HEARTBREAKING footage shows a mother whale comforting her young before they are slaughtered by Japanese hunters.
Fisherman in the small village of Taiji, Japan, lure the sea animals into a cove before they are killed with knives for their meat in shallow water.
Dolphins are herded together and slaughtered in a small village in Japan[/caption]
The pilot whales are seen rubbing against each other before being killed[/caption]
The mother of the pod is seen trying to comfort her family before they are knifed to death[/caption]
In the clip, released by non-profit organisation Dolphin Project, shows a pod of pilot whales rubbing up against each other in a tight circle.
The mother of the group is seen swimming around her family and touching them – in an attempt to comfort them.
Pilot whales are an extremely social species of dolphin known for their high levels of intelligence.
But experts say that it is their social nature which is exploited by hunters when driving them towards the cove.
In a blog post, the Dolphin Project wrote: “Yesterday, a nursery pod of pilot whales was ruthlessly hunted for hours and then driven into the shallow waters.
“Exhausted and traumatized, the family surfaced and spy hopped as they caught their breath.”
Eight of the pod were selected for a life in captivity before the hunters began killing the rest for their meat – which is high in protein.
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The blog post continued: “Those new captives were left to watch and listen as their family was slaughtered right next to them.
“It was heartbreaking to witness that and know how emotionally bonded this family was.
“The captives that were taken to the sea pens in the harbour also had to endure watching their dead family being dragged past them on the way to the butcher house.”
The hunting activities in the village were the subject of the award-winning documentary The Cove.
The hunters lure the animals into a cove and kill them in shallow water[/caption]
The hunting of the dolphins in the village was the subject of a 2009 doc The Cove[/caption]
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