Heartbreaking footage shows a group of dolphins huddle close together shortly before they were slaughtered.
The pilot whales had been herded into a cove near Taiji, Japan, as they waited for their cruel fate.
Observers say eight of the animals were taken into captivity, while the rest were killed.
It is thought the family were trying to comfort each other before they were killed.
US charity Dolphin Project said a matriarch could be seen “rubbing against members of her family”.
The killings happened on September 11, the day after the footage was taken.
Tragically the mother was among the dolphins killed, according to reports.
Legal hunts are carried out in Taiji by fishermen who are given permits by the Japanese government.
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Metal poles, which create a wall of sound, confuses the animals and directs them into the cove, where they are easy prey.
Nearly 16,000 dolphins and whales are slaughtered across Japan during the hunts, which run from September to February.