The Taiji cove dolphin slaughter – the reason I wrote IGAZI

"Taiji - The cove for dolphin slaughter in Japan"

Photo credit to the Ocean Preservation Society



Most people in my immediate social and familial circle had never heard of The Cove up until a few years ago. I assume that it’s still the case for most people on the planet. Even as a wildlife photographer, who researches species and locations to photograph, Taiji in Japan, simply slipped below my radar.

Thankfully, Ric O’Barry and Louie Psihoyos went about creating a powerful and poignant documentary. Something, which opened the world’s eyes to the annual dolphin slaughter that happened each year. It also highlighted the insidious wildlife trade that it flourishes off the back of it.

Books for the environment

I had already begun work on the Kyle Gibbs Series, set in a climate changed world, at that time. The continued escalation of rhino poaching in South Africa kept bothering the conservationist within me. I really wanted to get cracking on a conservation series. A mechanism to help to highlight major global wildlife issues around our planet.

The original idea was to start with the state of ivory and rhino horn poaching in Africa. Then the plan was to cover the ravaging deforestation going on around the planet. However, once I saw the full version of The Cove in 2010, I knew that it was this topic that I wanted to cover first.

The character of Hudson Drake grew out of my anger and disappointment at having to continually protest peacefully to gain acknowledgement of animal rights around the world. The annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan is nothing short of wildlife genocide in my eyes. Eyes that still well up every time I watch the movie. It’s something we would never tolerate if it were happening to fellow human beings. The United Nations would get involved, sanctions would be metered out, and global condemnation would ensue. So, why is there no such reaction to the slaughter of another sentient species on our planet?


"Igazi - Marinovich Books - Taiji Dolphin Slaughter


As non-fictional beings, all we can do is raise awareness on the streets and continue to apply social pressure on Japan through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Igazi means blood in Zulu, and I chose it because the character, Hudson Drake, hails from KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. I wanted a character that would skirt the laws protecting wildlife traffickers as they continue to commit their crimes. The goal was never to preach about the issues but rather to tell the story through the emotions of all the characters involved.

When it came to the book cover, I wanted to highlight the blood that is spilt every Taiji hunt season (Sept to April). The design brief to my cover designer was “give me a lot of red”. He came up with the leaping dolphin which I think depicts the wildlife entertainment in oceanariums perfectly. It’s these “Seaworld” entertainment shows which contribute directly to the slaughter of large pods of dolphins just to capture the odd animal to sell.

If Igazi can help pass the message on and make a few more people think twice before buying a ticket to dolphin and orca shows. I will be one happy author.



"Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project"

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project


How can you help?

There are many ways to help to put an end to this slaughter. One of the best ways is through education. Please use the power of social media to share this post, and others, with your friends and family.

Here are more ways which you can help to stop the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. CLICK HERE


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