3 min read

Japan Ends Whaling Season With 115 Whales, Most Of Them Endangered

Despite an order by the UN's top international court which found Japan's Antarctic whaling program "unscientific" and ordered it to halt, the country sent its fleet out into another region, the Pacific, to hunt this year, and returned home with a cache of 115 whales. The hunt took 90 sei whales -- an endangered species -- and 25 Byrde's whales, which are protected from international trade.

Japan conducts its hunts despite a global moratorium on whaling effective since 1986, under a loophole in the ban that allowed for whaling for "scientific research." It usually comes as a surprise to learn that, in fact, hunting endangered species during Japan's Pacific whale hunt is legal under a loophole of the International Whaling Commission.

This hunt is the second one to occur after the International Court of Justice ordered the Antarctic program to halt.

Environmental activists weren't on hand to document it, unlike similar hunts that occur in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, which are usually documented by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

There are an estimated 80,000 sei whales left in the oceans -- a third of their population before whaling in the 1900s decimated them.

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