Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A letter from Japan

The Safari would like to thank the British embassy in Japan for their prompt response to our recent request. We are reassured that there are good people on the ground raising awareness with their contacts within the Japanese government - if only their message was heeded with a little more urgency and a little less 'nationalism'. The only bit of the letter we don't like is the penultimate word 'stocks' as it implies trade or commodity which these creatures should not be, surely 'populations' would be a better word.

Thank you for your email on dolphins in Taiji.

The UK opposes all forms of dolphin and porpoise drives and believes they cause unacceptable levels of suffering.  At the recent annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in July, 2011 (IWC63) the UK urged members to support the conservation of small cetaceans.

Under international law it is primarily for individual countries to regulate the management and killing of small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) in their own waters, so dolphin hunts such as those in Taiji and Futo are regulated by Japanese domestic not international legislation.  However we feel very strongly about the welfare issues raised by these dolphin hunts.  In response to previous hunts we have raised our concerns with the Japanese Government and sought assurances that legislation regulating them will be improved and enforced. We also continue to work within the International Whaling Commission to sponsor resolutions that raise the profile of the issue and to encourage the IWC to adopt a strong position in favour of the protection of small cetaceans.

The UK Government has, bilaterally and in the IWC, regularly raised its concern over Japanese dolphin hunts with the Japanese Government and will continue to do so until there is progress through these discussions.  The Japanese Government are in no doubt of the strength of feeling in the UK about these hunts and the UK Government will continue to make their opposition to the hunting of small cetaceans known to Japan at every appropriate opportunity and argue that they undermine the credibility of the IWC as an effective organisation for the conservation of cetacean stocks worldwide.

Climate Change and Energy Section
British Embassy Tokyo

We're not sure how many dolphins were killed today, some more were taken captive and some we think may have been driven back out to sea, these are often juvenile animals 'not worth killing' but often too young to survive without their families - so effectively 'killed' anyway.
We'll let you know if we get a response from the Japanese.
All we can hope is that the souls of those lost ask Ryujin  for vengeance and send a tide to wash Taiji clean off the face of the earth for ever. Enough is enough!

On a lighter note the stealth-cam has been busy overnight with several recordings of our Long Tailed Field Mice through the hours of darkness. One mouse is a regular occurrence, two mice fairly frequent but look at em all - three - - a site record! Click full-screen for an improved viewing expeerience.

But then we saw that the time recorded was 08.00, it's just about light by then so we assumed stealth-cam had been triggered by a neighbour's cat sneaking by. 
But no it was two mice staying out late!

Half an hour later and now fully daylight...really taking a risk!
Continuing the long tailed theme the only birds of note in the garden today were four Long Tailed Tits briefly on the feeders. Standing at the window watching those we realised we could see the ledge where the Peregrine roosts, from a downstairs window??? And then we twigged - someone has cut another large tree down or at least seriously pruned it, they probably got scared by the recent high winds but it's yet more local habitat destruction and there's precious little habitat improvements going on round here. Later we did get that 'Armchair' tick; Peregrine from the sitting room armchair - good but for very much the wrong reason!

Still off work and looking after a poorly legged Frank, which is much better now, we've been watching BBC Winterwatch on the webcams and hovered over the print screen button to capture this cheeky Red Squirrel, we were almost pishing at the screen to make him turn round he spent so much time nibbling with his back to us think that counts as '#desperation'
Used to get them from time to time in Ma n Da's garden when we were a kid, sadly all Grey Squirrels there now - bring back the Pine Martens!
Where to next? More from Base Camp again tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's become very numerous in your outback

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