When The Cove won an Oscar at the Academy Awards at the beginning of the month, environmentalists celebrated the success of such a revealing documentary. Since then, the people who worked on the film have uncovered that even a U.S. restaurant sold whale meat, putting the issues surrounding dolphin and whale hunting under greater scrutiny, which is unlikely to wane in the coming months. The film, with its images of a blood bathed bay, and dying, harpooned dolphins, will be distributed in Japan this summer.
“’This isn’t just about saving whales,’ said Louie Psihoyos, the director of ‘The Cove,’ a documentary that chronicles eco-activists’ battles with Japanese officials over dolphin hunting. ‘But about saving the planet,’” according to an article
in The New York Times
Right after the movie won an Oscar, a sting operation conducted by the film's creators revealed that a restaurant in Santa Monica, named the Hump, was selling endangered Sei whale as part of its omakase menu, which is a dinner chosen by the chef.
To uncover the true source of the sushi, the team sent samples of the meat to a scientist in Oregon, who found that the pieces were not fish at all. “Sei whales, found worldwide, are endangered but are sometimes hunted in the North Pacific under a controversial Japanese scientific program. It is highly unusual for a restaurant to serve the meat in the United States,” another Times article
The restaurant has since closed, posting on its website
that, “Closing the restaurant is a self-imposed punishment on top of the fine that will be meted out by the court. The owner of the Hump also will be taking additional action to save endangered species.”
The covert actions taken by the team that put the film together, as well as the movie’s haunting images, will be showcased again this summer when the flick plays in theaters in Japan, and again later in the year when it airs on Animal Planet, where executives greenlit a series tentatively called “Dolphin Warriors” after the movie won best documentary.
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Seventy-year-old Rick O'Barry an animal activist and a star of the film, “is heartened by the fact that the film will be released at a limited number of Japanese movie theaters in June,” reports
the LA Times
. "They can't deny this film anymore," he said. "The last couple of months have meant validation, in a word. It's been a breakthrough for me."