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Infamous Japan Town on Verge of Mass Dolphin Slaughter

More than 250 dolphins, including mothers and young babies, rounded up for enslavement or death in village made notorious in film 'The Cove'

Jon Queally, staff writer

Dolphin hunters off Taiji in 2010. (Photograph: AP)

Conservationists stationed in Taiji, Japan are trying desperately to sound the alarm over more than 250 bottlenose dolphins who have been rounded up for capture or slaughter in the seaside village made infamous in the documentary film, "The Cove."

According to The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which uses staff and volunteers—known as Cove Guadians—to monitor "Taiji's infamous killing cove," the pod of rounded up dolphins is the largest they've seen in several years.

The group is livestreaming events from Taiji here.

Local fishermen who kill the animals for their meat and dolphin hunters looking to sell them to entertainment parks or aquariums corralled five separate pods of dolphins—which reportedly included "babies, juveniles and a rare albino calf"—into the cove on Friday.

Some dolphins have already been taken out of the water for capture (with some dying in the process), while a large-scale slaughter is feared on Sunday. Activists with Sea Shepherd said the dolphins "face a violent and stressful captive selection process. Babies and mothers will be torn from each other's sides as some are taken for captivity, some are killed, and others are driven back out to sea to fend for themselves."

"It will be a total of 19 hours before the dolphins will be selected for captivity," Sea Shepherd said. "Those not selected will be slaughtered for human consumption. This pod is far too valuable and worth millions of dollars. The baby albino dolphin alone is quite priceless."

As CNN reports:

By the end of Saturday, 25 dolphins had been removed from their pod and taken "to a lifetime of imprisonment," the group said. One of them died in the process and will be butchered, it said.

The dolphins will be kept penned in the cove for another night before the selection process begins again Sunday.

The group is posting constant updates from "The Cove" on Twitter:


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