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Published June 2005 - Updated April 2006
LGVN Oceans - Whaling - Select Reports

A Whale's Message Brought to the Heart of Civilization ...
The London Whale - A symbol of a dying planet

A member of one of the oldest living species on earth caught the hearts and imagination of millions around the world during January 2006 when a whale made its way up the River Thames and into the very centre of London. For two days, the sick Northern Bottle-Nosed whale swam back and forth between the famous bridges of London as thousands of people lined the bank of the Thames to watch this never-before seen spectacle. Although every effort was made to save it, the whale finally died just as it was being helped back out to sea.
However, this unique moment, when a near extinct species entered a city of 8 million humans, should be recognized as an occasion of important significance; a sign direct from the heart of nature that our planet is in a serious environmental crisis. The London whale's death shouldn't be in vain - labelled as a "freak of nature" and forgotten as just another unusual news item. The natural world has sent a message to humanity that not all is well with the environment and those who live among it. Whales in particular are suffering and many marine species are close to the edge of extinction. In fact, numbers of Bottle-Nosed whales are very few, as are many other of their whale relatives - some which can live more than 200 years.
The state of the oceans and rivers is a good indicator of how man-made global warming, pollution and over-fishing have finally tipped the balance between humans versus nature. Nature has lost and now a pattern of highly unusual activities are beginning to take place around the world - abnormal hurricanes, tsunamis and floods - and the animal world itself sending subliminal messages to those who have caused the destabilization of planet Earth. Whether it be a whale swimming into London or tigers or polar bears uncharacteristically encroaching into human habitations simply because their forest homes or ice floes are disappearing; these are all actions by animals that are against their natural will - and humans are the cause. As the oceans die and destabilized currents cause tranquil, intelligent creatures like whales to venture into dangerous territory, we humans must question the enormous global destruction we have caused.
Did we really listen to the dying song of the London whale? To understand that it had sent us a simple message ... "Stop killing our planet".

2007 Footnote: On August 8th 2007 it was announced that the river dolphin in China is now extinct. A direct effect of mankind's destructive behaviour. The demise of the river dolphin is an appalling but significant moment in history that clearly illustrates our inherent nature; to destroy just to fullfill our squandering needs, rather than cure to help regenerate the planet which feeds us in the first place.

2006 Japan

Japan doubles whale killings in 2006

In April 2006 Japans whaling ships returned from their annual kill with 863 whales - almost double their barbaric slaughter of the previous year.

Japan continue to exploit a week loophole in a whaling quota agreement set out by the IWC, claiming they are catching whales for scientific research. In fact, the meat is sold for huge profits and ends up in Japanes restaurants. (more below)

International Whaling Commission Meeting Updates ... 2001-2005

Full Scale Whaling could start again

At the 2005 International Whaling Commission conference, Japan was again pressing to cease the ban on commercial whaling and at the same time expand the types of whale species it's currently allowed to kill - for what they call "scientific purposes".
As a publicity stunt Japan are even providing whale meat to school children in a bid to win over public support. For more on this story see the BBC News report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4106688.stm

Also on the table in the 2005 IWC meeting was a proposal to abandon a programme on whale welfare. If Japan don't get their own way on this proposal as well, there is a possibility that the country could leave the IWC altogether, which could spell disaster for whale species across the globe.
For more on this story see the BBC News report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4109632.stm

The 2005 IWC meeting ended with the usual stalemate between pro and anti-whaling nations. For more on this see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4618763.stm

The IWC (International Whaling Commission) has always played a rather contentious dual role by attempting to conserve the whale, while simultaneously managing commercial hunting of the diminishing species.
However, in recent years pressure has been put on the IWC to become more conservationally driven, in efforts to help replenish the whale population.
In the 2003 meeting of the International Whaling Commission a majority of member countries voted to protect the whale. This decision was agreed by 25 to 20 votes in favour of what was called the Berlin Initiative.
This meant that the IWC have set up a conservation committee to tackle the many threats to the ocean's mammals (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
But these agreements have a double-edged sword, because some whaling countries who agree on the new conservation terms do so as a devious measure, realising that limited time agreements gives them the right to resume hunting when whale numbers suppossedly recover. In other words, when bans are lifted they can resume hunting whales that are near to extinction levels. In fact
The Japanese have been the country most notorious for edging around the requirements of the IWC.
Each year the Japanese whaling fleet set out into the North Pacific with a self-imposed scientific quota of whales to kill. The average quota includes the slaughter of 10 sperm whales, 50 Bryde's whales and 100 minke whales. This catch is in addition to the 400 minke whales caught by the Japanese fleet every year in the Antarctic.
In fact, there is actually no scientific element involved in Japan's barbaric slaughtering of whales. The meat is sold for huge profits and consumed in Japanese restaurants.
In the 2004 annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Italy a new study, sponsored in part by The HSUS, refutes Japan's argument that whales compete with humans for fish.
Beside Japan, Iceland and Norway consistenly lobby hard for more whaling. They say there are enough whales for a limited catch, however other countries condemn current whaling activities conducted in the name of science.

Help to Save The Whale through these links:

Campaign Whale: http://www.campaign-whale.org/

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society: http://www.wdcs.org/

Care2 - Race to Save The Oceans

If you find a dead stranded whale or dolphin contact:
England: 020 794 25 155 (The Natural History Museum)
Scotland: 01463 243 030 (Scottish Agricultural College)
Wales: 01348 875 000 (Marine Environmental Monitoring)

If you find a live stranded whale or dolphin contact:
England and Wales: BDMLR on 01825 765546 or RSPCA on 0870 5555999
Scotland: The Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit on 01261 851696 or the SSPCA on 08707 377722

More Looking-Glass Ocean News Stories

Evidence Found that Sonar is Killing Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises.

Dolphins washed up dead on UK coasts

Seal Hunting - Canadians wrongly blame seals for decline in cod

Dying Oceans and Wetlands

More Ocean, Wetland and Marine Life Articles

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