DOLPHIN WARRIOR: Coast mum at coalface of slaughter
LIZ Carter has borne witness to what she sees as one of the world's great atrocities.
For weeks on end, the Bay mum and business owner watches and films the mass hunt, capture and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.
With her camera always at the ready, Mrs Carter endures a constant police presence and intimidation from physically-imposing dolphin hunters, all in the name of putting an end to the practices they uphold.
The notorious coastal town of Taiji first came to prominence through the Oscar-winning documentary, The Cove.
In the film, covert activists infiltrate the annual dolphin hunt, capturing never-before-seen footage.
It sparked a global conversation, not only about the Japanese town's cultural practices, but about dolphins being kept in captivity.
Mrs Carter, who runs FC Smash Repairs with her husband, said she began her own personal activism to ensure people did not forget the message once the film ended.
Many of the animals captured in Taiji are sold to aquariums and marine parks.
Many of them are brutally slaughtered in the water.
Mrs Carter said a live dolphin could fetch up to $100,000 USD, while a dead dolphin brought in closer to $600.
It is a practice she wants to see an immediate end to.
In fact, Mrs Carter hopes for a day when no dolphins are in captivity at all.
Mrs Carter said it was a "myth” that dolphins were happy in captivity.
She said she dedicated so much of her time to dolphin advocacy to ensure the animals had a future in their natural environment.
"I have two daughters and I want them to see these creatures in the wild,” Mrs Carter said.
She has twice taken the bold step of travelling to Taiji to witness the hunt first-hand - in 2016 and 2017.
A third trip is in the works, though she would not confirm exactly when.
Travelling as a self-funded activist, Mrs Carter stands alongside fellow protesters, lugging a backpack full of heavy and expensive camera equipment.
Her efforts made a considerable impact when footage she shared of the dolphin hunt was viewed about 80 million times online.
She said while there had been no real progress in stopping the hunt, one change was particularly encouraging to see.
"The number of Japanese activists has increased because of education,” she said.
On her first trip, about 10 Japanese protesters took a stand against their countrymen.
That number had doubled by her second trip.
Another positive development Mrs Carter noted was the increased awareness amongst children about the plight of dolphins and whales.
She had no hesitation naming her top hopes for marine mammals.
"I want to see no more whales or dolphins in captivity, no hunting of whales and for people to respect the ocean,” Mrs Carter said.