Japanese aquariums to stop buying dolphins from Taiji hunt to stay in world body
The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums decided on May 20 to effectively ban its members from acquiring dolphins caught in drive hunts in Wakayama Prefecture to retain membership in the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In a meeting of its board, the association opted to maintain JAZA’s membership in the global organization, which was suspended last month on the grounds that Japanese aquariums violated WAZA’s code of ethics.
The decision will effectively prohibit its member aquariums from purchasing dolphins from the town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, which has become infamous worldwide for its decades-old practice of capturing the animals through a drive hunt, in which pods are driven into a cove.
The Switzerland-based international body suspended Japanese membership via e-mail on April 21 because some aquariums repeatedly ignored warnings to stop acquiring dolphins caught in the Taiji drive hunt, a method it views as “cruel.” It threatened expulsion unless the members stopped acquisitions through the practice within a month.
If JAZA was expelled from the global organization, it would have made it difficult for Japanese zoos and aquariums to acquire rare species from overseas facilities through WAZA’s network of more than 1,300 zoos and aquariums.