Dolphin Captured In Hunt Has 'Lost The Will To Live'

A new video shows just how depressed he is — but we can help stop this.

<p><em>Sea Shepherd Conservation Society</em><span></span></p>

In a recent video, a dolphin floats on the top of a square-shaped sea pen - he looks dead. After a few moments, the dolphin shifts position - he's alive, but barely.

The video was taken at the Taiji Whale Museum, a place in Taiji, Japan, where cetaceans are kept in tiny, chlorinated tanks or in small sea pens just meters from the ocean.

What's more, these marine animals have witnessed the brutal and bloody murders of their families. Every year, local hunters drive pods of wild dolphins into a killing cove by banging metal poles against the sides of their boats, creating a "wall" of sound that traps and disorients the dolphins.

Once they have herded the dolphins into the cove, they choose the best-looking ones to be sold in the captive entertainment industry, while the remaining ones are slaughtered for their meat.

The waters of the cove during the annual hunt | Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has crewmembers on the ground in Taiji for the fourteenth year. Captain Jessie Treverton, the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian campaign leader, has been managing a group of volunteers as they take covert images and videos of the dolphin drives, as well as the animals at the Taiji Whale Museum - including the listless dolphin in the sea pen.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

"I really thought the dolphin was dead when I first arrived," Treverton told The Dodo. "It didn't move for quite a while. It really seems utterly depressed and it's heartbreaking to watch."

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

While Treverton said she doesn't know the full story of this particular dolphin, the unfortunate animal would have been captured in the notorious cove either this year or during a previous hunt. The dolphin will live the rest of its life in captivity, being forced to perform tricks and entertain guests in the dolphin shows - the Taiji Whale Museum also offers paying guests the opportunity to feed or swim with dolphins in the same cove that usually runs red with blood during the hunt.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

"I've been sailing the world's oceans professionally for nearly 20 years and have never seen a dolphin behave in this way or look so utterly depressed," Treverton said. "In the wild, dolphins look so happy and full of joie de vivre, but this one, and the others in the tanks at The Taiji Whale Museum, look utterly depressed. It's like they've lost the will to live."

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

To help Sea Shepherd continue to monitor Taiji, you can make a donation here.

You can also visit The Dolphin Project to sign a petition and find out more about how you can help stop Taiji.