The term "drive hunt" was created to describe the method of locating and then herding a pod of dolphins in front of a fleet of small "banger boats". The dolphins are herded in front of the boats by wall of sound created by the engines and metal poles deliberately banged by rods to deafen and confuse the animals. The most publicised is the hunt in Taiji, Japan.
After a long drive, sometimes hours in duration, the pod is corralled into a bay which is netted off from the open sea. Ironically the dolphins do not try to jump the nets, this is a behaviour they are later taught but which would aid their escape in this situation.
At this point in the procedure "selectors" are brought to the exhausted, stressed pod and the animals which are the best looking ones are selected for a life in captivity. They will be "broken-in" which involves force feeding dead fish by tube or arms shoved down throats until they learn to take it from humans, or die. They are trained in basic "tricks" so that their new owners can put them to work immediately. At some stage they will be transported to another part of the world often by aeroplane to live out their existence in a tank or sea pen. They will never experience freedom or family again.
Life as the "unchosen" dolphins knew is about to end. The remaining animals will be slaughtered in front of their relatives, their spinal cords hacked with long handled tools. Blood will spout from their blowholes and the water in the bay will turn scarlet and there will be the stench of death and the screams of the dolphins as they panic and thrash around shielding each other from the cruel "fishermen". In recent years to prevent the iconic red seas, the hunters bung the blowholes of the dolphins with plugs to contain the blood. Death, if they are lucky will be instant, or else take many long minutes as they suffocate in their own blood and that of their families. This year the hunters have been running the juveniles back out to sea - they may as well not have bothered, these babies will not survive without their families. As for the mercury contaminated meat - well that just goes straight into the warehouse stocks to be sold for human and pet consumption.
Dolphina Park, Sharm el Sheikh, told us that the three adult dolphins in their park came from the Black Sea and that the calf was born in captivity in Cairo to wild caught dolphins of unknown origin.
Warning: Video content is distressing and graphic.