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Can we really “Save the Whales”?

 Save the Whales Man

I’m sure everyone who reads this can relate to the blank stares, the uncomfortable grunts and the general ambivalence of friends and family members reactions to your “Save the Whales” passion.  To them, it seems frivolous, perhaps unnecessary and certainly not real work.  Most probably think back to the 60’s and communes, long hair, and social distortion.

A flashback song to listen to while you read.

A historic ruling, a milestone reached

It would be hard to imagine how many people in dozens of countries around the world today are celebrating the victory of a historical ruling by the UN International Court of Justice against Japan’s “Research Whaling”.  Is it thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million or more?  Because of social media, blogs, and instant TV reporting, every advocate around the world is tied instantly to the breaking news and can celebrate in a virtual community on Twitter and Facebook.  Mere hours after the announcement, Captain Paul Watson’s formal reaction already had a mind blowing 13 thousand likes and several thousand shares.  And rightly so as Sea Shepherd has been chasing ‘illegal’ Japan Whalers around the ocean for years.  That was just one post of dozens that hit the web in a matter of hours.  Every major newspaper had written basically the same 8 paragraphs summing up the case, the ruling and the anticipated reaction by the Japanese.  After years of hard work, on this day, whales were saved.  But what is the implication to the greater conservancy?

SeaWorld might want to observe their own Rhetoric

Conservation per SeaWorld

SeaWorld claims that without them, no one would know or care about orcas.  Yet this  celebrated ruling focused on Minke whales that probably very few people in the world have ever seen in person, or even on video.  These whales certainly haven’t been seen pushing a man out of pool and high into the air.  Humpback and blue whales have been the fascination of millions of people and the focus of whale watching trips world wide for decades, yet not one has ever been taught to drench the audience in water with a fluke splash.  A deeper lesson has presented itself here, one that should make SeaWorld shudder.

Nothing of value learned by the study of whales in Tanks

SeaWorld wiped out over half of the SRKW with captures for display

The people of the world do care, and they do act.  NGOs, groups of advocates, and even solitary people taking to social media to support the actions of the more influential are truly the change agents in the conservancy world.  SeaWorld didn’t hold Japan accountable, conservationists working through Australia did.  SeaWorld did not prepare the scientific data necessary to persuade the court, conservationists and NGOs did.  For decade’s groups such as the WDC, EII, Orca Institute and others have been in the field, in the water, and in the courts practicing what they preach.  They photograph, log, count, take samples and catalogue entire populations.  They beg for a few bucks to keep fuel in the ships and food on the plates of the volunteers. They are ‘Saving the Whales’ and are supported by hundreds of thousands of us through our time, our voice and our money.

“No one in the world does more than us”, SeaWorld claims.  Today proved that SeaWorld isn’t even in the conversation and that yes, despite the ambivalence of some we CAN save the whales.  The orcas in the tanks at SeaWorld included.

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