On a small island 100 miles from Tokyo islanders, mostly fishermen, have declared resident dolphins to be citizens, fully protected while in the island's waters....
The fishermen of Toshima Island show us how some Japanese revere and protect wild dolphins. BlueVoice is supporting our long time Japanese ally, Elsa Nature Conservancy, to help the Toshima Islanders educate Japan about the wonders of wild dolphins.
The Toshima Dolphin Project will expand knowledge of this unique island and the relationship between the people of the island and its 16 resident dolphins. It will provide a vision that will inspire their fellow countrymen and bring to them an understanding of the importance of allowing dolphins to remain free and safe from hunters' blades. As we all know, Japan is a nation where up to 20,000 dolphins are killed yearly.
Now we are supporting a dolphin watching initiative at Toshima Island in the hope that contact with wild dolphins and press coverage of this unique development will cause the Japanese people to rally to the protection of dolphins elsewhere in Japan.
Here is a description of the Toshima Dolphin Project written by Sakae Hemmi of Elsa Nature Conservancy, long a collaborator with BlueVoice.
"In 1995 a dolphin came to Toshima waters and remained. In 1998 the dolphin, named Koko, gave birth. The baby was called Piko. The mother and baby were so revered that they were registered as citizens of the island. Around 2010 several dolphins from Mikura island moved to Toshima and several have given birth. As of February 2012, a pod of 16 dolphins swims in the waters of Toshima."
Unfortunately the pivotal man in the Toshima Dolphin Project, Mr. Moriyama, died in February. But others have picked up the banner. Right now funds are urgently needed to finish the project website, send a video team to the island to film the dolphins and fishermen, to make a DVD for release in Japan and to hold a symposium in Tokyo on dolphins in Japanese waters.
Please support this important and wonderful project with a donation to BlueVoice
Sakae writes further: "I think it important to have many people learn and experience that wild dolphins are animals that we can make friends with and live together. Toshima is a very important place to raise the Japanese people's consciousness to protect wild dolphins."
Dedicated to the memory of Moriyama-san
For the dolphins,