Update: Dolphins In “Cove” Being Captured
UPDATE, 11:12 a.m., ET: It's the middle of the night in Japan, and the process of sorting the remaining dolphins won't start again until reportedly about 7 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET). CNN has just covered the story, as has Discovery News. For the most frequent updates, be sure to continue to watch Sea Shepherd's Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter. And check in here.
UPDATE, 8:00 a.m., ET: Cove Guardians report that so far a total of 25 dolphins have been taken from the water and loaded onto trucks. One dolphin selected for captivity did not survive this process. Around 200 dolphins remain trapped in the shallow waters of the cove.
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m., ET: Continue to watch Sea Shepherd's livestream for the latest updates (Warning: Images may be graphic). We'll follow up in the morning with the best news coverage of the event. If you want to get involved, please scroll to the bottom of this post for our suggestions.
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m., ET: Several skiffs full of dolphins have left the cove, shuttling the dolphins -- including a rare, albino dolphin -- off to be sold into captivity.
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m., ET: The roundup of the dolphins began at around 5 p.m. ET. Watch The Sea Shepherd's live-streaming video right here.
As of this morning, around 250 wild bottlenose dolphins have been corralled and are currently being held captive behind nets in Japan's infamous Taiji cove. Within hours, dolphin trainers will begin the process of selecting juveniles to transfer into captivity -- after which, fishermen will slaughter most of the dolphins that remain.
According to Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians, reporting from the scene, this dolphin pod is the largest in several years to be driven in by deafening "banger boats" to the Taiji's harbor for the annual dolphin drive hunt, subject of Academy Award-winning documentary "The Cove."
Among the imperiled pod, the conservation group spotted a rare albino dolphin, which will likely be chosen for a life in captivity at an aquarium or marine park.
CNN iReporter MoBrock, also watching the events unfold, says that the after all desirable calves are taken for captivity, most of the pod will face "death-by-spike" and processed for human consumption. Those deemed unfit for capture or consumption will then be forced back out to sea, forced to fend without the companionship of their pods.
ACTION GUIDE: Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
Dolphin roundups and slaughter -- brought powerfully to the public's imagination by he Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" -- happen every year in Japan. You can visit Sea Shepherd's site to learn more about the problem. The organization has many ways you can help -- from volunteering to simply spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. Sea Shepherd also encourages concerned citizens to call and write to the authorities in Taiji as well as the Japanese Embassy in your country, the U.S. Embassy to Japan, U.S. and Japanese Ambassadors to the UN and the U.S. Senate members of the Committee on Foreign Relations, among others -- all of their contact information is on this page. Another group involved in the issue is Earth Island Institute's Save Japan Dolphins.