The dolphin hunt may be over, but the echoes and the ramifications are still reverberating around the world.
According to the group Sea Shepherd, by the time the bloody dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan, ended Tuesday, 52 dolphins had been taken into captivity and 41 were slaughtered. Approximately, 130 dolphins were released, but activists say many of them will not survive.
An activist for Sea Shepherd who was in Taiji posted: “The remaining 130-140 starved and injured Bottlenose dolphins were driven back out to sea in the same deafening manner as the drive in. Many babies and juveniles were seen in the remaining pod. Too small to count for quota and deemed unsuitable for captivity. Many of these dolphins who were driven out will not survive and will soon be found washed ashore in the coming days.”
Following in the footsteps of the documentary “Blackfish”, the plight of dolphins and orcas in the wild and in captivity has taken hold across social media.
Thousands of tweets began flooding Jane Velez-Mitchell’s account late last week clamoring for Jane to cover the story and then thanking her for her coverage.
— TRACEY ALISON (@TRACEYALISON1) January 17, 2014
— KAREN COBB (@kazmadhatter) January 21, 2014
Celebrities also took up the cause, trying to spread awareness and add pressure of their own.
URGENT: 250 bottle nose dolphins in Taiji cove now. #tweet4taiji please stop the slaughter. RT. Thank You.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 17, 2014
More than 200 dolphins are being slaughtered in Taiji right now. Please support & follow @whaleman1 to help end this cruel & needless hunt!
— hayden panettiere (@haydenpanettier) January 21, 2014
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) January 21, 2014
Even the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, tweeted her concern over the dolphin hunt -- a comment that caught the attention of many in Japan, especially considering the dolphin hunt is rarely covered by media in that country.
Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries.
— キャロライン・ケネディ駐日米国大使 (@CarolineKennedy) January 18, 2014
Japanese officials responded to these criticisms. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference that dolphins are "very important water resources." He went on to say: "Dolphin fishing is one of traditional fishing forms of our country and is carried out appropriately in accordance with the law. Dolphin is not covered by the International Whaling Commission control and it's controlled under responsibility of each country."
The mayor of Taiji, Kazutaka Sangen, said, "We have fishermen in our community and they are exercising their fishing rights. We feel that we need to protect our residents against the criticisms."
With more dolphins sold into captivity than slaughtered, activists claim that the hunt is about money and not about tradition.
This hunt may be over now, but there could be another before the season ends. People are signing petitions, writing letters, and contacting activist groups to try and stop that from happening.