It’s whale season! That few month span when all kinds of species of whales migrate toward colder waters after spending the fall months in warmer climates. The warmer waters are more conducive to breeding and giving birth, and colder waters are where they feed. Depending on the type of whale (baleen or toothed), food includes either plankton and small fish, or large fish, squid and other marine mammals. Whales, along with dolphins, are part of the order cetacea.
Spring is prime time to see whales as they travel hundreds of miles, either making the trip alone or in groups (called pods). It’s also a good time to highlight some of the issues plaguing these wonderful ocean-dwelling mammals.
- The Navy was approved for testing it acknowledged could have a potentially serious impact – even deadly – on whales and dolphins. (Update: Here is a recent win for whales and dolphins.)
- In early March, 75 scientists urged President Barack Obama to stop a planned oil and gas exploration, which would involve millions of underwater seismic blasts along the Atlantic coast. In the letter, they claim these blasts will have “significant, long-lasting and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival” of threatened whale species and fish populations. Because marine mammals depend on sound for communication, mating, feeding and traveling, they say it will disrupt vital behaviors. Learn more about the blasts here and sign a petition to stop drilling here.
- In response to the film Blackfish and declining attendance, SeaWorld launched an ad campaign. The campaign will feature the park’s veterinarians speaking out in favor of the park’s practices. Here’s a counter-response to the ad campaign. For more information on how you can help, check out Save the Whales, including this helpful guide – “10 Ways to Help Marine Life Every Day.” One of the most eye-opening on the list is to not release helium balloons into the open air. These can travel hundreds of miles and land in the ocean, where ingestion by whales and dolphins can cause serious harm or death.
- An investigative expedition by BlueVoice to Peru, found an estimated 15,000 dolphins are killed annually by Peruvian fisherman either as bait for sharks or for human consumption. As a result, the Florida-based organization has launched a campaign to stop the killings, which will include a documentary film later this year. If you’re interested, you can symbolically adopt a dolphin here.