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.

Go to: https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=911

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.

Go to: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201111/s3373429.htm

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.

Go to: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2011/11/22/court-rejects-efforts-to-strip-beluga-whale-protections/

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.

Go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3911651.stm

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.

Go to: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-10-26/justice/justice_killer-whale-lawsuit_1_killer-whales-orcinus-sea-world-trainers?_s=PM:JUSTICE

I first fell in love with whales when I was 10 years old. I saw a movie ,like so many other millions of children, by the name of Free Willy. Looking back on it now it seems like a silly intro. But it did spark a passion that I never knew I had. Free Willy showed me., That there were massive beasts in the ocean that we’re capable of immense pleasure and joy.  So much joy, that they jumped out of the water and splashed around for fun, Watching whales breach is an amazing experience, you feel very small. I’ve never understood exactly how they make me feel. The only words I ever have are “incredible”, “amazing”, and especially “wow”.

But until recently I have been willing to let them, be themselves, a long way away. But now that I am retiring, I think I want to dedicate more time to the animals I love so much. Early retirement is a great thing because you still have the energy to the physical things you’ve always wanted to do, but didn’t think you be able to when you retired. I’m still out there climbing mountains, I’m still going to enter races. Not a thing but my doctor is going to slow me down especially now that I don’t have to worry about work.

Some of the best knowledge I have gained, has come from my job. But now I think I’m ready to learn in a different way. Learn from nature, and from my body. I desperately want to understand where I sit in the universe and with these beautiful whales. I’m looking for properties to rent near the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Washington. So that I can be near the whales that I have loved my whole life. Even though that life has only crossed its 35th year.

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I had a troubled upbringing you could say. I never stayed anywhere for too long, constantly being moved from one foster home to another, when i was 18 i decided to see the world- i thought it would be an escape from the humdrum and would cancel out all the bad things i had seen, done and inflicted on myself. Never did i think that a whale watching trip would change my world so drastically.

But before that wonderful day I driffted from country to country sneaking round visa requirements and working under the table, sometimes doing things that i’d rathe not mention.
Then came the whales. I had some spare cash and something just drew me to the whale watching trip. Onboard we didn’t see anything for the first hour and then they came. One whale in particular ( an Orca i later learned) came up so close to the boat and kind of rolled on it’s side and looked at me with its beutiful big eye. It doesn’t sound that intense but i felt lifted by this whale, it seemed to see right through to my soul. The next day i returned home to Britain, my travelling was done and i wanted a fresh start. I went for tattoo removal to get rid of all my amateur self inflicted tattoos that i thought chronicled my life but i now reealise was something to hide behind. With clean skin and a clear head i trained as a social worker and am now helping kids like myself to avoid the mistakes i made. I still wonder about that whale. I hope i see it again one day, was it sent to save me or did i just need a living creature to look at me with no judgement?

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The history of gunsmithing is a fascinating one, and it is often discussed in classes at the Pennsylvania gunsmith school in Pittsburgh, PA. Sadly, though, one of the things that students learn is that whale oil used to be very popular for lubricating small gun parts. Sperm oil in particular was often used for springs.

Whale oil, despite being incredibly expensive, was very popular in the 1800s and was used as a lubricant for all sorts of products, including trains. Because of this, many species of whales were driven to the brink of extinction.

However, that all changed in 1857 with Michael Dietz’s kerosene lamp invention. Almost immediately the demand for whale oil dropped and kerosene, also known as coal oil, production skyrocketed. It is estimated that had coal oil not been introduced onto the market when it had, nearly every species of whale would have been extinct in only another ten years.

Whales face a whole new set of challenges today than they did back in the 1800s when whale oil was popular. Luck was on the whales’ side back in the 1800s; let’s hope it happens again.

Further Reading:

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Whales and dolphins are some of the most harmless animals in the world. In the 16th hundred whales numbered in the millions and the oceans where filled with many species.It was only when the whaling industry started in the 17th century that they have been systematically hunted down for their whale oil, meat, baleen and a perfume ingredient called ambergris. Since the whaling industry has been in business for almost 3 centuries now that time has seen the decline of whale species putting then in the endangered list today.

The business case is this. Stop the hunt for whales and use tourism as the solution for keeping them in our oceans.

With more than three centuries of devastation in our oceans it is time to put a stop to the whaling industry and let whales and dolphins regain the numbers that they have lost after years of whale hunting.

Who eats whale meat these days? It is not a staple food for most cultures. The world can do without whale meat. Whale oil has alternatives now. It has out grown its use when kerosene, petroleum, and jojoba oil were developed. We can leave whale oil to the whales and use the alternative oils for commercial use. Even the baleen that was so prized in the 17th century for use as collar stiffeners, buggy whips, and parasol ribs have out grown their use. The industrial revolution made sure of that.

The times are saying to give the whales and dolphins back the ocean. They need to be able to live in their habitat without threat of being hunted down for parts that can be easily manufactured by 21st century technology. If countries want to earn from their whale population the best solution is tourism. Encourage people to see the whales living happily in their natural environment. Allow them to appreciate the beauty of these magnificent animals that have been in our oceans longer than the existence of civilization.

Some countries have caught on to the value of tourism as a sustainable industry for making the most of the presence of whales and dolphins in their waters. It’s a great solution to hunt them down to observe the gentle giants way of life in the waters. People and these regal animals of the sea should be able to exist harmoniously with each other from now on. Whales can benefit from the willingness of people to understand and care for them as harmless inhabitants of the sea.

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The Gulf of Thailand is a very popular tourist destination. In the upper reaches of the Gulf there are Koh Samet and Koh Chang. In the southern part of the Gulf are Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. It is an area that offers great weather, calm, tsunami free seas, magical beaches and plenty of excellent accommodation.

The island of Koh Tao is one of the smallest Thai islands in the Gulf. It is called turtle island because of its shape. It does, however, have some turtle breeding areas. The thing that makes Koh Tao famous, however, is its diving. Koh Tao is the second most popular spot in the world to learn scuba diving. Only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has more people taking PADI courses.

The reason for Koh Tao’s popularity as a place to learn diving is due to its clear waters and excellent dive sites. There are a number of corals to explore off the coast with plenty of fish, turtles, eels and sharks to see.  Great beaches for diving and snorkeling in Koh Tao include Nang Yuan, Mango Bay, Jansom Bay and Sai Daeng.

The most famous dive site is Sail Rock. Here it is often possible to see whale sharks. This is a filter feeding shark that looks like a whale. It is in fact the largest fish species in the world.

To see whales in the Gulf of Thailand it is necessary to go to the upper reaches of the Gulf in such areas as Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, and Phetchaburi. Here there are about 20 Bryde’s Whales as well as over 100 Irrawaddy dolphins.

The trouble is that since someone posted video footage of the  Bryde’s whales in the Gulf there has been a massive upturn in tourism in the area.  There are too many tour boats going out to spot the whales. These boats are getting too close to the whales. The result has been that in just a few months whale numbers have drastically reduced. Local and national authorities have so far done nothing to stop the damage been caused by the tour boats. Plans have been mooted to limit tour boats to just 2 or 3 areas so as not to inhibit the whales from feeding and breeding.

This is a good example of how whale watching needs to be carefully regulated.

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I love whale watching.  Ever since that first time I saw a humpback whale breach just meters away from my boat I’ve been hooked.  I was in Nicaragua at the time, exploring real estate opportunities when I walked past a sign advertising a trip to see the whales.

We jetted out of San Juan del Sur harbor and into the swell of the Pacific.  Our boat was tiny, and felt even more so once we got close to the whales.  There’s a real sense of vulnerability that you feel when you get up close to these beautiful mammals.  A pod of around 6 whales stayed with us for around an hour, blowing, breaching and diving.

As sunset approached I managed to snag a stunning photo of the tail fluke shimmering against the reddening sky.  I have that on my desk in front of me as I’m writing this.  And even though it’s been over 10 years since that first trip with the humpbacks all I have to do is take one look at that photo and I’m transported back in time.

On my desk is another photo.  It’s of a beachfront property that I bought in Nicaragua on the same visit.  The property is located on Playa Madera, just north of San Juan del Sur in a perfect spot just a few minutes walk to the surf.  I visit every year and love the peace and tranquility.  If you’re interested in Nicaragua real estate for sale (and I highly recommend it) then you should certainly check out what’s on offer over at RevealRealEstate.com.

I’m now a pretty good surfer, but each time I get on a board I’m tempted to paddle out into the deep to see if I can find some whales.  Unfortunately they don’t come in as far these days as they used to, so the whale watching trips are not being offered any more.

In some ways I prefer it.  Whales in Nicaragua can remain my personal story.

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