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Help Korean Activists Prevent Import of Taiji Dolphins

| Mark J. Palmer
Topics: Captivity Industry, Dolphin and Whale Trade, Slaughter, Taiji, Japan

The Korean activist group Hotpinkdolphins were successful in getting three bottlenose dolphins rehabilitated and released back into the wild after they had spent up to four years in captivity.  The dolphins quickly joined their original pods from which they had been snatched.  The International Marine Mammal Project helped consult on that successful rehab and release of captive dolphins.

Now, aquariums in Korea are proposing to import several more dolphins for captivity from Taiji, Japan, the notorious slaughterhouse depicted in the documentary The Cove.  

Just in the past few days, one of two Taiji dolphins imported to Korea is dead, after being in the Korean aquarium for only five days.  Cause of death has not been revealed.

The activists are asking for our help.

This season so far, since Sept. 1st, 2016, the Taiji dolphin hunters have captured almost 200 dolphins for captivity, most of them bottlenose dolphins. (There have been some deaths in the holding pens, too.)  Once trained and eating dead fish, the dolphins are sold for thousands of dollars, as much as $150,000 or more, to aquariums and swim-with-dolphins facilities in Japan, China, Russia, the Middle East, and now proposed for sale to Korean aquariums.

The activists for Hotpinkdolphins note: “As of February 2017, there are a total of 43 cetaceans locked up in South Korean facilties, most of which are either Russian belugas (9 individuals) and Taiji bottlenose dolphins (29 individuals).  It is well known in Korea that even the association of aquariums of the world, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, have opposed Taiji dolphin imports due to the cruelty of the dolphin drive hunts.  Many Korean citizens recently voiced their fierce opposition when two Taiji dolphins were transfered to the Ulsan Dolphinarium; the dolphins were moved into the tank, located in Jangsaengpo town, Namgu district in Ulsan Metropolitan city, on Feb 9, 2017.  Jangsaengpo is a Korean version of Taiji, Japan.  Three adult bottlenose dolphins from Taiji and two aquarium-born baby dolphins have died of diseases such as septicemia and pneumonia in the short time since its opening in Oct 2009.”


What You Can Do:

Hotpinkdolphins is urging the public to send a letter or email to the Korean Embassy, urging the Korean government to block the import of any dolphins caught in Taiji’s inhumane dolphin drive hunts.  Korea should not be contributing to Japan’s shameful treatment of dolphins in Taiji.  The Korean government should instead join other governments in protesting the slaughter and captures of dolphins authorized by the Japan Fisheries Agency.

Korean Embassy in the US

2450 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20008

Telephone: (202) 939-5600



Thanks for your support!  For further information:

Photo of Korean protest courtesy of Hotpinkdolphins and photo of dolphin from  Yonhap News.