Taiji plans "swim with dolphins" park

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2012:

Taiji plans “swim with dolphins” park

TAIJI, Japan–Notorious for killing as many as 2,000 dolphins and small whales per winter, the coastal Japanese city of Taiji plans to make Moriura Bay, where the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove was clandestinely filmed, “a huge pool where people can swim and kayak among small whales and dolphins,” the Daily Yomiuri disclosed on May 1, 2012. “Black whales and bottlenose dolphins caught near the town are to be released into the pool,” the Daily Yomiuri said. “The town will consider whether it is possible to raise large whales as well. The town intends to use the park for therapy and ecological research as part of efforts to make the whole town a museum that will allow people to learn about whales, including whale hunting.” The Taiji dolphin and whale killing would continue. Responded Dolphin Project founder and Cove star Ric O’Barry, who first visited Taiji in 1993 at invitation of the Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, “This sounds to me much like the failed Canadian schemes to attract tourists to cuddle seal pups just before they are clubbed. They can have an industry cuddling them or an industry killing them, but not both at once, and neither option is preferable to just leaving them alone.” “The Taiji Whale Museum, run by the town of Taiji, helps to capture dolphins for the international dolphinarium trade,” O’Barry added. “While the dolphin hunters get around $500 or so for a dead dolphin when sold on the market for meat, the Taiji Whale Museum will get more than $150,000 for a trained live dolphin, so the museum actually subsidizes the hunts,” by purchasing dolphins for training and resale. The museum features what O’Barry believes is “the smallest dolphin tank in the world.”

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