Taiji, Japan – The massacre of dolphins and whales continues in the infamous cove of Taiji, as “hunters” savagely kill scores of these highly intelligent ocean mammals to reach their 2015 self-imposed quota of 1,873 cetaceans.

Included in that number are 101 short-finned pilot whales, and for three days in November a large pod was cornered and slaughtered to yield nearly half of that quota. The matriarch of the pod was tied up while her family was killed by “pithing” (stabbing through the spinal cord just behind the blowhole) and forced drowning.

One particular whale’s horrific death was caught on video by members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who make up a Cove Guardian team for the Taiji area. They witnessed the entire 3-day slaughter.

In the video, a desperate pilot whale managed to escape from under the tarps and was trying to find a way out along the rocky shore. It had already been pithed and was bleeding heavily as it repeatedly launched itself against the rocks in fear of the approaching boat.

A man in a wetsuit dragged the doomed animal back to the boat, where it was tied by its flukes to the side of a hunting vessel. The pilot whale, left to drown, thrashes tremendously but in vain.

46 of the approximately 70 members of this pod of intelligent, highly social creatures were killed during those three days. Whales could be heard crying out loudly as they swim through the blood-stained waters.

Those that were too small to be of monetary value for the hunters were dragged back out to sea in slings, their lives shattered by the torture and death wrought on their family. These are likely juveniles and will not survive on their own, but will not be counted in the quota.

The destruction of pilot whales and other cetaceans from these yearly “harvests” extends beyond the self-imposed quota, and could soon spell an end to some species.

“Short-finned pilot whales are listed as ‘data deficient’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There is simply not enough information known about their remaining wild populations,” said Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson. “Migrating dolphins and whales are not infinite ‘resources;’ they are living and vital parts of the ocean eco-system that the nations and government agencies of the world must take action to protect before it is too late. As Taiji continues to ruthlessly wipe out entire pods—multiple generations at a time—of wild migratory pilot whales from the sea, they may very well be driving pilot whales to extinction.”

The Free Thought Project reported in September on another heartbreaking video captured as the annual Taiji hunts began. A Risso dolphin appears to try and throw itself at the feet of Ric O’Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project, who witnessed that particular slaughter at the Taiji cove.

International outrage is growing at this merciless six-month long hunt sanctioned by the Japanese government. They claim it to be part of tradition and cultural heritage, but the dolphin and whale drives using powerboats, and the mass killings, are a recent phenomenon.

The “hunters” say the whale and dolphin deaths are quick and humane, but these videos prove that to be a lie.

Please share this to help spread awareness and hopefully bring an end to this annual tragedy.

Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.