Taiji Miracle: Captive Dolphins Endure Typhoon Roke

Tia Butt, the new Cove Monitor for Save Japan Dolphins, is reporting on Twitter that roughly three-dozen dolphins survived the violent seas brought on by Typhoon Roke, which struck the Japanese coastline earlier today.

The dolphins were held captive in sea pens at Hotel Dolphin Resort in Taiji, Japan, a fishing village made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, starring dolphin activist Ric O’Barry.

Because dolphins in pens must keep themselves in the middle of the enclosures in order to avoid being tossed against the bars, they can never rest. When seas are rough, it is possible that a dolphin will simply tire out, stop swimming, and drown to death.

The news comes three weeks after a dozen dolphins survived similarly rough seas caused by Typhoon Talas, the deadliest storm in Japan since 2004.

The storm delayed Japan’s dolphin-hunting season, which runs annually from September through March, by one week.

Ceta-Base.com, an on-line database tracking the number of dolphins killed each year in the cove reports that “only” 14 cetaceans have lost their lives this season.

As portrayed in the film, Taiji fishermen attract the dolphins into the waters of a secret inlet and weed out the ones worth selling to aquariums.

The rest are butchered and their toxic meat sold is to supermarkets.

Despite continue international pressure to end the bloody ritual, the village’s fisherman are determined to continue the hunt, arguing that it is a traditional rite that can be traced back 400 years. Up to 2,000 dolphins are killed in Taiji waters each year as part of the country’s 20,000-dolphin quota.