On Friday, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said a pod of more than 250 dolphins including babies, juveniles and a rare albino calf had been driven into a cove in Taiji, south-east Japan. Taiji is renowned for its dolphin-hunting traditions, shooting to prominence after the release of the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. The town is in the middle of its traditional dolphin-hunting season, which runs between September and April.
The US ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, has expressed deep concern about the Japanese tradition of “drive-hunting” dolphins just days after scores of creatures were rounded up for slaughter in a town infamous for culling the mammals.
“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” Kennedy tweeted, adding that the US government “opposes drive hunt fisheries.”
Sea Shepherd activists said the cull continued over the weekend, as dolphin families were separated so they could be individually assessed as worth for captivity or slaughter. Fifteen dolphins were taken on Sunday from the cove via sling and transferred to the Taiji harbour sea pens and several captive facilities in Taiji, the group said on its Facebook page.
“We expect that most of the pod will be slaughtered and some too small to claim for quota will be driven back out to sea to fend for themselves,” they said.
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