(SEA SHEPHERD/TAIJI DOLPHINS) Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, along with Alexandra Paul of Baywatch and Missy Hargraves of Lost, arrived in Taiji, Japan yesterday. The three celebrity activists traveled to Japan to witness firsthand the cruelty behind the cruel Taiji dolphin trade, and encourage their fans to call for an end to the brutal annual dolphin slaughter.

Simon will serve as an honorary Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian, and will spend his three days in Japan conducting interviews and spreading the word on the inhumane crimes committed against dolphins.

So far this year, Sea Shepherd estimates over 800 dolphins have been killed and 164 were taken captive. Continue reading below for more on Simon and his friends’ determined efforts. — Global Animal

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This season alone, there have been between 1,365 and 1,463 dolphins driven into the Taiji cove.  Photo Credit: theguardian.com

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Award-winning Television Executive and devoted Sea Shepherd supporter Sam Simon has arrived overnight in Taiji, Japan to serve as an Honorary Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian for Operation Infinite Patience and witness the final week of the brutal 2013-2014 dolphin drive hunt season in Taiji’s Cove.

Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter
Co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon is also a renown animal rights activist. Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter

Co-creator of the popular, long-running animated comedy series, “The Simpsons,” Simon is a gifted writer, producer and director who has also worked on such critically acclaimed TV classics as Taxi, Cheers, The Tracey Ullman Show, and The Drew Carey Show. The recipient of a dozen Emmys and a Peabody award, Simon is also known as a dedicated philanthropist who works tirelessly on behalf of animals and the disabled.

One of Sea Shepherd’s most devoted supporters, in 2012 he underwrote the purchase of the conservation group’s newest member of its fleet, and it was appropriately named the SSS Sam Simon in his honor. Registered in Australia, the ship is currently on campaign for Sea Shepherd Australia, successfully defending whales from Japanese whalers’ harpoons in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Simon flew to Japan and arrived late last night accompanied by several friends including Television and Film Actress Alexandra Paul, one of the stars of the internationally syndicated and beloved, hit television series “Baywatch”, and TV and Film Actress Missy Hargraves, best known for her co-starring role on the hit TV show, “Lost.” Like Simon, both women are staunch animal protection advocates and want to witness first-hand what happens to dolphins in Taiji so they, in turn, can educate their fans not to support the captive marine mammal trade, the basis for Taiji’s annual slaughter.

SSS Sam Simon is the newest vessel to join Sea Shepherd's fleet. Photo Credit: Ecorazzi
SSS Sam Simon is the newest vessel to join Sea Shepherd’s fleet. Photo Credit: Ecorazzi

As a member of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian team on the ground, Simon will remain in Taiji for three days to witness and document the inhumane capture and slaughter of entire pods of wild dolphins. He will also tour Taiji, participate in live streams, conduct interviews and otherwise use his voice of compassion to shine a spotlight on the crimes of nature being committed against these intelligent mammals who have never shown anything but kindness to humans.

 Simon also hopes to visit the baby albino dolphin nicknamed “Shoujo” (the Japanese name for “Bambi”), who was stolen from her mother during a huge capture of 250+ Bottlenose dolphins that sparked worldwide outcry late last month. Activists believe her mother was killed for her meat or died from the stress of the capture, and “Shoujo” is now living in a filthy tank at the Taiji Whale Museum, rumored to be waiting to be sold to whichever aquarium is willing to pay her exorbitant price tag. Some activists are advocating for her to be sent to a rehab and release facility in the U.S., but Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson has estimated she could fetch $500,000 USD for the killers, so it is unlikely they would ever let her go.

Photo credit: xzonenews
Over 800 dolphins have been killed so far this season. Photo credit: xzonenews

Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are eager to see this bloody season draw to a close. According to their estimates, this season alone there have been 1,365 – 1,463 dolphins driven into the Cove. Of those driven in, an estimated 800+ have been killed, 164 have been taken captive, and there have been 12 known incidental deaths. Last year, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians estimate approximately 1,486 were driven in, 899 were killed, and 247 were taken captive, and there were 15 known incidental deaths.

 “We are honored to welcome dear Sea Shepherd friend, Sam Simon, to Japan to witness the end of Taiji’s 2013-2014 dolphin drive hunt season,” said Senior Cove Guardian Leader Melissa Sehgal.

“He is a powerful and dedicated voice for animals everywhere and we know his presence will help us spotlight the extreme inhumanity of these hunts and killings,” Sehgal added.

"The Cove" film revealing Japan's annual dolphin slaughter wins Oscar for Best Documentary
“The Cove” film reveals Japan’s annual dolphin slaughter and won the Oscar for Best Documentary.

The drive hunt and slaughter of thousands of dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs throughout Japan each year. They used to happen in regions like Iki Island and Futo, Japan until they were slaughtered to extinction in those waters.  The most well known among these annual hunts occurs in Taiji from September 1st and usually continues to March 1st of the following year.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first brought Taiji’s killing Cove to the world’s attention by capturing and releasing now-iconic undercover footage and photos of the brutal captures and slaughters in 2003, revealing the blood-red waters of the Cove. The release of the Academy Award-winning film “The Cove” in 2009 again shone a spotlight on the hunts, bringing international attention to the dolphin killings and their link to the captive industry.

Though many individuals believed that the film successfully brought an end to the hunts, this was not the case. So, in 2010, Sea Shepherd launched Operation Infinite Patience, sending Cove Guardians to Taiji each year since. Despite efforts by the dolphin killers and Japan to hide the bloodshed in Taiji, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians have been the world’s window to Taiji, exposing these atrocities.

Sea Shepherd is the only group on the ground along the shores of Taiji throughout the entire six-month hunt season, live streaming and reporting every capture and every slaughter for the world to see. Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians will not stop until the slaughter ends.

More Sea Shepherd: http://www.seashepherd.org/