pilot whales

Pilot whale pod slaughtered in the Faroes

A large pod of pilot whales have been slaughtered in the Faroe Islands, in keeping with the archipelago’s ‘grindadrap’ tradition which sees the culling of the creatures.

Although official kill figures from the island of Vagar have not been published, the grindmaster’s estimate states that it could be around 150 pilot whales, which would make it one of the bloodiest slaughters seen in several years.

The cull took place just two weeks before the scheduled arrival of Sea Shepherd crews in the island group who are set to launch the 2015 Faroe Islands Pilot Whale Defense Campaign, dubbed Operation Sleppid Grindini.

The slaughter started at around 4:00am local time, with the Faroese Fisheries Patrol ship, Brimil, finding a large pod just south of Vagar. Over the next few hours, up to 25 hunting boats forced the pod in the direction of the beach at Miðvágur, where the cull eventually took place.

Sea Shepherd Global CEO Alex Cornelissen noted that the island’s beaches were once again red with the blood of whales, and without the organisation’s presence to shine a light on the ongoings, the massacre would continue unabated. He added that their intention was to ensure this did not happen.

For hundreds of years, Faroese people have been gathering up migrating pilot whales and driving them towards shallow waters before slaughtering them. The local term, ‘grindadrap’, sees whole family groups of whales and dolphins killed in just a matter of hours.