A pod of pilot whales driven into the killing cove in Taiji, Japan, on November 19 was traumatized and held without food or shelter for three days; one was later taken captive, the remainder were killed or dumped at sea.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s volunteers have captured extremely disturbing video of the horrific tethering and drowning of a pilot whale by hunters in Taiji. The graphically violent video, which thus far has been viewed more than 250,000 times on Facebook, can be seen below.
The pilot whale was among an estimated 69-74 members of a large pod driven into the cove. Following the long and stressful drive to the shallow waters – during which time the pilot whales fought for their freedom and were at first split into two separate groups as they tried in vain to escape the hunting boats – the pod was to face three days confined in the cove without food or shelter.
On November 20, the violent captive selection and slaughter process began, as the protective matriarch of the pod was tied up to keep her from interfering with the brutal killing of her family. After three hours, 11 pilot whales had been slaughtered and one captive was forcibly dragged under the tarps for captive selection and later taken to the Taiji Harbor pens.
After staying huddled close together through the night, the pod faced continuing horror on November 21, when over the course of four hours, 21 more pilot whales were killed.
On the morning of November 22, Sea Shepherd witnessed bodies of several pilot whales floating along the nets that lined the cove, as at least five pod members had apparently succumbed overnight to the violence and the trauma of witnessing the brutal deaths of their family, and drowned.
Still, the hunters continued their actions. One pilot whale – who appeared to have already been “pithed” by the hunters (stabbed by inserting a metal rod through the spinal cord, just behind the blowhole), visibly bleeding and barely able to stay above the water’s surface – somehow managed to briefly break away from under the tarps and tried to find a way out by the rocks alongside the cove, but was dragged through the water and back to the boats by a hunter in a wetsuit.
The video captured by Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians reveals the actions of the hunters and the heartbreaking desperation of the dying pilot whale, who was tied by its flukes to the side of one of the hunting vessels and mercilessly left to drown, further dispelling the myth that Taiji’s hunters want the public to believe that the killing of these animals is quick and humane.
14 pilot whales were killed on the final day of November 22, 46 members of the pod in total. One pilot whale was taken captive, and the remaining members of the shattered family were transported back out to sea in slings. These small whales, likely juveniles, were abandoned at sea by the hunters because they would not produce much meat. Though they are left with little chance of survival on their own, they will not be counted in this season’s self-imposed quota which allows for a total of 1,873 cetaceans (including 101 short-finned pilot whales) to be slaughtered or captured.
Source: Sea Shepherd
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