Oscar winning documentary "The Cove" is going to provide the basis for a new television show on Animal Planet, according to Entertainment Weekly. The show will be focused on the controversial dolphin trade in Japan.
“The Cove” tells the story of an annual rite in Taiji, Japan, where fisherman sell dolphins into captivity or kill them for meat. As depicted in the film, the practice is cruel and the dolphin meat contains risky levels of mercury. The series will pick up where the movie left off and also stars animal activist Ric O’Barry. Two episodes of the series have already been completed, although a premiere date has yet to be announced. The series may premiere in the fall, according to Animal Planet, after “The Cove” debuts on TV this summer. O’Barry’s son Lincoln is the executive producer of the show.
The show will address questions that fans of the film may have wondered about, says the Discovery Channel. Issues that may be addressed include whether or not the slaughter continues and whether the Japanese still unknowingly eat dolphin meat with high levels of mercury.
“What has happened now is that they’re not killing dolphins in the cove; they’ve moved offshore,” O’Barry said. “They’ve created an artificial cove out of nets, and they drive the dolphins in there and kill them so we can’t photograph it. But we have some drones and small planes and things to prove it.”
Animal Planet president Marjorie Kaplan is supportive of the show, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Ric and Lincoln O’Barry are fascinating men with an important mission and remarkable stories to share,” she told the paper. “We’re delighted to be working with them on their next project.”
The Japanese government expressed a different opinion in a press release issued on Sunday, according to the Miami Herald.
“There are different food traditions within Japan and around the world,” the government said in the statement. “It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.”