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ALIVE 60 (1-2/05) P.8

SOS from marine animals

Wild dolphins were captured and exhibited at aquariums

On the 11th of November, dolphin drive hunt began for the first time in five years at Futo in Izu Peninsula , Shizuoka Prefecture . About 100 dolphins were driven into the bay, 19 dolphins were captured, 14 of which were sold to aquariums.

In Futo, there had not been any drive hunt conducted since 1999, and instead a local fisherman started "Dolphin, Whale, and Nature Watching", which has been quite successful. This drive hunt was conducted in response to the request from aquariums. So there would not have been any drive hunt, had it not been for their request.

Dolphin drive hunt not only disrupts the social order of pods of wild dolphin  but the hunt method is extremely brutal and humane both in capturing and slaughtering as well. This incident has revealed that there is a close connection between aquariums, which are supposed to be educational institutions, and dolphin hunt.

 In a drive hunt, dolphins are captured in a way that is against their behavior, and it has become known that it could have devastating impact on pods of dolphins in the wild Aquariums, which maintain the attitude of protecting dolphins, have fishermen chase around dolphins in order to capture them alive and select the ones they like, specifically female dolphins of 2.5 meter in length. This causes many dolphins to get injured and bleed so much that the color of the ocean turns to blood-red with a lot of them dying of shock or from drowning.

It has become clear what aquariums are actually doing behind their propaganda, in which they claim that they promote education and protection. It is necessary for people to become aware of the cruelty behind the dolphin shows at aquariums and voice opinions against it.

Dugongs in danger in Okinawa

In Okinawa , where it is estimated that as few as approximately ten dugongs exist, drilling is about to start for geological research of bottom of the ocean. The plan is to reclaim the sea around the east coast, Henoko, and to construct a US Army base. And although many people oppose to the excavation, it is about to be carried out without environmental assessment. Dugongs' lives hang by a thread.

Gray whales in danger in Sakhalin

 Gray whales' last habitat in Asia is about to be destroyed due to the development of a large scale oil field in Sakhalin . Gray whales have been captured since the end of the 19th Century and are at the brink of extinction. It is estimated that the last population of only a few dozen exists.

Gray whales roll to one side and suck up bottom sediment, which includes amphipods, and use their broom-like baleen as a filter to strain out all of the sediment and keep all of the food inside the mouth. They inhabit along the coasts, which makes them vulnerable to coastal developments and ocean pollution.