Friday, 24 September 2010

Disconnection breeds apathy and destruction – connection fosters care and restoration

With this in mind, I would like to share a poignant example of the transformation reconnection can bring.
The small coastal village of Futo in Japan became infamous around the world for the brutal slaughter of many hundreds of dolphins. For thirty years, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Mr. Izumi Ishii was a dolphin hunter. But, one day, Mr. Ishii looked into the eye of a dolphin he was about to kill – and a connection was made. For the first time their pitiful cries touched his heart and suddenly, he could not continue. Mr. Ishii laid down his knife, vowed never to kill dolphins again and began to speak out against the cruel practice.
It took tremendous courage for him to denounce a centuries old tradition in a country where tradition is revered. Mr. Ishii is alone in his community in trying to end the dolphin slaughter.
To demonstrate alternative ways of generating livelihood, he retrofitted his hunting boat and began dolphin and whale watching expeditions, proving to his fellows that dolphin watching is more profitable than dolphin killing. Mr. Ishii now values dolphins not for their meat, but for the wonder they incite.


Leah Lemieux is an author and lecturer who works on dolphin protection, education and conservation initiatives.


  1. SUPERB LEAH! I have been looking for insights like yours. Right now in New Zealand men, who once hunted whales and fired harpoons into them, are part of a regular whale spotting team that has produced new data resulting in the humpbacks they spot being reclassified internationally as endangered.

    We must never attack the cetacean killing by Japanese , Norwewgians, Faroese etc people over this issue. Most nations are or have been involved. It is a matter of changing perception. My Facebook page* has been trying to alter that from new knowledge. I have dined with the Japanese whalers in a San Francisco restaurant. They are just people like you and me. *

    But your man got that when he looked into that eye!

  2. Thank you for this lovely and touching post! This is a very unique blog...