked up to a cliff....trying to see what was what. At the top, I looked down on a family of terrified bottle nosed dolphins swimming tightly together. They would surface for air gasping with exhaustion. I felt ill...and could barely breathe myself, knowing this family would never be together again. Just as i began to film with my iphone,  saw legs under the trees walking towards me....fishermen i thought, and it was a little scary. But when two Sea Shepherd people appeared...breathed a sigh of relief. A girl from Sea Shepherd said they would probably be killed soon. Last year, I saw that they would keep them over night...now they kill them shortly after they are driven in.  Some of the organizations travel in pairs and have walkie talkies....a good idea i suppose..as my life was in danger last year, after finding decapitating booby traps...intended for me (given i was the only one here...and on the path i took). However, this time, the police, coast guards, dolphin groups were around...and that was nice to know.  My deep fear and sickness, however,  was for the lives of the dolphins.  While hiking back down the cliff,  passed  fishermen on their way up to where I had left the Sea Shepherd crew.

A police officer approached me...asking for my passport...which was back at the hotel.  He said that I was breaking Japanese law by not having it on my person. Told him that i had no idea it was against the law...and that i would be worried about carrying it in case I lost it.  And showed him how I carry everything in tiny pockets and i think he understood. We came to an agreement that i would carry my driver's license with me instead. Then asked the police officer if the mothers and babies could be spared...he told me that is not part of his job.....it was out of his hands.

Went to the other cliff in Tsunami Park and encountered a fisherman guarding the area. I knew that the dolphins' time was coming to an end...and that was why he was guarding the area. I tried to talk to him about the mothers and babies; but do not think he understood English....and with the way he looked at me i knew I was barking at the wind. So i went back down the cliff...back towards the cove. Passing a man watching me from a truck.

I put my head down on the fence...feeling hopeless and helpless. Soon people were leaving....cars pulling out and i knew it was too late....

Was soon approached by a man wearing a coast guard t-shirt. He asked if my name was "Leslie-Ann Gervais...the fencer". I asked him how he knew this...he said "internet". He asked me some questions...how long are you here for? Are the fishermen giving you trouble?  I said "No"...told him how much i loved dolphins...that as a surfer, I was often out on the water with them.   And he seemed to care about dolphins too!  We shared a chat about how they love to play and swim alongside and under boats.  While still chatting...the boats started to emerge from the cove...gathering up some netting...tried to carry on my conversation with him... holding back tears. He saw me struggling and then I believe that  i saw that....he was holding back tears as well.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Leslie-Ann, in just recently found your blog and wanted to say how much I appreciate the current updates of what is going on over there. I honestly have no idea how this practice is still allowed to happen today given the graphic footage show in the documentary The Cove.

    Dolphins have always held and always will hold a special place in my heart. I applaud the efforts to all involved to get this horrific practice in Taiji stopped.

    Liane Langlois
    A fellow Canadian

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