September 1 marks the official start of the dolphin drive season in Taiji, Japan. Every year, Ric O’Barry and his Dolphin Project team visit the cove to raise awareness over the forthcoming hunt and remember the thousands of dolphins already killed.
"Our Dolphin Project Team and I are returning to Taiji once again to oppose the killing of dolphins and to warn the people of Japan about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat," said Ric O’Barry in a release to Digital Journal.
The Director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, will join representatives from five continents who will arrive at the Cove in Taiji, Japan, to conduct a series of events to mark the new dolphin slaughter season and to tell the world what is happening in Taiji.
Beginning at 11 AM on September 1st, the official opening day of the dolphin drive season, participants will form a circle for a moment of silence and a prayer for the souls of the dolphins that have been killed in the past and will be killed in the coming season.
According to the Earth Island's International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP), "Taiji receives permits to kill almost 2,100 dolphins each year in the most horrible ways imaginable."
But it isn't solely the dolphins who will receive recognition that day.
The Dolphin Project also plans to also honor the Japanese people who lost their lives in Taiji and the Wakamaya Prefecture because of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the August 2012 typhoon. The project said it had team members on the ground during both of the disasters, and we were "deeply saddened by the loss of life and turmoil."
Russ Ligtas of the Philippines plans to perform an ancient Japanese Butoh dance in honor of the dolphins. The Butoh dance is traditionally performed in white body makeup and features slow hyper-controlled motion. It is attributed to Japanese choreographer, Tatsumi Hijikata, and guru dancer, Kazuo Ohno. Up-and-coming singer-songwriter and guitar artist Arielle, will also perform a song about the dolphins that she has written herself.
Ric O'Barry displays dolphin meat for sale in Japan.
Other participants will line the street in front of the Cove with signs in Japanese warning the local people that 'Dolphin Meat is Poisoned by Mercury.'
"Heavy metal pollution of dolphin and whale meat makes it dangerous for anyone to eat," said Earth Island's IMMP.
O'Barry's trip to Taiji will coincide with the single largest gathering ever by Japan Dolphins Day volunteers from around the world. On August 31 and September 1, over 90 cities representing more than 30 countries, are hosting events to raise awareness of Taiji's forthcoming hunt.
"We have made some progress" in Taiji, said O'Barry. "The number of dolphins being killed in Taiji have gone down for the past four years of our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign," he noted. Meanwhile, the activist continued, "Japanese people, being warned about mercury and other contaminants in dolphin and whale meat, are buying less and less of it."