According to information received by WDC and partner group, OceanCare, dolphins caught during the cruel Japanese drive hunts are now thought to be held in dolphinaria in Sochi, Russia – venue for this year’s Winter Olympic Games. Other dolphins and small whales, captured in Russian waters, are also on display in the city.
The dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan are fuelled by the demand from the global amusement park industry, which selects and pays huge sums for young dolphins that will appear in ‘entertainment’ shows for the public if they survive the transportation ordeal. According to official trade statistics, in 2012 four bottlenose dolphins were exported to Russia. Existing captive dolphin facilities in the Russian Black Sea port of Sochi have been enlarged, and new aquaria built there following the decision to host the Games in the city.
According to Russian news reports, an endangered Black Sea bottlenose dolphin will drag an athlete carrying the Olympic flame through a pool as part of the torch bearing ceremony.
Every winter, the Japanese community of Taiji is the scene of dolphin drive hunts. During the last five months, many dolphins have been killed and 97 were captured alive to supply the captivity industry – 51 of them during the last hunt on January 17th.
WDC is already concerned by unconfirmed plans to display wild-caught orcas in Sochi.