At least 250 dolphins could be slaughtered after $40m hunter raid, claims welfare group

Huge pod of dolphins captured in Japan and left for days, says dolphin charity

The charity claim a large pod of dolphins has been captured

Monday, January 23, 2017

A huge pod containing at least 250 dolphins has been captured in Taiji, in a raid which could be worth many millions of dollars.

That is according to activist Ric O'Barry, who runs a watchdog website called the Dolphin Project. O'Barry says the animals could be sold into captivity, or slaughtered.

The site claims a fleet of 11 boats drove in the pod of bottlenose dolphins, trapping between 250 and 300 of them - including several babies.

Although visibility was poor, is is suspected that the hunters were tipped off about the pod of dolphins.

Two nets were allegedly used to keep the animals together, and they were then left trapped in the net overnight on Friday.

Since then the captors have returned a few times to move the dolphins into pens, ready to be sold to aquariums and marine parks, or killed.

A captive dolphin would fetch $155,000 (£124,000) and a slaughtered animal would fetch a few hundred, the Dolphin Project says. Based on these fees, the raid could be worth well over $40 million. 

They estimate that there are still around 50 dolphins left in the net to be sorted.  

Bottlenose dolphins are not currently endangered, however they face a serious threat from hunters around the world.