Taiji In Photos: From Sea to Stage

One cannot understand Taiji without acknowledging the financial incentives that encourage the hunts to continue. With over 150 orders for live dolphins from Taiji during a single season, the hunters are heavily incentivized to keep capture rates high. Those unfortunate enough to be chosen endure the panicked chase, separation from family, and training through starvation, only to be transported via truck and/or air to a lifetime of confinement and forced performance.

The images assembled below depict the process from the moment of capture to the transfer of dolphins to their buyers.

It’s not about tradition or culture. It’s all about profit and greed, powered by the engine of the captivity industry. The real money is made in the trade of dolphins to aquariums and marine parks. Taiji is ground zero for the largest trafficking of dolphins in the world.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director, Dolphin Project

Swimming tightly together, a pod of bottlenose dolphins is driven into the cove

Swimming tightly together, a pod of bottlenose dolphins is driven into the cove, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

A pod of bottlenose dolphins awaits their fate while being held overnight in the cove

A pod of bottlenose dolphins awaits their fate while being held overnight in the cove, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Bottlenose dolphin attempts escape and gets caught in nets

Bottlenose dolphin attempts escape and gets caught in nets, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Driven in and wrangled into net for a life of captivity

Driven in and wrangled into net for a life of captivity, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Freshly captured dolphins receive hydration and medication, Taiji, Japan

Freshly captured dolphins receive hydration and medication, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Manhandled by trainers, bottlenose dolphin being prepped for life in captivity

Manhandled by trainers, bottlenose dolphin being prepped for life in captivity, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

With the ocean just out of reach, a freshly-caught Pacific White-sided dolphin is being prepped for life in captivity, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Transfer of bottlenose dolphins, destination unknown

Transfer of bottlenose dolphins, destination unknown, Taiji, Japan Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Captive dolphins transported in wooden crates

Captive dolphins transported in wooden crates Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Bottlenose dolphin adjusts to new life of captivity

Bottlenose dolphin adjusts to new “life” in indoor, concrete tank, trading tricks for dead fish Photo credit: Xinhua/Guo Chen / Hefei Aquarium

Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible as authorized by law.

© 2017 Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project. All Rights Reserved.


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