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One of the most infamous dolphin hunting season has begun on the small coastal town of Taiji, in southwestern Japan. Hundreds of dolphins are herded into a small cove by fishermen on boats and then slaughtered for meat or captured to be sold to aquariums and marine parks around the world. These annual hunts last for six months, from the beginning of September through the end of February, during which close to two thousand dolphins are killed.

The hunt takes place early morning, usually before sunrise. A small group of fishermen get into a dozen motorized boats and head towards the region where dolphins are known to migrate. Once a pod of dolphin is found, the fishermen lower several stainless steel poles into the water and strike them with mallets. The noise disrupts the dolphin's sonar throwing off their navigation and causing them to panic. This enables the fishermen to drive the panicked dolphins towards the bay which leads to a sheltered cove. Once inside, the mouth of the cove is sealed with nets trapping the dolphins inside.

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Photo credit: Japan Times

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