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Iceland to monitor whale hunt cruelty

Following our call for an investigation into violations of the Icelandic Whaling and Animal Welfare...
Beluga whales in the wild

Beluga whale in River Seine dies after rescue attempt

A beluga whale that became trapped in the River Seine in France has sadly had...
Tilikum, the father of Nakai. © Paul Wigmore

Orca Nakai dies at SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego has announced the death of the orca Nakai. The 20-year-old male orca...
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin © Mike Bossley/WDC

Last captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin to be freed in South Korea

Bibongi, the last Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin held in captivity in South Korea, is to be...

World zoo organisation accused of links to brutal Japanese dolphin hunts

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the organisation behind the world’s leading zoos, is being taken to court in Switzerland by conservation groups over claims that it is directly linked to the infamous dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan.

Waza stands accused of helping secure captured dolphins for one of its members, despite publicly condemning the hunts. The organisation is alleged to have allowed a deal between the fishermen in Taiji (who herd and slaughter the dolphins) and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), which is an associate WAZA member.

During the hunts, dolphins are herded and forced into coves by boats where they then cruelly slaughtered with knives.  Those not killed are specially selected for capture and are sold to buyers from aquariums where they then live out the rest of their lives performing ticks for so-called ‘entertainment’. WDC has previously exposed the brutal methods used to kill the dolphins, which failed to meet the most basic of slaughterhouse regulations.

WAZA’s own code of ethics describes the hunts as “inherently cruel”. Despite claims that the dolphin hunts were part of a Japanese cultural tradition stretching back hundreds of years, records in Taiji itself show that the first large-scale hunts started in 1969 and are mainly driven by the financial rewards gained from capturing dolphins for theme parks rather than the small amount of money that can be earned from selling the meat.