Rare albino dolphin captured in Taiji: Sea Shepherd


A rare albino dolphin has been captured by Japanese fishermen, said a campaign group staging a protest over the sale or slaughter of the creatures.

The albino Risso’s dolphin was driven into a cove over the weekend by fishermen at Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, said Sea Shepherd, which has teams of observers in the remote town.

Campaigners are trying to halt the annual slaughter of the dolphins in the town, as well as the sale of some to aquariums.

They complain that locals claiming to be upholding ancient traditions of killing and eating dolphins are actually more interested in the often-valuable sale of live specimens.

The latest catch was made on Sunday, Sea Shepherd said, adding that another albino was caught in Taiji some 10 months ago.

“It is horribly sad to see another albino dolphin taken by the killers here in Taiji,” said Karen Hagen, a leader of the campaign group’s Cove Guardians volunteers monitoring the hunting in Taiji.

“These rare, beautiful, and unique animals will spend the rest of their days confined to small tanks, where they will live out their shortened lives performing tricks for food,” she said in a statement.

The group said Taiji fishermen have so far killed about 170 Risso’s dolphins in the hunting season that stretches from September through late February.

The campaigners are streaming live footage of the secluded bay, into which local fishermen corral hundreds of dolphins for slaughter, a practice that thrust the small town into the global spotlight in 2010 when it became the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”

Defenders say it is a tradition and point out that the animals it targets are not endangered, a position echoed by the Japanese government.

  • qwitwhining

    Japan is raping the oceans with no regret…killing and eating dolphins and whales…their so called ‘whaling’ program where they kills whales for ‘research’ is unlawful yet they continue to do it…International law prohibits this, yet they continue to do it…they wont stop until the oceans are dead of all intelligent life!

    • Mike O’Brien

      Sorry but international law doesn’t prohibit whaling. In fact it allows whaling.

      • Sfarmer

        You are dead wrong there buddy.

      • Mike O’Brien

        No I am completely correct here buddy.

        First the only ‘international law’ about whaling comes form a voluntary organization, the IWC. So it doesn’t even apply to most countries. Hardly international when it doesn’t apply to most of the world.

        Second even the IWC ‘law’ has exceptions, one for indigenous tribes, another for research. Oh look ‘research’, do I need to write it slower so you can understand? And the IWC itself NEVER claimed that Japan wasn’t do research and NEVER claimed Japan’s whaling was in violation of any ‘law’.

        Maybe you need to learn what facts and reality are before you make yourself look even more ignorant.

  • FunkyB

    The Taiji dolphin slaughter began too recently, and has the wrong motivation (money only) to qualify as a “traditional” practice in the context of Japanese history. To be more effective at stopping this, organizers should target the aquariums that are buying the animals and their customers with an educational campaign. If visitors bringing their kids there knew what the dolphins went through, they might see visitor numbers go down. Conversely, aquariums that source their animals more responsibly would stand to benefit. This is all about money, so the cash flow needs to be reduced for there to be a lasting effect, I think.

  • Danni Reichel

    Please stop this horrible practice of capturing and slaughtering dolphins without care. These are highly intelligent, beautiful creatures and this nasty ‘tradition’ is outdated and cruel. It reflects badly upon Japan.

    • Mike O’Brien

      So if they were dumb and ugly creatures it would be OK to kill them, right?

  • Terranite

    The history of this hunt goes all the way back to 1969. I never knew until a few years ago. If it stops now I can therefore only justify supporting Japan once agan and purchasing goods in the 2050’s. Why continue to make the number bigger? At least others might take a softer aproach and resume purchases immediately. Does Japan want business? I cannot back down as it would only bring me shame to do so.

  • freedolphins

    It’s shameful for all of us Japanese as well. It happened in our own country and has continued the shameful dolphin hunt and trade with aquariums in and out of country. When I went to see captive dolphins in Taiji, many kinds of dolphins looked so sad and came closely crying. They should release all dolphins including albino ones. I wonder why most Japanese people have no interest or stand up against them?

    • brwstacsj

      I am glad to read you post. I hope that you will will help to make your Japanese family and friends aware of the horrific slaughter and capture of dolphins in Taiji. Japanese voices against what they are doing are extremely important as the protests of non-Japanese people are ignored or deemed racist. There’s nothing racist about wanting the killing and selling to end. Thanks again and please, please speak up against what they are doing.

    • Kissindra Schlepp

      I have come to think the book Red Azalea explains the mentality of Japans culture…

    • Rochelle Lantano

      Thank you for letting us know that you and some of your compatriots feels sad about this. I wish you and others will urge your Government to stop this since you guys are Taxpayers, you have the right to say something about this. If Japan thinks that it is tradition, then its still living in the past but why all the high technology ? Is that not just the opposite of being traditional? Thank you again for your sentiments. Please let your voice be heard and spread the word among your friends especially the slaughter that happens everyday from Sept till March.. Only you and others as a Japanese citizen can really change Japan’s stand on this, we are here to support. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu

  • Jen Brook

    Something that began in 1969 is not ancient tradition. If we used ‘tradition’ as an excuse for anything, human slavery would never have been abolished! Just because something was acceptable once upon a time, does not make our more educated civilised minds willing to accept it any more. End the brutality and free the dolphins. Do not buy a ticket to Seaworld.

  • Karina1

    These animals are not theirs to kill and enslave, Japan does not care that the rest of the world see this as total evil.

    • Mike O’Brien

      Would “the rest of the world” include all those places that have dolphin shows and buy the captured dolphins?

  • ziggypop

    When are the good people of Japan going to rise up and stop the massacre and imprisonment of these intelligent creatures? The world is watching!

  • Thank you so much for reporting the horrific atrocities that are going on Taiji. Are the majority of Japanese actually aware of what’s going on? Would you swim with dolphins after seeing the bloody massacre of these highly intelligent sentient animals? Would you eat their meat? This is what is happening in Taiji right now. The pretty ones are kept for captivity in marine parks to “entertain”. If they don’t perform, they don’t get fed. Some dolphins have been known to commit suicide because they can’t take their imprisonment anymore This is not a fun day out for them. The rest of these dolphins there are slaughtered. Please help spread the word what is really going on. It is arrogant to think humans have the right to take these animals from the wild, from their family groups, to use for human’s selfish whims. Please wake up before they are all gone! :'(

    • Rochelle Lantano

      half and half.. they know but refuses to talk about it and make a stand on it.. its cultural thing.. Some do and protest about it but I suppose they become an outcast .. and probably their lives even threatened because it is highly political as well, and behind these are really bad people that gets protection.

  • Barb

    Thank you for reporting…you did forget to mention babies are thrown
    back to the sea without any adults to teach them how to eat, where to
    migrate too, how to live. That they swam in the blood of the parents
    waiting to get shoved back out. Forgot they have to shove feeding tubes
    down there throats because they will not eat dead frozen fish until they
    are hungry enough.
    That the “fisherman” killers are hiding
    everything they do, blocking off areas so the murders cannot be seen
    anymore. If this is tradition and alright to do, why are they hiding
    behind rocks and tarps.
    That these are not fish, they have bigger
    brains than humans, have there own language, live in family units, are
    the humans of the sea.
    That one captive was dying in the pen so they took it away and hid it so everyone would think it was okay.
    The meat is poison and hardly anyone eats the meat anymore, the meat is being put into storage because they have so much….
    the question is why do they keep killing them? Why keep doing the
    hunt..captivity is where the money is and these families are being
    murdered and ripped apart to put them into parks for people to swim with
    and watch them do tricks…
    Is this what Japan really wants to be
    known for? With media today it is spreading all around the world and
    people are taking notice. I for one will not buy a Japanese product
    until it stops…this is no longer something that is going on in
    secret. So until companies help stop it they are
    supporting it in my eyes.. Does the world think Japan should be honored with the Olympics being in a country that continues to do this.and has no problem doing it with the world watching…..the shame of Japan…..

    • Barb

      Remember when you buy a ticket to swim with or watch them do tricks you are also supporting this hunt. This is where the dolphins come from….Do NOT buy a ticket !!

      • Mike O’Brien

        There are places where you can swim with them and watch them do tricks? I need to find where the closest one is and plan to visit on our next family vacation.

    • Rochelle Lantano

      well said Barb..

  • brwstacsj

    If anybody reading is Japanese, please help defend the dolphins. Non-Japanese have very little influence in stopping what is going on in Taiji except witnessing on behalf of the dolpins the horrific slaughter. Please, please speak out against it.

  • Kissindra Schlepp

    Last time it was a bottle nose. And they dont sell just a few to aquariums they are the Primary Supplier for the World. An albino like this is worth more than half a million usd. The average capture, depending on training level at time of sale, are worth 10,000 (lowest untrained price) to 50,000 (trained) on an average sale. its a Million Dollar Business. And the dolphin meat is deliberately labeled as other kinds of meat and its wicked toxic! Follow the Cove Guardians Facebook Page to learn everything. Watch The Cove documentary. Get involved in The Orca Project as well on FaceBook. Learn what happens to these blood dolphins, and why places like Sea World and the like ALL need to be Shut Down.

  • Sfarmer

    Thank you for helping bring this horrific slaughter to light. This has to end. It is barbaric and senseless. The fishermen/killers are herding in yet another pod as of this writing.