Save Mr. Splashy Pants

Written by Scott Parkin

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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.

6 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. ann says:

    sparki,

    what do you mean, your friends roll their eyes and laugh?
    you need to get new friends; japan creates a lot of misery and painful death for a huge number of whales every year with their annual hunt.

    i’m quite traumatized by this more and more each year. no progress seems to be made in getting japan to stop either.
    greenpeace is totally ineffective as is the whole government of Austalia, and Sea Shepherd needs such vast amounts of money to do anything effective; and while sea shepherd does make a dent in the harvest, i’m depressed about the future for whales. dolphins are also mercilessly persecuted by japan every year.

    i read a news article the other day that said that japan is building a new whaling ship to replace the Nissan Maru, which is getting too old for them to use anymore.

  2. Luke says:

    I did hear that this year they won’t be hunting humpbacks, which might be in part due to Greenpeace’s efforts.

  3. Ann says:

    well, i read the news coverage of that a few days ago, and it is attributed to the US government asking Japan not to hunt humpbacks, i forget which agency or diplomat or whoever actually did the negotiating, but i think that’s how it all happened.

    i guess anything helps, although i’m pretty depressed about the worldwide efforts to stop the hunting of whales. nothing seems to really work, since the agreements nations make with each other along these lines are never legally binding.

  4. Luke says:

    I’d say, governments would probably never admit that they’re influenced by people like Greenpeace, but they nevertheless are.

    Whaling agreements sure don’t bode well for the future of climate change agreements, do they?

  5. Ann says:

    no….

  6. sparki says:

    Greenpeace ended the Japanese whale slaughter this season by running their floating whale processing ship of death out of the killing zone.

    Check it out–http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/011408EB.shtml

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