Tokyo, Japan (4E) – The website of a Japanese prefecture temporarily went offline Tuesday after the hacker group Anonymous took it down in protest to a coastal village’s practice of trapping and killing dolphins.
Anonymous announced the hacking of the Wakayama Prefecture website on Twitter after it went offline around 9:05 a.m. local time. The group tweeted again 20 minutes later, when the website became accessible again, warning that the website will be taken down again if villagers in the coastal town of Taiji continue their custom of culling dolphins in a cove.
But Taiji officials and fishermen are defending their tradition, which was featured in the Academy Award-winning 2009 film “The Cove.” They claimed the movie, which showed the Taiji cove turn red from blood of dolphins slaughtered by fishermen, was exaggerated and inaccurate.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted Friday her disapproval of the slaughter, which she described as inhumane and opposed by the U.S. government.
The militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd is also protesting the traditional culling done by driving dolphins into nets before slaughtering some of them for eating. The group streamed live video footage from Taiji and tweeted that blood of innocent Bottlenose dolphins that were murdered turned the cove’s water to red.
Some 250 dolphins were trapped in a cove 40 of which were killed for eating while about 50 were kept alive for sale to aquariums and the rest set free, according to Sea Shepherd, which also protests Japanese whaling activities.
Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen and local fisheries officials defended the dolphin hunt. Sangen said it is the right of the fishermen while the unnamed officials said the hunt is a livelihood of the fishermen.