The great whales hold a place of importance on our planet beyond our capacity to apprehend. And they face more serious threats today than at any time in the last 100 years. If they are going to survive, they will need people to speak and work on their behalf. This article features an 8-minute video of an intimate encounter with a giant humpback and her rescue from a slow and agonizing death.
The Awesome Gift of the Great Whales
The video below, "Saving Valentina," demonstrates without a doubt the emotional sensitivity and intelligence of our ocean's great whales. And no one can protect the inherent right to life of these great sentient beings but us. Daily their safety is threatened from ship collisions, habitat destruction, chemical contamination, impacts on sonar communication, challenges to navigation, and increased hunting.
Currently the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is embroiled with yet another lawsuit against the U.S. Navy to prevent the use of deadly low-frequency sonar that inflicts life-threatening injuries to marine mammals that render them confused, displaced, and often eventually causes their death. Marine mammals rely on their acute sense of hearing to migrate, to forage and hunt, to raise their young, and to communicate with one another.
The reports are grim, with an average of four mammals killed per week and dozens more maimed or injured on a weekly basis. In total, this means that so far tens of thousands of marine mammals have been temporarily displaced and millions otherwise harmed—all of which is unnecessary. As the NRDC states in their current newsletter, "The Navy has the means to ensure our national security and protect marine mammals at the same time." The NRDC is working fervently to make sure vital whale habitat and migratory routes are off limits to bombing exercises and high-intensity sonar.
To learn more about the current lawsuit, visit the NRDC website at www.nrdc.org/whales. And to help take action to prevent further needless deaths, go to www.savewhalesnow.org and donate. Also see below for a heads up about a recent book that chronicles the gripping true story of the decades-long legal battle to prevent naval activities that do grievous harm to our oceans whales and dolphins.
Another organization of great integrity fighting for our whales is the Great Whale Conservancy, launched in 2010 to protect the world's great whales and their habitat. Their approach toward protecting these magnificent beings is to ensure that the public knows what their problems are and what the solutions can be. The GWC provides information, ideas, and opportunities for people of all ages, all over the world, to join the effort and act on behalf of Earth's Great Whales. Co-directors Michael Fishbach and Gerson Cohen work to implement public outreach, education, and strategic and political objectives.
This moving video portrays a incredible encounter between Michael Fishbach and friends, who on Valentine's Day 2011, in the Sea of Cortez, were presented with the miraculous opportunity to save the life of a great humpback whale. Even if you've seen this video before, it's worth a second viewing, as a reminder that our hearts and minds are not separate from these amazing life forms who remain vulnerable to human greed and lack of consciousness. Marine mammals need us to take whatever action we can to protect their right to life and these organizations need our donations.
Saving Valentina: A Humpback's Tale
Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks calls War of the Whales "a page-turning plunge into deep seas and deep secrets, a tautly constructed narrative full of science, suspense, and unexpected reversals. This is an awe-inspiring book, and an enraging one. You won't be able to put it down."
Thanks to a special grant secured by the author, every time and NRDC member preorders a copy of War of the Whales online, $5 will be donated to the NRDC's Marine Mammal Protection Project.
To preorder your copy today and help the NRDC save whales, go to: www.nrdc.org/whales.