Over 250 dolphins are being held in captivity in a cove in a central Japan fishing village, according to an international marine wildlife conservation organization.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says five separate pods of Bottlenose dolphins were forced into Taiji’s cove Thursday and were held overnight.
The organization says the pods now include over 250 dolphins, the largest pod to be driven into the cove in several years per Global News CA. According to the Guardian, U.S. conservationists say some of the mammals will be killed for their meat or held permanently in captivity.
The fishermen say the hunt is part of their village’s tradition and call critics hypocrites for eating other kinds of meats.
Receiving international outrage, many have turned to social media to voice their concern including celebrities such as Ricky Gervais who tweeted: “URGENT: 250 bottle nose dolphins in Taiji cove now. #tweet4taiji please stop the slaughter. RT. Thank You.”
Last September, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum flew to the remote Japanese fishing village to protest against the annual dolphin hunt.
Petite actress Hayden Panettiere also famously tried to stop the dolphin hunt in the past, attempting to meet the mayor and representatives from the local fisheries union.
“We are trying to peacefully come up with better ideas as to how to generate income and utilize the nature here,” Panettiere told reporters. “We’ve been to Taiji before and it’s a beautiful place with beautiful wildlife.”
The ongoing global campaign to stop the dolphin killing in Taiji received worldwide attention after the 2009 Academy Award-winning film about the hunt called “The Cove”
The Japanese government allows about 19,000 dolphins to be killed each year. Taiji hunts about 2,000 every year for meet, less than other places, but receives more attention because of its “oikomi” method of herding and killing them near the shore.