Four hosts will be going to Sydney's busiest mall on August 31 to spread awareness for the upcoming Taiji dolphin drives. Set to commence on Sept. 1, the dolphin hunt season runs for six months.
The event in Sydney, Australia, will be one of a listed 102 events planned for Japan Dolphins Day, an annual protest timed to coincide with the beginning of the drive hunt season in Taiji, Japan.
As documented in the Academy Award-winning film, The Cove, the drives take place in the small coastal whaling village of Taiji in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan. Dolphins across several species are driven into a tiny cove by fishermen and either slaughtered for their meat or sold (at great profit), to the captive marine industry.
Last season, 1,486 dolphins were driven into the cove. More than 60 percent were slaughtered.
For Cathy Gilmore, who will host the Sydney event along with Petra Anderson, Elizabeth Brown and Rebecca Gilmore, the mission is simple. She told Digital Journal, "it comes from a deeper place within that you just can't ignore."
Inheriting a love of the environment and wildlife from her mother, rescuing animals has been in Gilmore's blood for most of her life. "At one time," she said, "I was a fully trained and licensed rescuer/carer of every Australian animal on land and in water." But one of her most memorable rescues, Gilmore said, involved a juvenile Bryde's whale that had beached itself at Toowoon Bay in 1999.
"It's mum was just off shore," she told me, "and we were floating the juvenile with about seven people either side of it, because it was big, even for a baby."
Gilmore, who was positioned up front in between the whale's eye and pectoral fin was close to its ear, and had her hands resting on the whale's throat grooves.
"I remember thinking, don't ever forget this feeling," she said, and "in my mind I kept saying to myself, 'you're holding a whale!' The marine mammal advocate did her best to comfort the ailing mammal, whispering in its ear, "not to worry, we will get you back to mum."
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians
This image, captured by Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians last season in Taiji, Japan, shows a slaughtered dolphin being ferried to be butchered. The dolphin still bears the wooden plug inserted into the kill site following a metal spike to the spine. The plug prevents blood from seeping into the Cove, making the waters less red.
When the whale began to move, Gilmore was delighted. The juvenile finally swam out to the ocean to rejoin its mother. Both mother and calf were successfully tracked all the way to Antarctica by the National Park Service.
A lifelong passion for marine mammals now firmly established, Gilmore told DJ:
When I watched The Cove four years ago, I was devastated. I had been involved with rescuing these magnificent animals and I couldn't believe these atrocities were happening.
Wanting to learn more, Gilmore stumbled across the Facebook social media campaign: Save Misty the Dolphin, and immediately jumped into the cause.
"We were so lucky last year," she said, "as we had Andy Rom (the legend that found Misty), Thomas Gainard and the Sea Shepherd crew as the Steve Irwin had just docked five minutes from where we were rallying. There was a lot of very passionate people standing as one for the cetaceans," she added.
This year for Japan Dolphins Day, Gilmore and the three other hosts will hold their event at the busy Pitt Street Mall in Sydney's central business district. Docking nearby will be the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's newest ship, the Sam Simon.
"Lots of tourists, including Japanese, will be able to hear what we have to say," Gilmore said, "so we can educate, educate, educate."
Japan Dolphins Day, Sydney Australia
Cathy Gilmore (L), Petra Anderson (C) and Rebecca Gilmore (R), will host the 2013 Japan Dolphins Day in Sydney, Australia, with a fourth host, Elizabeth Brown. (Not pictured).
Further information on the Sydney Japan Dolphins Day event which be held on Saturday August 31, from 10:00am until 2:30pm (UTC+10), is available at the Sydney Facebook Event Page. For a complete list of all global events visit Japan Dolphins Day.net.