Dolphins swim close together 'for comfort' before being slaughtered in Japan

Dolphins swim close together 'for comfort' before being slaughtered in Japan

A video has emerged showing a pod of dolphins swimming closely together for comfort and reassurance, before being slaughtered by Japanese whalers. The footage, which was shot in a cove near the town of Taiji, was released by US-based charity, Dolphin Project

Watch the shocking footage here: 

In an article accompanying the video, Dolphin Project revealed that a group of captured pilot whales could be seen swimming in a slow circle, as the matriarch rubbed ''up against members of her family'' in order to provide moral support. Of the group, eight were ultimately selected to be taken into captivity, while the remaining majority were slaughtered. 

A member of the charity and alleged eye-witness to the event wrote:

“Exhausted and traumatized, the family surfaced and spy hopped as they caught their breath. Once the nets were dropped and their fate was sealed, they swam in a tight circle, always touching one another. Their beautiful matriarch could be also be seen swimming around them, always rubbing up against members of her family. Without food or shelter, hunters left the family alone overnight.”

Short-finned pilot whales are a predominantly oceanic species and are one of the largest known species of dolphin, growing up to seven metres in length. Capable of diving to depths of over 600 metres, they are ordinarily found in open sea, but will occasionally head in-shore to forage.

The shocking incident took place at a location known as the Cove - made infamous after the 2009 documentary feature of the same name. Every year, thousands of cetaceans are herded into the large, shallow bay, before being penned in and ultimately killed by fishermen. The hunting season lasts from September through to February, with hunting permitted providing that you have a license. 

Two pink dolphins were recently spotted in a Louisiana river: 

Despite signing up to the International Whaling Commission in 1987, Japan announced the controversial decision to once again resume commercial whaling in July this year. Though this has attracted significant criticism from many members of the international community, the MailOnline reports that the Japanese Fisheries Agency has authorised fishermen to kill or capture around 16,000 cetaceans annually.