Monday, December 31, 2007

Japan is Still Hunting Whales
Although Japan agreed to halt their hunt of Humpback whales on December 19, 2007, they are still actively hunting both Minke and Fin whales. They intend to kill 935 Minke whales and 50 endangered Fin whales under the guise of "scientific" whaling. Although a worldwide moratorium on whale killing was enacted in 1986, Japan, Norway and Iceland have turned their backs on this international agreement and intend to kill over 3,000 whales in 2008. If you have ever been lucky enough to see whales in the wild, it's hard to fathom that they are still the targets of hunters. The methods of modern whale hunting are brutal and the whales usually die a very slow and painful death.

There are many ways you can take action to help the whales. Here are a few:

1. Contact your congressional representative to voice your opinion. The Pacific Whale Foundation has step-by-step instructions on how to contact your representative as well as text that can be copied/pasted/edited and then e-mailed. Click this link and scroll to the bottom of the page for further details. They also have a printable PDF page that you can use to collect signatures and mail to the president.

2. Donate to organizations such as the
International Fund for Animal Welfare or volunteer some of your time with a local organization.

3. Consider where you spend your tourist dollars. Before planning travel to Japan, Norway, or Iceland think about whether you want to spend your hard-earned money in such countries while they are still killing whales. If you do decide to move forward with your travel, consider contacting the consulates of Japan, Norway, or Iceland to express your opinion on their whale-hunting practices.

Ongoing impact of San Francisco Bay Oil Spill Unfortunately, there is likely going to be an impact on both wildlife and the environment as a result of the Nov. 7 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay for many years to come. Over 58,000 gallons of oil spilled into the bay after a large Cosco container ship hit the Bay Bridge. Although lawsuits are in motion, the cannot do much to rescue an oiled bird or injured marine mammal. As of November 20, 2007, Audubon California had logged the following data:
  • Birds in care: 1,060
  • Birds washed: 783
  • Birds found dead in the field: 1,702
  • Birds died/euthanized: 573
  • Birds released: 317
This area is host to countless migratory birds and the impact could be very far-reaching due to migration patterns. The oil had also made its way to the Farallon Islands, which are home to over 200,000 Common Murres -- the largest colony south of Alaska. While most of the wildlife that was immediately impacted has likely perished by now, if by chance you do come across an oiled bird, contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (415) 701-2311 or (877) 823-6926. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to help with ongoing cleanup or education efforts, contact your local branch of Audubon California. If you ever come across an injured marine mammal, do not attempt to rescue it yourself, but contact the Marine Mammal Center at: (415) 289-7325.