Unfortunately it is still day 17….

Today looked like it was going to be a wonderful day! The fishermen didn’t even go out hunting, because of a thunder-storm that was at around 3am this morning (about the time they decide whether or not to go out). We did have to say goodbye to Christy today, but we really appreciated her time here!

We checked the Cove several times throughout the day just to ensure that the fishermen didn’t go out in the late morning. But it was silent. Day 5 with no dolphins in the Cove! So Sonja, Matthew, Robin, my dad and I went to get another battery for my camera. Good thing we did! It saved my butt today! The new one came with about 20mins of charge on it.

So, now the ugly part:

Driving back from the electronics store, we decided to make one more stop at the dolphin pens so Matthew could do a blog video. It’s a good thing we did. We happened to stumble upon them transporting the last dolphin from the captive pen, to the crate that would ship it to wherever in the world it was going. We flew out of our car so fast that we didn’t even notice that two police cars had pulled in behind us. I was completely oblivious, all I had seen was the same police officer we always talk to and I knew he was talking to my dad. It didn’t really hit me something might be up, cause they are always around. Once my battery died, I ran for my new one to see if it had any juice… when I turned around I got a bit of a shock. A squad car and two in uniform police officers. What was going on? They wanted Sonja’s passport… we don’t really know what they wanted-they were just there. It was strange. But still, they didn’t stop us from filming. Once the dolphins were in the crates and we couldn’t see from the hill anymore, we rushed down in the car to the dock. The fishermen were pissed! We were allowed to walk freely on their “territory” when the government had made us out to be criminals. I walked right over all their stuff to get a better view of the truck leaving. They were all putting away the nets… The cops were there so I felt much safer. It wasn’t the most comfortable situation. Ha! I thought that was uncomfortable….

We got in the car to follow the truck. It pulled into the next port over, where the butcher house is. We pulled into the parking lot, filming from our car because we had lots of angry fishermen around us. Eventually they all circled our car yelling at us to go away and taking our pictures. The police jumped out of their car SO FAST and ran over trying to calm the conflict down. We were told to leave, so we did. We pulled around the corner into a small parking lot, so we could see which direction the truck was going to go. Or “trucks” I should say, at this point we had found the other one. It wasn’t till someone came out of a building in the parking lot and yelled at us to leave. So we did. We drove past the fishermen once again… and then headed to the Dolphin resort. Matthew wanted to do another block video there. Two police-men followed us. They walked behind us to the back of the Dolphin resort building. One of the cops was curious were the dolphins were kept. So we showed him the pens, and told him that about twenty-two were leaving it those tiny spaces. He didn’t say much, but he was very interested. Which was great!

This afternoon reminded how crazy and scary this really is. This group of 30 men are not happy we are here… and the police are in a awkward situation because they have to guard us from them, while they are asking “why are they allowed to walk free? You said they were criminals”. I feel bad for the police they are only trying to do their job.

I’m sorry to be reporting bad news. You have no idea how excited I was to say, “I’m happy to report there is nothing to report”…. But life can really slap you in the face sometimes.

I keep asking myself, when is this going to end!? And… I really wish I knew.

For the animals,

Elora Malama

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31 thoughts on “Unfortunately it is still day 17….

  1. Oh, wow, what an afternoon you guys had with the police and the fishermen! But at least you guys were able to follow the trucks that contained the dolphins. I know how difficult this must be for you, not knowing where the dolphins have gone to and when the dolphin capture is going to end once and for all. I can really feel it from here and picture what it must be like to experience it in person. These precious dolphins being taken away from their natural home for good and experiencing enslavement for the first time in their lives – there is absolutely no words to describe such tragedy.

    My hope is that tomorrow will be another great day for the dolphins and a bad day for the fishermen!

    LAURICE

    1. Mark,

      Thank you for posting this. It does make sense that this turn of events might have annoyed them a bit to say the least. They sure didn’t see this coming. I am confused as to why this has not made the news. Perhaps Japan is trying to downplay it . Also makes me wonder how they will react to this. One thing is for sure, if this is true it sure cost them a pretty penny! Things like this and the fact that they might be footing the bill for the police due to Sea Shepherd presence can’t be putting them in the black as far as their profit margin goes.

      Marysia

    2. Fantastic news! too bad they couldn’t free all the captive dolphins. looks like this battle has now reached another level. taiji should be careful, as it’s become ground zero now. hopefully we’ll win!

  2. Elora, there is this organization Black Fish, are they really in Taiji and cut the nets to free dolphins? News came from Paul Watson, and you say there were no captive dolphins since 5 days. I’m very confused now… Thanks, Nataly

    1. HI nataly,
      I hadn’t heard about this until someone posted it on my Facebook wall. It explains why the fishermen are so pissed at everything right now. They freed a few of the dolphins in pens that had been chosen for the dolphin shows. There are still no dolphins in the Cove 🙂

  3. Hi Elora, I am not sure if you have heard or not but a European organization; “The Black Fish” had divers cut nets on the pens & set some dolphins free! Is probably why they moved the rest, & why the fishermen were so ‘pissed’, & also why they were expecting the police to act against you guys. Even though SSCS had nothing to do with it the fishermen will automatically think is you guys. Hang in there, stay strong & keep posting/reporting on what is going on, we are all behind you guys. 🙂

  4. I too am a bit confused Elora I just read wat “The Black Fish” did to free the dolphines.. but not heard anthing about it on your blog do you know anything about that?

    1. It seems that this news broke sometime in the night…U.S. time anyway.
      I am sure we will hear more about this soon. It is currently 1 am in Taiji.
      This may explain a lot about the fishermen’s reactions during filming yesterday of the dolphin transfer. I wonder if they were trying to get the remainder moved before something happened to the rest.
      Seems like things are heating up and the coming days should prove interesting….
      Suzanne

  5. Fishermen were pissed off because you were filming in private property. It is clear from the bits I picked up in the clip that you entered private property without seeking permission. I think the Taiji officials could sue you for trespassing, though if they would ever do that is another question.

    1. John,

      Then I guess the fishermen should be respectful of the dolphins’ private property, the oceans! I am not sure where you are going with this comment. Are you defending their reactions or just giving a possible explanation for it? Hopefully, it’s the latter:)

      1. Marysia,

        I’m just hoping Elora’s safe return. It’s a simple statement that if you enter another country you must obey their law (no matter how different it is from your home country’s). I believe trespassing is illegal in Japan as well as in the States. It is irrelevant if you are doing it for good cause or not. People could utilise such offence and arrest you according to their law. And if they do, our govt can’t interfere with their laws…

    2. “John” – you’re really on a 16 year old girl’s blog dissing her for caring about animals and the environment? You’re pathetic.

    3. Also ~ “John” I can tell by your syntax that English is your second language. Stop posing as an American, we know who you are.

      1. Wow I can’t be an American if English is my second language? Such statement will upset quite many… And you still don’t get it. I’m not bashing her cause or what she is doing in general. You should read my comments more carefully before dissing me;-)

    4. If it were truly a case of trespassing I am sure that the police would have arrested them right there. Keep in mind that the Police are just about always following them (Elora and family/friends). All of their moves are watched.

      Therefore, I think you can dismiss trespassing. They are just angry because the truth is coming out!

      1. Police can choose when to arrest, remember? Forget about what I wrote before, I didn’t realise you all are such narrow-minded… You all just can’t see there are different concerns. I’m done here, byeee

      2. Obviously, John, the police in Taiji would have jumped at the chance to arrest them if they had a real reason to. Are you trying to play devil’s advocate here or something? You claim to be a supporter of Elora, but your comments seem to state anything but that. In case you weren’t aware, Scott West worked in law enforcement. I think he knows what he’s doing. And he’s not going to willingly endanger his daughter.

  6. Everyone,

    I got a rather lengthy email response from SeaWorld San Diego today in regards to their recent purchase of a pilot whale. I have decided to share it with you. I have not yet issued a response but plan on doing so. Just wanted to share it with everyone in the interim.

    Here is SeaWold’s response:

    Dear Marysia,

    Your bluntly stated email is a vivid demonstration that you have no idea about what you are talking about. I’m not sure how you came to the conclusion you did, but you are completely wrong.

    As background, Argo, the pilot whale that you reference in your email, is not associated with the drive fishery. He was a lone stranding, as a neonate, six years ago on a beach north of Kamogawa and was nearly dead when rescued. Animal care specialists nursed him to health at Kamogawa SeaWorld saving his life. Because Argo was hand raised by humans, he is not releasable. Kamogawa SeaWorld does not have any other pilot whales at its park while we have three pilot whales here. We were asked if we could provide long-term care for Argo so that he could live with other whales of his own species. We of course said yes. Kamogawa SeaWorld will not be obtaining another pilot whale for their park. To attempt to hold us responsible for the deaths of the pilot whales on Sept. 22 is utterly ludicrous.

    And in case you are not aware, which I assume you are not, we are also providing long-term care to a young pilot whale named Sully rescued after he stranded near death on the island of Curacao a year ago. Argo, like Sully, was given a second chance at life by passionate and dedicated animal care specialists working in a marine-life park like SeaWorld.

    SeaWorld is opposed to the drive fisheries in Japan and does not support, fund or acquire dolphins or whales from the drive fisheries. You might also be interested in knowing that U.S. regulations prohibit animals from those hunts from entering the United States. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will not issue an import permit for any animal captured through the drive fishery process. The permitting process is a public process, therefore, there is nothing remotely secretive about the permit we applied for from NMFS to hopefully bring Argo to our park.

    Also, SeaWorld is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). We strictly prohibit any zoological park and aquarium from joining the organization if the facility acquires animals from the drive fisheries. Current Alliance members, including SeaWorld, do not have animals from the fisheries. The Alliance, along with the Association of Zoos and aquariums (AZA), another organization in which SeaWorld is a leading member, are campaigning to end to this practice. For example, the Alliance has urged U.S. government agencies to proactively work with the government of Japan to end the drive fisheries. Also, a Web site, sponsored by AZA (SeaWorld is a member), provides the opportunity to sign a petition pushing for the end of the drive fisheries — http://actfordolphins.org/help.html.

    As an aside, SeaWorld has also not collected any animals from the wild in nearly 25 years. We have one of the finest marine mammal breeding programs in the world. The vast majority of animals in our zoological population, more than 80 percent, were born in our park. And the presence of SeaWorld does not and has never had a bearing on the existence of the Japanese cetacean shore hunt that began in Taiji more than 335 years ago.

    I don’t have any anticipation that this response will change your perspective on parks like ours, but maybe before you throw unsupported accusations our way, you could at least try to do more thorough research.

    We have nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, we are very proud of what we do. SeaWorld will continue to provide the enriching educational and entertainment experience that has done so much in the last four decades to advance and enhance the appreciation for marine mammals around the world.

    While in most cases we appreciate hearing from guests and the public, I have little time or patience for people who falsely accuse us and use inaccurate or misinformation to support their own personal agenda.

    Sincerely,
    Dave Koontz
    SeaWorld San Diego

    1. He doesn’t get it. Captivity of any whales/dolphins is just wrong, even if bred in captivity (which is just as sad). And SeaWorld is the inspiration for all the other Dolphinariums and parks, who do support Taiji’s work. He has much to be ashamed of.

    2. I am surprised that a SeaWorld employee would be so rude actually. Usually a big company like that has PR people to deal with these types of issues and the response is usually a politically correct canned one.

  7. Elora,
    After watching that disturbing, horrible shamefull video you took and reading the letter you recived I have to say it has renewed me to take action, as if I needed any.

  8. In reference to the letter – I wonder who they are campaigning with to end the Taiji hunts. Japan? The US? Sounds too vague to be real. Interesting that Mr. Koontz is so unbelievably defensive – and also says he’s too busy and impatient to respond, yet wrote a lengthy response.

  9. I am honestly quite amazed at how that response letter was written in a way that is so incredibly rude and defensive. Typically you’ll receive a generic letter along the lines of “Thank you for writing SeaWorld…Thank you for your concern, but you have nothing to worry about…” blah blah.
    But his letter leaves me to believe that now he is receiving more and more letters along the lines of what Marysia sent him, and so now he is lashing out against people who find it wrong to hold marine animals in captivity. I think that response letter should be sent out to as many people as possible to show how truly heartless and nasty the people of SeaWorld really are.

  10. I am slightly offended by your remark about “how truly heartless and nasty the people of SeaWorld really are.” I worked as an intern for SW Orlando this summer, and I can say that I have never heard a more inaccurate statement. SW does more rehabilitate and release with animals than any other organization in the US. If they can release an animal safely into the wild, they do it. In regards to the recent oil spill, SW’s people were the first to take action, spending millions of dollars on the facilities and means to bring in 1000s of seaturtles to clean up and return to the wild. The dolphins you are referring to at SeaWorld were born there, and they would not survive if they were to be let go. SeaWorld has tried to release some of their dolphins before, I witnessed first hand a trial at Discovery Cove where live fish were put with the dolphins.. this was to try to get the dolphins to learn to eat wild fish, etc.. and the dolphins have never looked more confused. They would DIE if someone were to release them into the ocean tomorrow.. and if you ask me, that is much more cruel. I understand that a lot of you think that captivity in general is cruel.. but once they are born there, it is wasting your breath to go on about how wrong it is.. because setting them free is basically homicide. I think that personally attacking SeaWorld and other marine parks for what is happening in Japan is beyond wrong.. and SeaWorld has a right to take it personally. The do so much for the marine world.. all the rehabilitations and releases, all the research, all of the $$$ they spend to protect the oceans… they spend millions of dollars to protect the oceans and rehabilitate and release marine animals every day.. and this is something that they do because they want to.. not because they have to. In addition, before now, they have never felt a need to advertise this kind of work that they do.. but with all these attacks, I for one feel a need to defend them. So please, just think before you say such harsh things about people you don’t know. I understand that you may not agree with everything that SeaWorld does, and that is OK. I am sure there are plenty of things in your line of work and your personal actions that not everyone agrees with either. You are entitled to that. But please, give people credit and respect where it is due.

    1. also.. I wanted to add that I am 100% against all the dolphin hunts going on in Japan.. I am very vocal about the way I feel, and have been doing a lot on my campus to spread the word, raise awareness, and encourage others to take action. I think that this should be our primary focus here.. we are all obviously against these hunts, so why can’t we all unite and fight with one purpose instead of trying to bring other people and companies down? I will also add that while many of you are not supporters of SeaWorld and other parks like it, the parks and the dolphins in captivity have done a lot more to raise awareness than many of you, without even realizing it. People come to SW parks every day and get the opportunity to see and interact with REAL dolphins.. living breathing dolphins. They get to see how smart they are, vs. reading about them or watching a documentary. Whether you agree with that or not, the dolphins that these people interact with CHANGE them. They’ve changed me. Because I had a personal interaction with them, I take it personally and it really cuts me deep what they are doing to these remarkable animals over in Japan. I do know that had I not had this experience with the dolphins, I would still be against the hunts. However, I know that I would not be nearly as adamant about my emotions, and I definitely wouldn’t take it as personally, because the dolphins would still be so “foreign, and unknown” to me. Just consider what I am saying.. I am not trying to justify captivity in the slightest, or trying to convince you to change your beliefs, but I am trying to get you to see that if we can all put our differences aside, we can see that we are all in this together, and united, we can really do something about what really matters here.

  11. If any of you are unclear of what I am saying or would like to talk further about what we can do to move forward, feel free to email me lindsaa@clemson.edu. My name is Lindsay Adams, I am a Junior Psychology/Biology major at Clemson University and I would be happy to talk with you further.

  12. Lindsay,

    I have read reports that dolphins in captivity have ulcers and are fed maalox and antidepressants do to the stressful life they lead in captivity. Apparently they are not happy and content when they have ulcers. Also, bottom line is if the demand for dolphins in captivity were gone, Taiji would have to seriously find another way to support themselves and leave the dolphins/whales alone..

  13. Lindsay,

    You really have no reason to be “slightly offended” by my above statement. I wasn’t attacking the everyday people, so to speak, of SeaWorld; the interns, the people who sell soft drinks, etc… My comments are directed at people like the “Director of Communications” who wrote the brash response letter to Marysia. I did not intend to hurt your feelings. But I do not apologize for stating what I believe about the head honchos at SW.

    SW’s main motive in all of this is profit. I don’t care which way you try to spin it. They may help to “rescue” these mammals, but ultimately it is for their own profit and image. I do not agree with your statement that “they would DIE if someone were to release them into the ocean tomorrow.. and if you ask me, that is much more cruel”. What’s really cruel is forcing these mammals to live in concrete boxes, do tricks for food, entertain in front of thousands of roaring people. Imagine if someone locked you in a windowless closet for the rest of your life. You were fed, but you never saw your family again. You were never free to go anywhere. You roam your tiny bedroom for the rest of your life. You never saw the light of day, which is our equivalent to a dolphin/orca’s sonar sound. Can you imagine never seeing the light of day again? You’re a psych major…what would happen? You would LOSE IT. Just as these animals have. These man-made habitats have driven them to undue stress and violence. Born in captivity or caught in the wild, the outcome is the same: much shorter lifespan, huge amounts of stress. Mammals have an innate sense of knowing that living in a tiny swimming pool is not how their lives are supposed to be, even if that is all they know.

    And how many more people need to die at SW before everyone grasps the concept that these mammals are NOT meant for captivity? But since SW is profit driven, that won’t happen. They will continue to take a gamble with peoples lives, unless we stand up and fight against them.
    I have no way of knowing if SW ever acquired dolphins from drive hunts. I am sure they did in the past. Just as zoos acquired animals by killing the adults and stealing the babies. They don’t do this anymore, but they did at one point. But the real problem with what they do is by boasting their profits and spending their millions, they encourage other countries to get in the dolphin/whale captivity business. And these other countries do not have the quota that SW has, therefore they receive their dolphins from places like Taiji. So no matter which way you want to spin it, SW has blood on their hands.

    By defending SW, you’re defending captivity. People do not need to go see a dolphin at SW to feel more connected to the cause. If anything, that’s the exact opposite of what this fight stands for. And I don’t buy that anyway. The Japanese are lucky enough to have such a large population of dolphins right in their backyard, they have dozens of dolphinariums, and yet they are the number one threat in the slaughter and capture of dolphins. As Rick O’Barry states “100 million Japanese visit dolphinariums each year, yet you don’t see one trying to stop the dolphin slaughter”. So that may have been your experience, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to hold any significance, because if it did, there would be a hell of a lot more people fighting for the end of captivity and slaughter.

    I agree that everyone needs to pull together to end this slaughter, but a big part of the equation is understanding that large aquatic facilities inadvertently aid in the capture, and often slaughter, of these beautiful creatures.

    Good luck in school, Lindsay. I, too, have degrees in biology, as well as, criminology and law.

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