Japanese fishermen hunting in Taiji, Japan have captured a very rare albino Dolphin. This Dolphin was captured within a cove in Taiji where 11 other Risso’s Dolphins were also killed. Due to the rarity of this species of Dolphin, there are many opponents of the controversial hunt that takes place in Taiji every year from the months between September and March. While the majority of Dolphins that are caught end up being killed for their meat, some are sold to be displayed in captivity. The albino Dolphin that has been caught by these fishermen is looking to be sold into captivity to be displayed as well.
The protest group known as the Sea Shepherd Conservationist Group has stated that the albino Dolphin is currently resting within a small pen. This Dolphin is currently being taught how to eat fish that are already dead and how to adapt to and understand interactions with humans. The price that the albino Dolphin is to be sold at is just around $500,000. The capturing of the albino Dolphin isn’t the only thing that is being protested about this hunt. The slaughtering of so many Risso’s Dolphins within the area that the fishermen are hunting is also a hotly contested debate for many within the conservationist group, with a total of 170 killed already during this year’s hunting season.
This latest albino Dolphin has been named Shiro by the conservationist group and is actually the second albino Dolphin that has been caught this year in Taiji. Shiro is the Japanese word for “white”. The first albino Dolphin that was caught by these Japanese hunters was captured in January of 2014 and was a female Bottlenose that goes by the name of Angel. This albino Dolphin is slightly different from the latest that was caught in that she has a pinkish tint to her white skin, unlike Shiro. While there are many opponents of these hunts, there are also defenders, specifically Japanese people living in and around Taiji. They argue that the hunt is a cultural tradition for the country of Japan and is necessary to keep the tradition going.
It is believed by the Sea Shepherds that Shiro is not adapting that well to latest conditions, as he was observed being force-fed just recently. The conservationist group wants a zoo or aquarium to step up and take in this albino Dolphin, but all have failed to do so thus far. At the moment, the Dolphin is currently being held within the Taiji Whale Museum. There is an option for the museum itself to display the Dolphin, but all future plans depend on which option earns the most money. The museum and the Dolphin’s captors have yet to share any ideas on what they plan to do, so the future of Shiro is still up in the air. If you are interested in Dolphins and would like to see what they are really like up close, you can actually swim with Dolphins in the Bahamas.
To help to try and save this rare dolphin, and future dolphins from the Taiji hunt, visit takepart.com, or sign the petition here.