Adventure Parenting Conservation Education Japan

Sticker on the Heart: Taiji Dolphin Protest at The Cove

Dolphin in captivity at Taiji Whale Museum
Written by Kirstie Pelling

A Sticker on the Heart: Family Taiji Dolphin Protest at The Cove

Kirstie Profile Small

Would you ever take action for what you believe in? What if that action may have consequences? And your children are there to witness, or even join in? While on holiday in Japan this summer we watched ‘The Cove’, a documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese Town of Taiji and felt we had to do something. But what? And how far could we or should we go with three kids in tow…

Forbidden Territory, The Cove, Taiji, Japan

Forbidden Territory. A beautiful cove but strictly forbidden. What’s going on? The Cove, Taiji, Japan.

It all begins in a beautiful bay

We sit on a rock. Behind us, coils of barbed wire and signs tell us to keep out. In front of us, a beach with dozens of families swimming. Parents and kids, all splashing about in a bay that has habitually been stained red with blood. I assumed this bay would be eerie and deserted; weighed down with the ghosts of dolphin mothers and babies. Instead it is normal. Beyond normal; it is a happy holiday resort. My kids look on in disbelief. For once they aren’t asking to go swimming. And then Hannah points to a platform in the centre of the pretty bay. “Is that…is that a dolphin over there?”

Looking out over the Bay towards The Cove in Taiji, Japan

Happy Holiday? Looking out towards The Cove in Taiji, scene of the controversial dolphin drives. Everything looks so innocent.

It starts on social media

Our Dolphin Story begins on social media, when a follower comments on one of our Instagram posts half way through our Japan trip. “Have you noticed the slaughter of dolphins? If you are going to be near these places try to act against it.” We haven’t. But then to be honest we haven’t even ventured into a sushi bar. We ask her where it is practiced. Taiji, she replies. Then she sends us a picture about the Taiji dolphin protest. It is blood red and shocking.

It’s all about The Cove

A little online research reveals that the fishermen of Taiji not only capture, imprison and kill dolphins, in 2009 they were recorded doing so in an Oscar winning documentary. On a stormy night in Hiroshima we download and watch ‘The Cove.’ We aren’t expecting Flipper but we are unprepared for how shocking the footage is. The popcorn and coke we have bought for our cinema night remains untouched as we all watch in silence as quite a few flippers are either butchered or sentenced to life imprisonment in aquariums.

Spooked into action

It is midnight by the time the closing titles run. But no one is ready for bed. Hannah is worried about night terrors and Cameron has questions. Many questions. I am spooked too, by the thunder outside, by the graphic images in the film and the cruelty of human beings. I wonder briefly if showing the children this film was irresponsible.

“The Cove was shot five years ago. Maybe things have changed.” I try to reassure them, and myself. Of course one of them then immediately googles Taiji. Things haven’t changed. In fact the Taiji fishermen are about to ramp up for a new season.

Dolphin being removed from Taiji bay in Japan

Risso’s dolphin being removed from Taiji after end of summer 2014 ‘Dolphin Show’ season, run by the Taiji Whale Museum

The helpless morning after

Hannah joins me in bed in the early hours whispering, “I nearly had nightmares.” That’s a big confession for an eight year old who wants to be an explorer. As the sun streams through our hotel room window, I bite my lip and consider the day ahead. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen and I can’t just carry on having a holiday and forget about it. I have to do something. But what can someone like me do? I could sign a petition with half a million others. I could tweet my support to the conservation campaigners #tweet4taiji. Or we could do something as a family. These people are doing terrible things to intelligent creatures just down the coast from where we are. We have a car and could drive to the town. But what would we do when we got there?

I need help with this and call a family meeting. For a change everyone sits on the bed without moaning and gets stuck in to brainstorming. Could we turn up at the town hall and demand to speak to the mayor? But we are barely managing to order a coffee in Japanese so how would that work? Could we protest? But the hunts don’t start for another ten days and we’d likely just be Billy No Mates by-the-sea. We could stop people from entering the Taiji Whale Museum. But the staff there currently already do that to many westerners.

I am something of a control freak as a parent and rarely short of a plan. But this morning I feel helpless. I’d be lying to the kids if I told them we could halt a practice that an Academy award winning film and five years of environmental campaigns couldn’t derail. But as a parent it is my responsibility to set an example. If I do nothing then what does that teach my children? That they have no influence or impact on the world. That bad stuff can’t be stopped. That if you don’t think you can change the world you might as well not bother trying.

I’m not sure we can change things but surely we have to try? We resolve to go to Taiji to do something. We just don’t know what.

Dolphin in captivity at Taiji Whale Museum

Dolphin in captivity at Taiji Whale Museum. It is an option to do nothing. But what does that teach concerned kids?

Down at Dolphin bay

In the movie ‘The Cove’ looks a forbidding place. In reality this bay, in Wakayama Prefecture in Southern Japan is set in an idyllic, rocky coastline. And today it is packed with families having a good time. Although we are sqeamish about putting a foot into the water, we plan to investigate the dolphin pen that Hannah has spotted. Are these townspeople really keeping a live dolphin penned in the middle of the bay that is being internationally criticised for its inhumane treatment of dolphins? Isn’t that a rather bizarre and public admission of guilt?

In fact, we find there are two dolphins locked in to a very small pen. It is feeding time and they are doing tricks for fish. It becomes clear from the T-shirts worn by the staff on the platforms that the pen is owned by the nearby Taiji Whale Museum. According to conservation groups like Sea Shepherd, marine theme parks and aquariums play a big part in this negative ecosytem. A report in the Japan Times in 2013 stated that aquariums and dolphinariums are growing in popularity in Japan and China, although they are on the decline in the USA, despite the popularity of the Seaworld parks (in spite of the film Blackfish), and in the UK the last dolphinarium closed in 1973.

The dolphin pen in Taiji bay, staffed by Taiji Whale Museum staf

We found this small dolphin pen in Taiji bay, staffed by Taiji Whale Museum staff, containing two Risso dolphins.

Following the dolphins dollars

The drive in Taiji goes like this: migrating dolphins are lured from open sea by local fishermen. They bang poles carried on their boats to confuse the sonar of the animals, who move away from the noise towards the bay where other small boats drive them further in towards the shore. The dolphins are then trapped in nets in the shallow bay and often left overnight or for several days, confused and hungry. A beauty contest is then held where trainers select dolphins for their aquariums. The (mostly) young and trainable dolphins are then lifted out of the water and shipped to their new homes. Environmental campaigner Ric O’Barry claims they can fetch up to around 150,000 US dollars for each dolphin. The rest are taken into a nearby cove. Many are killed for meat, which is sold around Japan. The remaining dolphins are sent back into the ocean, stripped of the support of their family and community.

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group, the government of Japan allows up to 22,000 “small cetaceans” to be legally killed each year in hunts. According to Ceta fisheries data 1450 dolphins from six species were driven into the bay last year (2013), 834 of which were slaughtered.

Snapping the albino dolphin in the Taiji Whale Museum

This rare and beautiful albino dolphin is kept in a small, aquarium tank at the Taiji Whale Museum. Caught in a Taiji dolphin hunt, condemned to captivity.

Watched over by Cove Guardians

The secluded area in Taiji where the killing is done is now known around the world as The Cove. It’s not a local secret any more thanks to the film and the subsequent Taiji dolphin protests of animal rights supporters and the Sea Shepherd organisation whose Cove Guardians put Taiji in the international spotlight throughout the drive season each year by monitoring, tweeting about and live streaming the drives online. These days when the hunt takes place, it is often surrounded by police, coastguards, cove guardians and the media. But today there are only families like us in the bay. And two captive dolphins. We watch these seemingly lonely creatures spinning eternally around the pen, with the wide ocean only metres away and I wonder momentarily if the dead ones are the lucky ones. It is a thought that will occur to me later in the museum.

Taiji Whale Museum, Japan

The notorious Taiji Whale Museum. Even the statue in the pond outside speaks volumes of man’s relationship with dolphins here.

Shocked by the Taiji Whale museum

Some websites say Westerners are banned from entering the Taiji Whale Museum but we get in without any trouble. Staff point us towards the dolphin show, and then we wander around to the building that houses the indoor tanks. Cramped, dirty tanks with different species of dolphin listlessly shooting around. I press my fingers against the glass to make contact with an albino baby bottlenose. Cameron opens the portholes in the outside wall nearest to the tank as a gesture to let the dolphins know he wants them to be free. Ironically the window jams half way.

We wander down a wooden jetty where Japanese tourists are feeding more of the marine animals. I am taken aback by once graceful pilot whales begging for food like dogs. And next to them, packed into small pens, more dolphins. Bagsied from the cove no doubt, by museum authorities. And it is here I feel most conflicted. We have had pods of dolphins following us while sailing in the open sea and I have seen whales in the wild in Iceland. But I’ve never been close enough to touch one. It’s amazing and extraordinary to look into their eyes, see their jagged teeth and smooth, shiny backs. I feel privileged and happy to be with them. Yet this place is miserable and unnatural. An animal that can travel 40 miles in the open sea is hemmed into a small space with five or six others. They are clearly very hungry. They have scars too. And while the famous ‘dolphin smile’ keeps the dolphins looking perky, the whales just look sad.

The sad reflections of a whale in captivity at Taiji Whale Museum, Japan

The sad reflections of a whale in captivity at Taiji Whale Museum, Japan

We hatch a cunning plan

It is in the museum that we come up with a plan. It’s not the world’s best plan but it is a stab at doing something. Cameron finds dolphin Post-It notepads in the gift shop and Hannah spots cute dolphin stickers. We call up a Japanese phrase on Camerons i-Pod using Google translate. Tourists could help stop this. The locals could stop this. Do Japanese families like ours know what is going on under their noses? Just in case they don’t we are going to sticker bomb the town with our very own protest campaign.

End of the summer

On the way back to our hotel we watch the dolphin we saw earlier in the bay being lifted out of the water by a crane. It is lowered onto the back of a lorry. Presumably it is being moved to the museum to clear the bay for other activities. It’s a depressing and surreal sight; a fin and tail poking out of the cloth; the dolphin still and docile. Our mission somehow now seems even more important. Summer season is over. The air is warm yet winter is coming to Taiji. In just ten days time the drives will begin and last until March. Dolphins will be lifted out of the cove like this on a regular basis bound for aquariums. The only creatures swimming in this bay will be frightened, captive dolphins, and whalers. And they’ll all be swimming in blood.

Dolphin being lifted out of Taiji bay by crane

Dolphin being lifted out of Taiji bay at the end of the summer season. We all know what comes next.

Time for our own Taiji Dolphin protest

I’d like to say we begin our action at first light but have you tried to get a thirteen year old out of bed on his holiday? By the time we are ready the cove is busy with museum staff dismantling the dolphin pen. But we can’t hang around. We have decided to sticker selected sites that tourists and locals will use. Our first target is the tourist map of Taiji. We copy out ‘Watch the movie ‘The Cove,’ in Japanese characters onto our pink dolphin Post-It hearts. We will get to the heart of this issue with pretty pastel stickers.

It might be just children putting stickers on walls but I’m aware our actions are not without risk. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m slightly terrified of what I have got us all into. In Japan graffiti has been heard to spark a media frenzy and can be punished harshly. On top of this I know from ‘The Cove’ film that trouble makers in Taiji can be harassed by police and fishermen. And followed. And arrested? It’s no coincidence that the police station is immediately opposite the cove. We leave Matthew in the driving seat to keep the getaway car running. Even though he can’t drive.

You've been stickered. Taiji, Japan

What’s that on that lovely whale monument?

Getting stuck into the action

Our first target is successfully stickered. We take a moment to admire our work and then leg it. Hannah and I then do the girls toilets next to the beach. We figure most of the whalers are men so the stickers will stay up longer on the female toilet walls. We press a sticker onto the map opposite the Whaling Museum in the relevant place. Then on the advert for the Dolphin Resort hotel. We make a stop outside the slaughterhouse. What can we do here? We decide to put a sticker on the vending machine opposite in case we can convert a fisherman who isn’t involved in the hunt. We then target a whale mural, and pop a Post-It on the propellor of a docked research boat.And finally we put a dolphin heart sticker on a statue of a whaler with a spear. Right on his heart. We run away, back to the car, and watch as people stop to pose for pictures. A few of them glance up at his heart. That is exactly what we wanted. Normal people reading ‘Watch the movie The Cove.’ And then hopefully going away and doing it.

Watch our movie to see how we put a sticker on the heart of Taiji.

I leave with a guilty conscience

This all sounds fairly trivial I know. Putting stickers on statues. But to me it’s not. I wrestle with my conscience. I like dolphins but I love my kids. I just have encouraged them to watch a violent movie, then take direct action. We are not a family of activists. We are a conventional family living in a rural English village. I don’t actually do this kind of thing, I read about it in The Guardian.

I’m aware that I am also hypocritical. We are not vegetarians, and I’ve never given much thought to the horrors of meat production. I have never taken part in a protest before. Yet here I am encouraging my eight year old to do it. I am worried we might be caught. There’s CCTV all over the place and they could trace us via our hired car number plate. But on the upside, we are only placing cute dolphin stickers on cute dolphin monuments. Where’s the harm in that? We might not even have got the letters right. We might be writing the Japanese equivalent of The Cat in the Hat.

Thankfully, we leave the country without being arrested.

Whaling Reaearch Ship and Whaler in Taiji, Japan

Whaling Reaearch Ship and Whaler in Taiji, Japan. Perfect symbolic location for a spot of stickering.

Back at home and the slaughter continues

As I write this, back in England, my Twitter feed tells me that fishing boats have just left the harbour in Taiji. Again. It is 5.30am in Japan. A quota has been set by the Taiji Fishermans Union for the season’s catch at 1938 dolphins. Since September 1st they have already had several successful hunts, catching, killing and capturing dolphins. The bay is watched over by Cove Guardians. Unsurprisingly our stickers didn’t change the world. They probably blew away with the next wind. I am still haunted by this happy summer bay that cries in winter and I often think about the albino dolphin calf in its prison. Hannah meanwhile is talking about her birthday party. It is how it should be. Do I regret involving my family? Not at all. In fact it’s time they engaged more with some of the world’s injustice. Would I do it again? In a dolphin’s heartbeat.

A sticker on the whaler's heart in Taiji, Japan

A small but symbolic act. We put a sticker on the whaler’s heart in Taiji, Japan. Our very own Taiji Dolphin Protest.

But what can you do?

If you’d like to help the dolphins at Taiji then watch our movie about our trip to The Cove. See for yourself this beautiful bay that becomes a killing field for half of the year. Show your children the Oscar Winning Movie ‘The Cove’ and then show them Blackfish. Not toddlers maybe, but the over eights can probably deal with both.

Avoid marine parks and dolphinariums. Sign the petition. Talk with the children individually about what you see together on screen. Widen it out to some of the world’s other injustices. Brainstorm what you can do to help. If you want to borrow our stickers you are very welcome.

Over to you

What do you think? Did we do the right thing by going to Taiji and involving our kids? What would you do? Have you ever taken action against an injustice? With or without the family? Do leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Whale Statues on the approach to Taiji, Japan

Whale Statues on the approach to Taiji, Japan

About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


  • Hi! I came across your blog after reading about it on the Sea Shepherd website. I think you did an amazing thing here and I will definitely do the same with my own kids one day. So inspirational!

  • Wow. You are a wonderful family. Thank you all so much for doing this. Total respect to you all. Thank you again xx

  • Hi guys. You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing here. Also, please don’t feel hypocritical because you’re not vegetarian or whatever – the world gets changed by everybody doing what they can, no matter where they’re at. As you said in the video, if just one person changed their mind, it was worth it. Who knows, perhaps there will also be people who were previously unaware who discover this blog post and are prompted to take action too.

    I also understand your being compelled to do something because of the example it would set for your children. I don’t have children but I have a niece I would like to set a good example for, and most of my activism stems from the fact I want to show her to stand up for what she believes in, and to create a better world for her.

    Thanks for putting up this post and video, it’s awesome.

  • thank you from myself and i am sure many other empaths. As the world watches the atrocities in the cove i feel humbled that your family has brought this to light in the hope to bring this to regular people in the street.

    As a volunteer it makes me so proud to see others sharing and caring.

    Oneday we will end this but that oneday has to be soon. The movement will be with our young who can reshaped japans future and educate. It is also Giatsu which is pressure from within Japan so we hope that the younger generation push for this, we see it happening but all too slow. And as there is a huge media of western movies like the cove in Japan and western News, they the japanese do not report on it. So many japanese people are not away.

    Your stickers i hope were seen by many and that many will share or question their governments and fisheries of Wakamaya prefecture.

    As this is not tradition but false, every year this goes on the more lines of dolphin families end. Keep up the wonderful work, share with the schools and teachers and maybe we will end this soon.

    Heart felt thanks & respect
    Cherie Williams
    Sydney Australia

  • Thanks for all your family did in Taiji. The video & the stickers, wow! Just great! I appreciate you taking your time to help bring awareness to the killing & enslavement of dolphins in Taiji. Writing the notes in Japanese using your phone to painstakingly re-create the characters, just fantastic! The whole family is an inspiration to others to DO something to help stop this cruel & inhumane slaughter.

  • I have just watched your video and read your website, it was a great thing to to, I have been watching the dolphin slaughter for a 2nd season and it’s absolutely heartbreaking, I volunteer for sea shepherd as a result, but it just not seem enough. I admire your spirit and the action you have Taken.

  • I think it is amazing what you did over there: watching the movie which is so disturbing and emotional, visiting the cove to check things out, the sticker action is brilliant and showing us all. Marvellous! And great parenting too. What a sensitive daughter and clever son!
    I really want to thank you for contributing to the awareness of this horror.
    I’m very impressed by you and your actions.
    Mieke, Netherlands

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THIS AND FOR SHARING IT.. I have worked with RIC OBARRY to stop dolphin captivity on my island of antigua West indies – check out We can all do something in our own way to protect these innocent beautiful marine mammals. You are doing an amazing thing. it will change your children’s lives! BLESS YOU

  • You are amazing ! Your child are amazing, you did amazing things, even if it seems useless, it is, actually, you did well, you took the good decision…
    You acted, at your level, but you did act, and it is important.
    Congratulation !
    And I love your writing by the way !!! 😉

  • You are amazing, everyone should start doing something however small it maybe, social media will do the rest xx Well Donexx

  • you did good. I’ve signed a million petitions and only wish I had the means to fight against the slaughters with Sea Shepherd. You are right that the Japanese people must be the ones to bring the biggest change. Making them aware is critical, and your idea was a good one! I only wish there was a more radical way to get the word out over there in Japan. Maybe “BANKSY” will step up and pay Japan a visit with his brilliant graffiti and art installations. As horrible as the topic is, I enjoyed reading your article. You certainly have a gift for writing. Thank you so much for caring and being courageous enough to go find out for yourself and for trying to make a difference. You are teaching your children well.

  • Just read your family blog on the sea shepard web site massive respect to your family for making a stand the world needs more people like you.

  • You’re amazing people with such a good heart, not just talking about being good… no you went into action with your kids. What a wonderful family ♡♡♡♡
    Thank you for all your efforts, for sharing your experiences with us. Bless you and send you love from Germany! 🙂

  • As someone who was intimately involved with a dolphin many years ago, I cannot read most articles about the slaughter in Taiji because they leave me intensely sad and feeling helpless. You, at least, went there and did something. Nothing you did was insignificant. May I only suggest that, since you supported the Taiji Whale Museum with your patronage, you turn around and make a comparable donation to Sea Shepherd or one of the other environmental organizations actively working to end the dolphin slaughter? Thank you and bless you for your courage and commitment, I will pass your story on.

  • Thank you for what you did! I had not idea this was still happening until I watch Blackfish last year around mid October. I always new the movie the Cove existed and I always assumed the japansese government ended the slaughter. Oh boy was I wrong. After watching the Blackfish movie on CNN, my research on marine mammals started. My fight against Seaworld started and took me to places I never imagined. People kept posting on Seaworld fb page about dolphins and how they were about to be slaughtered in Taiji. After reading the posts, the first thing that came into my mind was the documentary the cove. I decided to be strong and watch the movie. Since then, I have been writing emails to the press media each time a pod is driven to the cove. I have been telling friends and family to watch the cove and blackfish.

  • I sitting at work crying yet again over humans evil!
    Thank you for doing this and that you kids was with you every stop on the way!
    Mini activistes in action

  • Hi I found your blog via The Cove’s Facebook page. Much kudos. Of course you did the right thing. In general kids need to learn to stand up for what they believe. You know the saying about those who stand by and do nothing being as guilty as those who commit attrocities? Thank your kids for doing this!

    I’ve been following this since I saw The Cove when it first came out. Had the same reaction as you, needless to say. I was hoping to get to Taiji, but haven’t been able to yet, so I pass the news on however I can online, FB, Twitter etc I think this is very much what we need to do. Most of my friends already know, but now and then I get the information out to people who have no idea. This occupies my thoughts most days, but those who know are still in a minority. Only today Virgin announced that it will not cut its ties with SeaWorld and other so-called marine parks so long as they promise not to work in the future with dolphins captured in the wild, but that is not enough. You saw how miserable they are in captivity and how happy they are in the wild.

    What you did is admirable and I salute you!!!

  • I absolutely know in my heart you did a great thing! I feel that the Dolphins and Whales felt your soul and knew you were there wanting to help. Setting examples to our children lead them to being able to stand up for what is right in their future and as adults. I don’t know when this will stop and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t ache for the Dolphins, whales and their families. Most people want to do something to help but don’t either have the financial means or are not able to leave their employment etc., to help. Signing petitions are helpful, spreading the word about these places, talking to others. Refusing to go to theme parks that have any marine life or animals makes a statement in my eyes. It may not be now but each day I feel that people like you and all the volunteers that have put their lives on hold to make a difference will pay off! Thank you for trying to make a difference!

  • You are Amazing. My kids and I watched the cove when it first came out. I didn’t know what it was about and assumed it was a happy dolphin movie. It changed everything I believed in. Since that night I have signed so many petitions and talked with my kids. We would love to just rush the cove and save the day. We know we can’t. We can however boycott anything from Japan. My daughter wants to grow up and save the dolphins an endangered animals. Its a start.

    You are so inspiring thank you

  • I understand why you and your children chose to take the action you did after watching the documentary The Cove. The scenes of animal cruelty in the film are indeed distressing, and it would be great if more Japanese knew what was going on at Taiji so they could act on their conscience.

    You state: “I’m aware that I am also hypocritical. We are not vegetarians, and I’ve never given much thought to the horrors of meat production.” Would you not consider becoming informed about this issue as well? Hundreds of millions of animals (perhaps not all as intelligent as dolphins, although pigs are comparable to dogs in intelligence) are unnecessarily subjected to extreme cruelty in order to satisfy our insatiable appetite for cheap meat. Perhaps if you and your children watched a documentary such as Farm to Fridge – The Truth Behind Meat Production (, you would consider making different choices as meat consumers.

    I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t eat meat, that choice is yours alone to make – though perhaps you might choose to only eat ethically produced meat – but if you’re going to ask people from another country to better inform themselves about what happens in their name, would it be fair for me to ask the same of you?

    Consider this my heart-shaped post-it on your website.


  • Absolutely you did the right thing! Thank you from the bottom of my heart:) the dolphins thank you, if everyone would do something this tragedy will end. I enjoyed your writing and telling of your story, the pictures made me cry of the dolphins and whale, what a terrible place Taiji is. Everyday I try to think of more of what I can do, I’ve signed everything, I’ve wrote to many organizations and Japanese officials, but I feel they don’t care, so what else but to go to Taiji.
    I think your story is so inspirational and it should be spread all over, I wonder if any news media would pick your story up? Thank again so much, together we can make this sad atrocity against such beautiful mammals end in Taiji if we all just do something !!

  • Yes, yes yes!!! If only my family and I were there! What a great idea! If even one person is reached…you’ve planted a seed!

  • I thought that was awesome! well done to your family

    step by step person by person family by family

    we will end this horror!


    ps take your story to every media in the world!

  • You did a wonderful thing, by showing our children the wrong doings of the past generations we can only hope the next generations will bring peace to our oceans. Humans are greedy b*****ds and this senseless capturing and killing needs to stop!!!

  • What a great mom you are and brave too! You have set such a great example of someone who acts for something she believes in no matter what.
    I haven’t watched The Cove but started following the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian page last January when that huge pod of 250 dolphins was driven in. The beautiful albino dolphin Angel you saw at the museum belonged to that family. She was taken from her mom when just a baby, and mom was killed.
    I will never forget how awful and helpless I felt as they slowly killed and removed family members while the rest of the pod watched. It made me sick for days.
    Although I did not show my daughter (4yrs old) anything graphic, I told her what was happening. Mainly because I was constantly crying for the 5 days they were going through this processes, and she kept asking why I was crying. I had to tell her…
    Since then we have joined a few protests one on World Love Dolphin day and at Marineland (one of the worlds worst captive facilities).
    Our world needs more compassionate children. Ones that speak out for those who can’t.
    I hope that at least one family read your notes and went to watch. Apparently many Japanese have no clue what goes on their.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • It’s really inspiring to read about you’re experience. We’re presently in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and every day as we walk the streets we are asked if our kids want to swim with the dolphins. It’s one of those things that you know is wrong but feel like “What can I do?” Your post is a great opportunity to educate ourselves and see what we can do. Love the point that if we as parents do nothing, what does that teach our children? Thanks for giving us a push 🙂

  • I have every admiration for you trying to take some kind of action against this mindless barbaric slaughter of the angels of the oceans… Their own home ! Wish I was able to do what you have done … I shall continue signing petitions and emailing the Japanese Embassy’s and emailing the Japanese Prime Minister … This has got to stop … X

  • I think you’re family is an inspiration. To show your children the horrors of what
    can be happening in the world ( when they’re ready to process it) is a respectable thing
    to do. There are too many people walking around, totally oblivious to what is going
    on around them. Action is needed. Truth is needed. The truth and action your family
    took part in is nothing short of heroic. I commend you all for taking a stand. This is what
    we should all be doing. Well done. Maybe, hopefully, this atrocity will be stopped
    during our lifetime.

  • Hi,
    I found your site when I googled, ‘Is it a good idea to take kids to The Cove in Taiji?’ I am a teacher in Phuket, Thailand. A dolphinarium is due to open here and our kids have been doing loads of work to try and stop it. We learnt that 5 of the 8 dolphins are coming from Taiji. After being inspired (all of us – kids and adults) by a guest speaker from Dolphin project, I decided as a teacher I would like to go to the Cove and help with being a cove monitor. Of course I told any kids if they want to come they can and surprisingly a few parents have said yes. The kids are between 8 and 10 years old. As you have taken your kids, do you think it is a good idea? It will be during the hunting season and the kids are aware of this. We have watched The Cove, Dawn to Death and BlackFish, actually the kids coped a lot better watching it than me. Any thoughts /ideas welcome.
    I look forward tomorrow to showing the kids your site as we encourage all our kids to take action in any way they can. I loved your stickers!

    • Wow Celi, that’s some undertaking. It’s hard to give advice to others on the suitability of Taiji for their kids or kids in their charge. Ours were 8, 12 and 13 when we visited and while they were upset watching the Cove, they wanted to go, see and try and do something and found Taiji itself rather ordinary, although we were just out of season. You’d be better asking one of the active cove guardians about what you might encounter in season and also how they feel about kids on the scene. Personally I’m all for allowing kids to follow their curiousity if it’s safe to do so and admire you for even contemplating taking other peoples! We have some stickers left if you want them. 🙂

  • Thank you for doing what you did for the dolphins of Taiji. Amazing work and your children will now know and spread it to the next generation. Meanwhile its winter 2020 and the hunts are in full flow. The last 2 days have seen slaughters which included juveniles and mothers and calves. Absolutely horrific. Ren Yabuki who is at the Cove daily video documenting it all is a hero to my mind, as he has very little support this year due to Covid and the airport being closed. He is constantly harrassed by the Police and the fishermen. I hope and pray that we can stop this, but whilst people support experiences which include dolphins then they will carry on. I have a website now which I am trying to use to both educate and advise. I also have a FB page of the same name.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow Us

We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


Trips100 - Travel Blogs   Trips100

© Copyright: Stuart Wickes & Kirstie Pelling 2000-2018