The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums has voted to remain a member of the World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, responding to a move by WAZA a month earlier to suspend the Japanese organization’s membership with a warning that it would be expelled from the world body if it didn’t come up with a more humane way of acquiring dolphins. The Gland, Switzerland-based organization felt that Japan’s use of dolphins taken in drive hunting at Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, was problematic.
In Taiji, fishermen strike pipes lowered into the sea with mallets to disorient dolphins and then drive them into a cove where they catch or kill them. “The Cove,” a 2009 documentary that captured the Taiji dolphin hunt and showed the blood from the slaughter turning the cove red, caused an international furor. JAZA’s decision means that it will prohibit member aquariums from obtaining dolphins caught in drive hunting. WAZA may decide whether to put Japan back on its roster prior to its annual conference scheduled in October.