American Dolphin Observers Experience Hospitality in the Midst of the Japan Earthquake

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The people of Japan are showing the world how to face cataclysmic tragedy with dignity, even as they continue to be pummeled by the trifecta of earthquake, tsunami, and damaged nuclear reactors.  Short on food and water, the people of Japan stand in orderly lines and wait patiently for aid.  The winter temperatures reach down to freezing, and parts of the country are without power.  Yet there is no looting, no gangs, no violence among the citizens.
A group of Americans who were in that country to observe dolphin capture narrowly missed being in the path of the tsunami, and in the midst of their own difficulties the Japanese people reached out to help.  The following is taken from dolphin activists Ric O’Barry’s account of the events, be sure to visit the web page to get the full story.

COVE Volunteers Safe After “Apocalyptic” Experience; Taiji Dolphins Perish

March 13, 2011

By Ric O’Barry Save Japan Dolphins

As we reported yesterday, volunteers from Save Japan Dolphins and Sea Shepherd were in Iwate Prefecture, which was one of the areas hit the hardest by the earthquake and tsunami.   They were monitoring the Dall’s Porpoise hunts when the earthquake hit.  Thankfully, today we can report that they are all safe, and on their way home!
After the earthquake hit, both teams headed for the mountain overlooking the city of Otsuchi.  The tsunami hit almost immediately after Brian’s last video post,  They watched in horror as the tides rescinded and then came back with such fierce velocity that the city was quickly submerged.  When it ended, they descended into absolute turmoil.  The city was ravaged – cars toppled, houses and buildings totally destroyed.  Bodies were strewn about – one in a tree, others in cars, several in the wreckage.  We can’t begin to imagine how horrible it must have been.
…It was impossible to drive, so the teams opted to walk to Tono, roughly 30 miles away.  All along the way they ran into locals, who in the midst of their own nightmares, went out of their way to help, offering food, shelter and complete compassion.  Imagine – at this dire moment when they are facing such loss and an uncertain future – they reach out to complete strangers and offer their help.  We are so grateful to them.  Several times our volunteers were given rides towards Tono.

*The bottlenose dolphins which had been captured in Taiji were not able to survive the wave action generated by the tsunami.

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