Dolphins are some of the friendliest and most affectionate creatures alive. In fact, dolphins are known for their kind-looking faces that always seem to express a warm smile. Unfortunately, behind the dolphins’ smile lies a tragic and harrowing tale about the crimes that many dolphins endure today.

The Cove is a documentary film that won an OSCAR for the Best Feature Documentary in 2009. More important than this prestigious award is the bold step the film has taken towards exposing the truth behind the dolphin operations in a small cove located in Taiji, Japan. Every year, over 2000 dolphins are captured and killed in this cove. Most of these dolphins are sold for food all over Japan. Some of the captured dolphins that are attractive are kept alive and sold to zoos and sea parks. This is an operation that is being carried out all over Japan.


These violent—but secret—operations need to be exposed for many reasons. For one thing, dolphin meat has been found to be rich in mercury, a highly toxic chemical that can potentially cause mental disabilities, cerebral palsy and other types of brain damage. In order to maintain the flow of profit, the government continues to cover up these scientific facts.


Aside from this serious health concern, The Cove also features the unforgettable footage of how dolphins are captured, slaughtered and how the perpetrators continue to cover up these crimes. The documentary film also features Ric O’Barry, a marine mammal specialist and animal activist who has been fighting to release captive dolphins for more than four decades.


Interestingly, O’Barry began his career in the 1960’s working for the dolphin captivity industry. As a dolphin trainer for the Miami Seaquarium, O’Barry was the trainer of the dolphins that played Flipper in the popular American TV series. Kathy, one of the dolphins whom O’Barry most frequently worked with eventually died right in his arms as a result of being held captive. The dolphin’s death was a wake-up call for O’Barry. He realised the cruelty behind capturing dolphins, holding them prisoners and making them perform tricks in front of audiences.


Once he realised his calling in life, O’Barry wasted no time in founding Dolphin Project, a group that fights for the freedom of captive dolphins and spreads awareness about dolphins’ plight all around the world. O’Barry was also chosen to direct, a worldwide campaign working to stop the slaughter and captivity of dolphins in Japan.

Check out Dolphin Project here.

Watch the movie The Cove here.