Category Archives: Dolphins

A Call for Saving Leviathan, for Saving the Whales, Part 1

Gray Whale

“From Hell’s Heart I stab at thee” decried Melville in “Moby Dick.” In the heyday of whaling, tens of thousands of sperm whales were destroyed for oil every year to light the cities of modern civilization. Advancing as the dominant force on earth, man slaughtered hundreds of thousands of the great mind of the oceans, the whales.

Is humanity capable of saving the seas? The ways the seas and the whales go, so does civilization. The seas are acidifying. Whales are key not just for their fecundation of the phytoplankton on which we depend for oxygen, but also for the entire immune system of the oceans. The oceans are being asked a reprieve. Without the life it sustains, humanity will drown. As Laurens van der Post wrote in “The Hunter and the Whale,” “Killing disproportionately was the last unforgiveable depravity.”

“Thinking Like a Dolphin,” National Geographic’s May issue cover story, confirms the urgency of the issue and underscores the supreme importance of cetaceans to humanity. I once heard Paul Watson speaking out for the cetaceans. He shared an anecdote from several decades ago, when he tried to stop a Russian whaler from harpooning a sperm whale. His words carried all the power of a fury decrying the modern Ahabs as he maneuvered with his zodiac trying to position himself between the long steel blade and the brain of one of the most remarkable beings on earth. Eventually the harpoon found its way into the body of the sperm whale causing untold agony.

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In the depths of its pain, surrounded by pools of blood, as the ocean turned crimson, the whale’s eye, reflecting the earth in miniature, shot a glance of what seemed like a depth charge of pity at Watson and his men. It was pity, full of loss of an enormous warrior who has battled giant squid and the ferocious crushing solitude of the fathoms below. It was pity not for itself, but for the entire human race! When Watson discovered that the whale oil of exceptional quality was being used to lubricate Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles by the Soviet Union, his voice rose and trembled because he felt the human species had gone completely mad.

The peak days of whaling are over, most whale populations have survived, but some like the southern right whales are exceptionally vulnerable. The ignominy of hundreds of years of slaughter and now industrial pollution is crucifying the cetacean mind.

In ancient Greece and even more recently off the coast of India there are many stories of dolphins saving humans from drowning. Arion who invented the dithyramb (a wild ancient Greek choral hymn) tells the story of the dolphin that saved the life of a singer who was thrown from a ship into the sea. Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Oppian in his long poem “Halieutica,” and the great historian Herodotus tell similar tales of the incomparable human cetacean bond.

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Korianos’ story as told by Plutarch is perhaps the most inspired. Some fishermen in Byzantium were to kill a group of dolphins. Korianos interceded, paid the fishermen and freed the dolphins from their net. The dolphins gave a long look at Korianos and then departed. A few weeks later, a storm raging off the coast capsized a boat on which Korianos was onboard. He alone survived and was saved by a dolphin that carried him to shore. Plutarch mentions that when Korianos died, a group of dolphins appeared before his funeral pyre with heads above water to mourn, as his human companions had done. When the smoke cleared, the dolphins disappeared and were never seen again! (from “The Dolphin, Cousin to Man“ by Robert Stenuit 1968).

* Reprinted from permission from the author, my good friend Cyril Christo.

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Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
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Pity the Pilot Whale

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Once again,  the horror show of evil that the Faroese call the grindadráp, which translated means “the murder of whales.” has started.

This year the Faroese not only have the Faroese Coast Guard and the Danish Navy to defend these brutal and pitiless killers, but the whalers also have the services of the Faroese Coast Guard to find the pods of whales so they can be slain.

There can be no justification for the use of military assets to help kill whales in order to secure whale meat that is inedible because of the toxic levels of mercury in the bodies of the whales.

It is tragic that in the year 2015, with the diminishment of biodiversity and with hundreds of species going extinct, that there are still people so alienated from reality that they continue to engage in contributing to the death of the ocean.  Many Faroese citizens overfish, they slaughter puffins, other seabirds, whales and dolphins. These are the kind of people that I hope future generations of humanity will look back upon with utter disgust and realize in is these type of people why the world is devoid of so many species.

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Teach your children well. Not so, in this case…

The Faroese enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world with the highest income per capita in all of Europe. Their supermarkets are well stocked with anything that can be bought in Copenhagen, London or Paris. They all drive cars, own computers and enjoy the luxuries of modern industrialized society, yet many claim that they need to kill pilot whales and dolphins for meat.

The truth is that some of them simply like to kill. They enjoy it. They need to see the blood spurting into the water. They need to smell and wallow in the blood and the sh*t of the dying animals. They need to hear their pitiful screams because these are the needs of sadistic psychopaths. Not all Faroese are cruel and not all participate in this foul obscenity. Both for those who do and for the politicians who support these despicable acts of slaughter, the evidence is that there is a rotten stench of death associated with these islands that will be angrily remembered when the pilot whales and the dolphins are no more.

Faroe Islands


Wildlife Conservation Film Festival & Biodiversity Conference

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCF.org

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Come to New York, NY October 13-19 for a week of extraordinary films, workshops, international filmmakers, red carpet gala and to meet some of the world’s leading wildlife conservationists. Included are dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, Dr. Birute Galdikas, Nan Hauser, Dr. Mireya Mayor. More than 15 international wildlife documentary filmmakers and from National Geographic filmmakers, Bob Poole and David Hamlin

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Elephants in the Room
produced by Peter Lamberti of Aquavision TV Productions in South Africa
will make its New York debut at the 2014 WCFF

Great Migrations: Episode 3: Survival of the Fastest NGC-US: Episode Code: 3592 NGCI: IBMS - 023560

Zebras On The Move
Produced by Oscar Portillo of Explora Films in Spain
will also make its New York debut

Get your tickets now for all 18 film series held at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway during the week and the Red Carpet Gala & Awards Ceremony at 583 Park Avenue

http://wcff.org/film-festivals/purchase-tickets-for-nyc-2014/

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Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
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The Cost of Plastic in the Oceans

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Estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics debris in the world’s oceans causing harm to marine ecosystems stands at $13 billion USD each year.

In the polar regions, scientists have recently found tiny pieces of plastic trapped in sea ice. Transported by ocean currents across great distances, these contaminated particles eventually become a source of chemicals in our food.

A large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from littering, poorly managed landfills, tourist activities and fisheries. Some of this material sinks to the ocean floor, while some floats and can travel over great distances on ocean currents—polluting shorelines and accumulating in massive mid-ocean gyres.

Communities of microbes have been discovered thriving on microplastics at multiple locations in the North Atlantic. This “plastisphere” can facilitate the transport of harmful microbes, pathogens and algal species. Microplastics have also been identified as a threat to larger organisms, such as the endangered northern right whale, which is potentially exposed to ingestion through filter-feeding.

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Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
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Slaughter of Dolphins in Peru

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Dolphins are being slaughtered by Peruvian fisherman to be used for shark bait

An international effort to end the brutal slaughter of dolphins in Peru was announced today by a coalition of marine conservation organizations. The campaign is aimed at fishing practices that rely on killing dolphins to use as shark bait.

Video of the slaughter of dolphins and the catch of undersized sharks off the coast of Peru was obtained by the Peruvian NGO Mundo Azul in cooperation with Florida-based BlueVoice. Based on calculations of the number of fishing boats and undercover testimony documenting the numbers of dolphins taken it is estimated that between five and fifteen thousand dolphins are killed yearly.

The coalition announced it had conducted undercover surveys of the sale of dolphin meat and found several locations where illegal sales were taking place. But the number was few relative to years past, perhaps indicating the sale of dolphin meat is being driven underground. Jones and Austermuhle announced there will be continuous surveys of fish markets over coming months and that a network of concerned citizens has been formed to report violations of dolphin protection laws to Mundo Azul’s office in Lima.

In addition the coalition offered a bounty of $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone harming dolphins. “We want the fishermen to know they cannot carry on their dolphin killing and meat sales without exposure”, said Hardy Jones, executive director of BlueVoice.

The coalition called on the Peruvian government to both enforce existing laws and enact legislation banning harpoons on fishing boats. “Harpoons are used solely to kill dolphins and banning them would save the lives of thousands of dolphins,” said Austermuhle.

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Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.
Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
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