A Pod is Lost, Capture of Orca Family at Taiji, Japan
On February 7th 1997, 10 orcas were driven into Hatajiri Bay, in Wakayama Prefecture and five were sold to aquariums for a total of 120 million yen (US$1 Million). All ten orcas were held in the bay for three days until on February 10th , starting at about 6.00am, five of them were purchased by three Japanese oceanaria. Nanki Shirama Adventure World (in Wakayama Prefecture) purchased one female and two males. Taiji Whale Museum purchased one female. Izu Mito Sea Paradise (in Shizuoka Prefecture) purchased one female.
In spite of massive international protests, the five orcas captured at Taiji were not released. Three have since died in captivity. The first death occurred on June 14th 1997. At 2.00 pm the young male that had been purchased by Nanki Shirama Adventure World died, followed shortly after, on June 17th, by the female at the same facility. Rumors that she had been pregnant during the capture and that she had suffered a miscarriage in April, were sadly confirmed.
Since the capture at Taiji, the Japanese government has not issued any further capture permits for killer whales.