Over New Years, my partner and I took a trip down to Baja, Mexico. We stayed in a lovely little town on the coast called Ensenada where we enjoyed great Mexican food, Baja’s wine country and karaoke. On New Year’s day, we took a four hour “whale-watching” trip offshore in the Pacific Ocean. December through April is when Grey whales migrate from Alaska to the tip of the Baja peninsula.
Going out to sea to view the massive creatures got me thinking about their relatively peaceful existence and the organized efforts by many nations to profit from their death and destruction. Whaling has been around for centuries, many early cultures developed around and survived off of whaling, but modern commercial whaling shifted the motivation from subsistence to profit. Thereby, wiping out great populations of whales.
Our friends at Greenpeace International tell us:
“The blue whales of the Antarctic are at less than 1 percent of their original abundance, despite 40 years of complete protection. Some populations of whales are recovering but some are not. Only one population, the East Pacific grey whale, is thought to have recovered to its original abundance, but the closely related West Pacific grey whale population is the most endangered in the world. It hovers on the edge of extinction with just over 100 remaining.”
Whaling got so bad that in 1986, the International Commission on Whaling called for a moratorium on it.
That didn’t really stop countries like Japan as they continue to send their whaling fleet out to conduct “research” on whales by killing them. Greenpeace and the Sea Shepard Society go out every December/January to put themselves between the whales and the Japanese whalers in the southern oceans. (Mr. Splashy Pants, a humpback whale being tracked by Greenpeace, is most appreciative of their efforts)
And whaling is not the only threat to their existence. Current environmental threats to whales include global warming, pollution, overfishing, ozone depletion, noise such as sonar weaponry, and ship strikes.
Most often when I bring up the efforts to “Save the Whales” friends roll their eyes and laugh, but it’s no laughing matter when we’re quickly destroying the planet’s biodiversity.
So, Save Mr Splashy Pants.