Japanese Cove Town to Release Dolphins

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 10, 2009 3:55 AM CDT
Marine Mammal specialist Ric O'Barry looks at dolphins in a tank at Whales Museum during his tour to Taiji, western Japan, earlier this month.    (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa)
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(Newser) – The Japanese town that triggered a furor after a documentary highlighted its dolphin slaughter is granting a reprieve to 100 of the animals, reports AP. Some 50 dolphins will be sold to aquariums, and the remainder of the 100 trapped for yesterday's first hunt of the season will be released back to the sea. The town of Taiji made the decision in response to anger triggered by the film, The Cove, which showed bay waters turned red with blood in the town slaughter.

"I am elated," said Ric O'Barry, the one-time trainer of American TV celebrity dolphin Flipper and director of The Cove. "When I heard that, I did a backflip off the bed." It's not yet clear if Taiji will permanently end the dolphin slaughter. Some 50 pilot whales were killed yesterday in the town hunt.