Why we must save the Taiji Dolphins

Few years back, my brother suggested that I watch a movie called “The Cove”. He told me it’s about how, in a small town not too far from Tokyo, dolphins are herded and slaughtered every year. He warned me it won’t be easy watching it. That was an understatement. Nothing could have prepared me for the horrific killing I saw in the movie. The water in Taiji’s cove literally ran red with dolphin blood.The movie even won an Oscar.

Yet this year, once again, as the whole world witnesses it, hundreds of dolphins are being held captive and slaughtered in Taiji.


As I write this post, Twitter is ablaze with people expressing their opinions #tweet4taiji. I’m shocked that BBC has not even bothered to report this barbaric event. I suppose the slaughter of several hundred dolphins by humans does not really count as a massacre for BBC*.

I have read a lot about various opinions from both the opposers and the supporters. Unfortunately for the affected party, the dominant species on this planet cannot understand their language and their opinions will have to wait till human techniology can catch up with them. If any dolphin remains alive till then, of course.

Many seem to think that we are attaching unnecessary emotions to an animal. It’s not human, they say. Of course, for a species so willing to kill their own for money and power, killing an intelligent and sentient life form is not really bothersome.

There have been several studies all over the world that have proved that dolphins are intelligent mammals. They care for their young and pass on knowledge and information to them as we do. They tend to their sick and dying, and look after their fellow dolphins. Their ability to use echolocation is beyond human capability. There have been several stories of dolphins risking their lives to save humans from drowning and from shark attacks – a courtesy we rarely extend to them.

I know there are people unwilling to believe all the science. If you think all this scientific proof is codswallop, you’d probably be more open to believing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which in its infinite wisdom, clearly states that dolphins are the second most intelligent species on Earth. And here’s why”

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

And if you still think dolphins don’t matter, then you are certainly not going to like who it says is the most intelligent species, and no, it’s not humans.

The other reason I’ve heard for continuing with this annual culling, is the idea of holding on to an age old tradition. Hmmm … These are the times I really wish I had a time machine. We could just round up all those “traditional” people and send them back in time when humans were just a bunch of cave dwellers, or when slavery was the norm, when people were killed just for speaking up, and human rights were unheard of. Nothing can be more “traditional” than those dark ages of human history. Those tradition-loving people would be right at home there.

So what prompts someone to herd and slaughter such lovely creatures, you ask? It’s always the money, isn’t it … It must be a lot of money if people are willing to poison themselves for it. Research shows that dolphin meat has an extremely high level of mercury which is highly toxic. This is how it happens:

  1. Mercury gets dumped into sea
  2. It multiplies drastically along the food chain.
  3. Dolphins are higher up in the food chain. So eating the meat of sea mammals such as dolphins means eating meat with high levels of mercury.
  4. Such high levels can cause severe brain damage in people.

Just what humanity needs, more people without the ability to think straight. As if being blinded by power and money wasn’t bad enough.

It’s true that not all the captured dolphins end up on a shop shelf. The attractive and pretty dolphins are sent to sea parks and aquariums. Isn’t that every pretty dolphin’s dream – to live in a place where you get to play whenever you want and get good food as much as you want in exchange for living in a cage, do tricks for an audience and be on display? Freedom is overrated, isn’t it …

For a species that’s been fighting for freedom for generations, we are rather slow to learn our lessons. It’s easy, isn’t it, to think we own this planet and everything in it. Who could possibly stop us? I really wish it would be a dolphin army. I’d probably die but at least I’d die with a big smile on my face.

Isn’t that reason enough to save the Dolphins? Share your reasons to save them in the comments.

* BBC had this report on Taiji the next day. Whoever heard of taking a stand! If you don’t think the dolphins should be saved, well, it’s a free world … for humans … at least for now.


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