The 2011-2012 dolphin drive-hunting season in Taiji, Japan, is over—a full four weeks sooner than expected.
Save Japan Dolphins is reporting that between 726 and 786 dolphins were killed this season, roughly 400 fewer than last season, when the kill count was 1,190. In the 2009-2010 season, 1,336 dolphins died. In 2008-2009, 1,484 lost their lives.
The pattern is clear—fewer and fewer dolphins are dying each year.
Ric O’Barry’s message—and the countless couriers that deliver it each day, both on the ground in the infamous Cove and across the planet in blogs and on social media—is having a demonstrable effect.
“Due to our relentless campaign of educating the Japanese people about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat, the demand for such meat is way down in Japan,” wrote O’Barry.
Here is a snapshot accounting of the highs and lows of the 2011-2012 killing season.
(Photo: AFP Stringer/Getty Images)