Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
Clear the list graphic

Clear WDC’s Amazon Wishlist for Giving Tuesday

The holiday season is knocking on our doors and Giving Tuesday is coming up soon!...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...
The Codfather being good with Anvil kick feeding right next to them_0761 branded

Spout Spotters: Boater Safety Around Whales Online Course Launches

After countless hours behind the computer, bountiful snacks, and a few stress relieving walks with...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
65556ab2635fdab7b4e12265b9623d64

Stream to Sea: Orca Action Month 2022

This June was an exceptionally busy and exciting Orca Month, starting with a somewhat surprising...
We need whale poo ? WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...

It’s Time To Breach The Snake River Dams

The Snake River dams were controversial even before they were built.  While they were still...
Nat Geo for Disney+ Luis Lamar

Five Facts About Orcas

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable and popular species...

Those who are not counted

Marna Olsen and Hans Peter Roth provide another update from their monitoring activities in Taiji, Japan on behalf of WDC.


It could be seen from afar, as there were crows circling above it. A carcass of a Risso’s dolphin presently lying on the beach between the big Taiji lighthouse and our vantage point, where we normally monitor the dolphin drive hunts, close to Taiji Highschool. It was washed ashore there last Monday or Tuesday. It is already in a progressing state of decay and various animals have started feeding on it. The sight of this dead juvenile dolphin is shocking to us. Its’ death is undoubtedly linked to last Monday’s drive hunt, when about one dozen Risso’s were killed in the infamous cove of Taiji.

We can only assume what killed the poor thing. The cetaceans die of stress, exhaustion, or due to injuries, when hunting boats run over the animals and they get hit by propellers or other parts of the boats. These animals do not always sink to the seafloor, but can remain afloat due to gasses in the body and then be washed ashore. 

The dolphin hunt we witnessed last Monday, October 19th, was of particular cruelty. It lasted for about 5 hours, before the dolphins were finally trapped in the cove. It was heartbreaking to see this family pod with several calves and their despaired, completely exhausted mothers trying to protect them, until they were brutally slaughtered one by one, hidden under tarps in the killing cove. The body of the dolphin seen in the picture is one of the victims of this killing. And it will never show up in any killing statistic.

In spite of its’ state of decay, many scratch marks can be seen on the body. Though some may be a result of the carcass washing up on the sharp rocks ashore, others indicate different kinds of injuries, as if it had been entangled in nets, including around the snout. Dolphins drowning in the capture and killing process in the cove is common. Those are not used for their meat. The fishermen regularly put them on a skiff, cover them with tarp, haul them out to sea and dump them, as has been observed many times.

So it seems very plausible that this has been the case with this poor juvenile Risso’s. As she was still swimming free and unsuspecting with her pod last Sunday still, her body is now reduced to a decaying carcass, her whole family having been wiped out.