Taiji Town Lets Families Swim With Dolphins At Kujirahama Beach

Taiji town lets families swim with dolphins at Kujirahama beachA town that has come under international criticism for its dolphin hunt is allowing beach-goers to swim alongside the marine mammals at Kujirahama beach in Hatajiri Bay.
The Taiji Whale Museum provided two female Risso’s dolphins--Cosmo, who is 293 centimeters long and weighs 287 kilograms, and Satsuki, who is 261 cm long and weighs 212 kg--and set up a pen in the sea.

It is uncommon for swimmers to get close to the species in the wild.

But on a sunny July 15, parents and their children were splashing in the sea next to the dolphins.

“This is the first time I got to swim with dolphins,” said a 6-year-old boy. “They came close to me. They were so cute.”

Taiji has come under fire from animal rights activists since the town’s annual dolphin hunt was featured in the 2009 documentary “The Cove.”

The town, however, defends the practice, saying it is a long and legal tradition, and that fishermen there have the utmost respect for dolphins and whales.

The 15-minute swimming sessions will be held twice a day around 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and will run through Aug. 24.