Fishermen in Taiji town, southwestern Japan, recently discovered an albino dolphin and killed 11 others. According to reports from CNN, the albino dolphins are being trained to eat dead fish and adapt to human interaction, and can be sold for up to $500,000. The dolphin would begin life in captivity in a marine park.
The controversial dolphin hunts in Japan typically take place from September to March in Taiji waters. Most dolphins are killed for their meat, while others are sold to marine parks around the world. Locals consider this a long-standing tradition, no different from the slaughter of many other animals for meat. However, environmentalists argue that the hunting is driven by profit. So far this year, about 170 dolphins have been killed since the start of the hunting season.
Dolphins are typically gray in color, but a genetic mutation can cause them to have white and pink eyes, giving them an albino appearance. This difference and prominence in color can make them more vulnerable to attack than other species. Despite this, the killing of albino dolphins is not uncommon in Japan, as they are considered a prized catch due to their rarity and potential high value.
Many animal rights activists and environmentalists have expressed their concerns over the dolphin hunts in Japan, arguing that the killing of dolphins is inhumane and unnecessary. The hunts have been the subject of numerous documentaries and campaigns, and have gained widespread attention in recent years.
In response to the controversy surrounding the dolphin hunts, some marine parks around the world have stopped buying dolphins from Japan. However, the practice continues to be a part of Japan’s fishing culture, and many locals view it as a vital part of their heritage.