In the last century, nearly three million whales were wiped out by whaling in what is most like the largest cull (in terms of biomass) of any species in human history. Today the remaining whales and dolphins still face continuous threats from ship strikes, pollution, noise, habitat loss, and entanglements from fishing gear.
With all the mounting scientific evidence that has been documented about the roles whale play in keeping the planet healthy, it is obvious that saving the whales can save us all.
The fascination with these majestic and intelligent creatures is enough for some people to want to save them. For others, the desire to save whales may be as a result of a desire to save themselves (the human race in this case).
Whatever your reasons, here are four things you can do to help save the whales.
Captive dolphins and whales are trained to perform tricks, day in day out, and are rewarded with food instead of letting them behave naturally. The emotional, mental, and physical stress that captive whales and dolphins go through can weaken their immune system causing them to be more prone to diseases.
Why not take advantage of the many fantastic opportunities to see dolphins and whales in the wild either from land or with an experienced boat operator. Seeing a dolphin or whale in its natural habit can be a momentous experience. The best operators and trips are those that respect these creatures and their habitat.
Fishing plays a major role in the global economy. More than 700 million people get their livelihood from the fishing industry. Unfortunately, the unintended capture of non-target species (known as by-catch) results in the death of over three hundred thousand marine mammals every year.
Photo: Tomas Kotouc/Shutterstock
Since the international ban on commercial whaling that was introduced in 1986, more than fifty thousand whales have been killed. Sadly, some countries exploit loopholes that allow them to go on whaling and the demand for whale meat generated by tourists in countries like Greenland is leading to a growth of the whaling industry.
Be on the lookout for whale meat offered on local restaurant menus, cruise ships, and in barbecues or buffets. Be especially wary of dishes identified as local favorites such as “A Taste of Greenland”. Avoid eating any whale meat during your stay and politely tell hotels and restaurants that you’d rather they don’t sell it.
According to the UN Environment Program, about 8 million pieces of marine debris is dumped in the ocean daily. This is equivalent to 6.4 million tons of trash annually. Whales and dolphins can die from ingesting or getting entangled in marine debris. In 2014, an endangered Sei Whale swallowed a broken plastic DVD case. The DVD case cut into her stomach leaving her unable to eat and it was sadly struck and killed by a ship in its weakened state.
Most of the marine litter come from the land so recycle what you can and pick up any trash you can find. Properly disposing of your trash is a simple yet effective way to help protect dolphin and whales.
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