Taiji’s dolphin hunting season has kicked off once again in Japan, signaling hundreds of dolphins to be slaughtered.

Recently, a heartbreaking video footage has been circulating online showing a family of dolphins swimming together before the hunters closed in on them to slaughter them. Dolphin Project, a non-profit organization, posted the video.

“It’s been a tragic start to the dolphin hunting season here in Taiji. The month is not even half over yet and we have seen brutal slaughters and heartbreaking captures take place,” Dolphin Project posted on Twitter.

Dolphin Project added that the nursery pod of pilot whales had been “ruthlessly hunted” for hours before they were driven to the shallow waters to be killed.

“Once the nets were dropped and their fate was sealed, they swam in a tight circle, always touching one another. Their beautiful matriarch could also be seen swimming around them, always rubbing up against members of her family,” they also wrote on their website.

Eight from the pod were taken for captivity, while the others were killed. “The slaughter process was long, bloody and loud,” the Dolphin Project blog post added.

Photos from Dolphin Project

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– New law will let hunters kill endangered jaguars, monkeys and parrots in Brazil’s rainforests
– Japan whalers resume hunting after a three-decade hiatus, whales face extinction