An animal-rights activist and star of the 2009 Oscar-award winning documentary "The Cove" captured a "terrified" dolphin's final act as it attempted to escape hunters who had cornered it in shallow Japanese waters.
Ric O'Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project, traveled to Japan Friday to witness the first few days of the Taiji dolphin hunt — a controversial hunt where fisherman herd dolphins into tiny sea pens before slaughtering them using metal rods in mass.
O'Barry's video, titled "Terrified Dolphin Throws Himself at Man's Feet to Escape Hunters," showed one distressed animal swim to the animal-rights activist and throw himself on the rocks as he tried desperately to escape the sea pen. The footage has since amassed nearly 1 million views on YouTube.
O'Barry wanted to help, but couldn't.
"I will be arrested immediately," he said on the video.
"This is aguish," he added. "[He's] panic-stricken on the rocks and I am heartbroken that I can't get in the water and help him away from — he's tearing his skin up. This is awful."
[sharequote align="right"]"It breaks my heart. This is so stressful. This is so difficult to witness."[/sharequote]
A boat of fisherman saw the dolphin on the rocks and forced it back into the shallow water.
"That dolphin's not going to make it," O'Barry narrated. "He's given up."
Moments later, the dolphin sank to the bottom of the sea pen.
"They're sending over a diver," O'Barry said. "Probably with a knife to take him out."
"It breaks my heart," he added. "This is so stressful. This is so difficult to witness. I almost got in the water. I almost got in the water and maybe I should have."
O'Barry said on the video that contrary to claims that the hunt is part of Japanese tradition, it only became a practice in the last few decades. He and other activists contend it is particularly driven by a small group of men who profit greatly from he practice.
"These are the cruelest 50 men in the world right here," O'Barry said on the video. "Shame on the captivity industry for not being here and doing something about it."
O'Barry formerly captured and trained dolphins for the TV show "Flipper" before becoming an anti-captivity activist when one of the dolphins he trained died in his arms.
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