What’s the snapshot? 

  • Trip.com, Klook, Traveloka, Get your Guide, TUI and Groupon are selling tickets to dolphin entertainment venues linked with the Taiji dolphin hunts.
  • We found 107 dolphin entertainment venues across 17 countries with links to Taiji.
  • The dolphin entertainment industry is the key economic driver of the Taiji dolphin hunts.
  • Latest consumer polling shows 79% of participants would rather see dolphins in the wild than in a captive environment.
  • Travel companies such as Airbnb have introduced animal welfare policies, leading the move away from cruel wildlife interactions.

Click here to read the report


How does the dolphin entertainment industry drive demand for the Taiji dolphin hunts? 

The global captive dolphin entertainment industry is a key economic driver of the Taiji hunts, fuelling demand for the wild capture of live dolphins. 

What are the Taiji dolphin hunts? 

The Taiji dolphin hunts occur from September to March every year in a small coastal town in Japan called Taiji. The dolphin hunters set out on boats to find pods of dolphins, lower steel poles into the ocean and create a sound wall underwater to drive a pod of dolphins into a cove. The long chase and sound-based hunting can result in acute stress and injury.

Once the dolphins are in the cove, the hunters net off the area and the selection process and bloodshed begins. Dolphins are either brutally slaughtered for their meat or forcefully dragged from their ocean home to live in captivity. 

What are the economic drivers of catching wild dolphins? 

The Taiji dolphin hunters told The Guardian in 2017, “…dolphin meat for human consumption generates only modest profits” (around US$500-$600 per animal).”  

The human consumption of both whale and dolphin meat has reduced over time, and shows up as less than 0 in official statistics.

The hunt for dolphins to supply to entertainment venues began in Taiji in the 1960s with the opening of the Taiji Whale Museum in 1969 signalling the start of a lucrative wild capture industry for the small town.

With live dolphins fetching between US$40,000-150,000, it is the live dolphin trade economically fueling these brutal dolphin hunts.

What’s the link between travel companies, dolphin entertainment venues and the Taiji hunts?

In 2023, we conducted desktop research to identify countries and facilities that have purchased dolphins originating from Taiji’s dolphin hunts. 

Since the 2018/2019 hunts, approximately 663 dolphins have been captured live from the wild in Taiji. The majority were bottlenose dolphins to supply the captive dolphin entertainment industry.

Our desktop research, gathered from Cetabase, CITES and Japan’s government statistics, shows wild-caught Taiji dolphins have been directly exported to 17 countries.

In total, across the six travel companies that sell tickets to Taiji-linked venues, there were 50 offerings (such as sales and packages) for such venues.

Of the 17 companies we assessed, 11 companies did not sell tickets to Taiji-linked dolphin entertainment venues and a few of these companies have developed progressive policies that avoid captive wildlife activities.


Signs of industry change in response to consumer sentiment 

The report includes detailed global consumer data commissioned by World Animal Protection with 23,726 participants around the world. The results are astounding.

In response to the mounting evidence against the use of wildlife in entertainment, a growing number of travel companies have been moved to protect wildlife such as dolphins by removing wildlife entertainment offerings and adopting wildlife-friendly policies.

These companies include:

AirbnbBooking.comBritish AirwaysExpediaThe Travel Corporation


Why is it imperative that travel companies take urgent action? 

We are calling  for urgent policy action from TUI, Traveloka, Klook, Trip.com, GetYourGuide, and Groupon to: 

  • stop selling tickets to dolphin entertainment venues linked with Taiji, and 
  • introduce animal welfare policies to stop supporting animal cruelty more generally.

The release of this report serves as a notice to all travel companies to urgently stop selling tickets to dolphin entertainment venues. It is imperative that these companies prioritise animal welfare by implementing robust policies to prevent the perpetuation of captive wildlife attractions.