Stop the Bloody Whale Slaughter on the Faroe Islands

On a group of islands just north of Europe, the traditional bloody whale and dolphin slaughter takes place every year. The Faroe Islands are a part of Denmark, where whaling is banned, but they have laws that are independent of Denmark's laws, so they are allowed to continue with this mass execution. Year after year, thousands of pilot whales, beaked whales and dolphins are chased into the bay by boats, where they are slaughtered.

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Whale tourists need realistic expectations

Tourists who visit Tonga's northern Vava'u island to swim with whales need to have realistic expectations about what will happen.

That's according to underwater photographer Tony Wu, who visits the island regularly to document the way humpback whales use the area to breed.

He says he managed to count 48 whale calves born in Port of Refuge harbour this last season, which is a lot.

But Mr Wu says the Tongan whale watching industry needs to make sure not to promise tourists that the whales will come close to them or touch them.

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Court rejects efforts to strip beluga whale protections

A federal judge this week rejected an attempt by Alaska to strip Cook Inlet beluga whales of Endangered Species Act protections. Last spring, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated critical habitat for the whales despite state’s lawsuit.

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End comes closer for whaling ban

The opponents of whaling fear a return to commercial hunting is virtually inevitable within the next few years.

Conservation groups at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission believe the 1986 whaling moratorium cannot last much longer.

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PETA lawsuit alleges SeaWorld enslaves killer whales

Can killer whales sue SeaWorld for enslavement?

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other "next friends" of five SeaWorld killer whales takes that novel legal approach.

The 20-page complaint asks the U.S. District Court in Southern California to declare that the five whales -- Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka, and Ulises -- are being held in slavery or involuntary servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment.

A PETA statement said the lawsuit is the first of its kind in contending that constitutional protections against slavery are not limited to humans.

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There was a very sad end to the story of the whale that got washed up on a beach in Cornwall.  It happened at Carylon bay and the 65 foot long fin whale got stranded.  There was a crowd of about 300 people but thankfully they were cordoned off so as to limit th stress on the poor creature.

An attempt was made to rescue the animal by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team however after examining the whale it was determined that it was already to sick to be saved.  It was simply too ill to be refloated and any attempt would have simply caused the animal further distress.  The animal was incredibly undernourished and an extremely high breathing rate which means it was extremely ill.

The poor thing also had a gash on it’s belly, an eye injury to add to it’s woes of being stranded on an outgoing tide.  The whale was so ill it would have been crueler to put the whale back at sea anyway.  Fortunately the whale passed on fairly quickly although it was clearly in a distressed state.  There’s lots more information on whales and some wonderful documentaries more uplifting than this sad tale on the BBC website.  If you are outside the United Kingdom you can use this technique to help watch all the programmes.  It’s perfectly straight forward and just involved hiding your real IP address so that you don’t get blocked.

There are some more clips on YouTube and various media archives


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Gift giving is one of the most exciting things we do as humans, but also one of the most stressful isn’t it?  As an example, think back to your first Christmas as a married couple-there was a lot of pressure wasn’t there?

One pretty easy gift to give is a wine gift.  It can take a number of formats, from a single bottle of wine, a wine club membership over a number of months or even a wine gift basket.  If you’re going to send wine gift though, you have to worry about both the quality as well as the presentation.  After all, if the gift shows up in a box which Fedex has partially destroyed and the label of the wine is basically ruined-it stands to reason that the person opening the box might not be nearly as excited about the gift, don’t you think?

Just as high end retailers offer high quality wrapping around Christmas, take an extra few minutes and even use part of your budget for a good wrapping job with your next wine gift and you’ll probably be thrilled with the results!

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It must be an awesome sight to actually see this in real life and some scientists have actually had the experience.  They believe it’s the first sighting of an adult white killer whale or Orca as it’s also known.   They gave it the nickname ’Iceberg’ and it was spotted off the coast of Russia.  All seems to be well with it and it’s living as part of an established and healthy pod in that area.


There have been other claims to have seen white versions of other whale types.  In fact there was one in captivity in Canada, however all these were very young and none survived very long.  This particular whale was postted from a ship conducting a research cruise run by Russian scientists and their students.  They also claimed to have seen white orcas before but again never an adult one.   They are estimating that Iceberg is about 15 years old and a male.

It’s not known exactly what has caused this unusual pigment, but there are various health and genetic conditions that could explain his coloring.

There have been lots of other sightings of different species of whale which have this albino trait.  However surely  the most famous white whale is a fictional one – the star of the book Moby Dick and his battles with Captain Ahab.  There is a lot more information on this subject on the BBC website – in fact if you are quick you’ll pick up some cracking natural history programmes on IPlayer.  If you have difficult accessing the site because you outside the UK – this post explains how you can use a UK proxy to gain access to British TV like the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player wherever you are.

 Video Source –

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The whale is a beautiful and graceful creature whose name has unjustly been hijacked to signify someone who has an unhealthy lifestyle and has allowed their weight to balloon. I am sure we have all heard the jokes about Greenpeace pushing an overweight person back in the water as if they were a beached whale.

Sadly there is a very serious health issue being ignored with this mockery and it is an issue that sometimes takes drastic measures to set right in order to save someone.

Some people may opt for things like liposuction as they feel like it is the only option left to them due to their having no self control. Like drug abuse or alcoholism it is often seen as a problem that is out of the control of the “sufferer” but there is always a point at which that afore mentioned sufferer starts the ill fated journey such as the first drink/hit/burger. Self control can be difficult but it needs to be mastered if they have any hope of ever living a healthy lifestyle.

Plastic surgery can be a great way to kick-start a healthy lifestyle for some; if you only go forliposuction, however, researchers say your health (and fat levels) could take a hit. In fact, evidence shows that if you don’t make an effort to maintain the fat-loss you get from liposuction, fat cells are likely to come back with a vengeance—instead of resurfacing under your skin, they’ll regenerate deeper in your abdomen, where fat storage is more correlated with certain health risks. The only solution, they say, is exercise.

So with this in mind it really is up to the person themselves whether they can do that but having support from family and friends can go a long way to making the difficult journey possible.



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It took me until my forty fifth year, but I finally managed to see a whale with my own eyes.  It was I’m reliably informed that it was a blue whale and I spotted it off the coast of North America.  To be more specific it was at Monteray Bay in California where the blue whales migrate to feed in Late September/August.   To be honest though I would never have found them without enlisting the help of a special Whale watching group called the Monterey Whale Watch group.  If you’re in the area I can well recommend them, you actually get your tour run by a marine biologist not some half interested youth with a microphone.  You’ll see lots more that just a whale as there’s a host of marine and bird life in the area.

It’s been a long quest for me and to be honest one that has been dormant for some time.  I’ve always enjoyed watching shows about whales but circumstances have meant that seeing one has not been practical.  Let me tell you that these wonderful, huge yet graceful animals will not disappoint when you see them in real life.  The reason I restarted my quest to see a whale was two fold – firstly I had a promotion and funds were not quite as limited as in previous times.  The second reason was a little bizarre but I like to think it was fate.

I have a friend who has come to work in the same company as me for 12 months.  He’s originally from the UK and works in Sales, he called me in as he knew I worked in the IT department.  He had a problem that he was feeling a bit homesick and missing lots of things about his homeland.  One of the big things was that he missed watch the British news and had tried to watch it online but kept getting blocked.  He asked me if I could figure out a way to watch the News on his computer.  Turns out it was fairly simple, the reason he was being blocked was that the BBC site restricted access to Non-UK IP addressess.  This was fairly simple to bypass he just needed a BBC Iplayer proxy- , this was a computer which would present a British address rather than his real one.

It turned out this worked perfectly and my friend was very happy.  But how did this related to Whales I hear you ask – well when texting this solution I visited the BBC website to test it.  On their site I found a truly incredible nature show called The Blue Planet.  It was presented by David Attenborough and a fabulous show all about whales – seek it out, it’s wonderful.  My spark was reunited after watching the show and the rest as they say is history.

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When we first started talking about doing a gift basket guide, I didn’t want to follow through.  Frankly, the topic is way too big to be manageable.

I decided, I would try and get some information out there about a sub market of gift baskets, specifically wine gift baskets.

One reason I think wine works well in gift basket offerings is that it pairs incredibly well with food.  Specifically a great wine red can pair well with steak (obviously) as well as nuts and other delicacies.

One of the most important aspects to selecting a wine gift basket, in my estimation, is to find a gift basket which is centered around quality wines which are not freely available in your local market.

Personally speaking I hate paying for shipping, so seeing a bottle of wine that I paid $8, or more, for shipping sitting on a grocery store shelf doesn’t work for me.

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