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Throughout the 17th through the 20th centuries, whales were hunted to near extinction for commercial profit. Large-scale movements in the late 20th century led to a moratorium on most whale hunting. In the 21st century, renewed interest in commercial hunts and environmental changes from pollution and climate alterations again threaten whale populations. If you are interested in helping to save the whales, there are several steps you can take.
The most entertaining way to lend a hand to the whale species is to support whale watching industries. These groups, which frequently take boat tours out to common whale locations, often stress the importance of conservation. Some experts suggest that the best way to prove to government agencies that whales are worth more alive than dead is by supporting industries that rely on live whales.
Be careful, however, to take whale watching trips with reputable companies. Experts suggest that boats should maintain a safe distance from the animals, to avoid causing them undue stress. Be sure to ask the company about local regulations and their policy on approaching the whales. Don’t assume that these regulations will prevent you from getting close to the whales; some whales appear to like boats, and many wander up to whale watching cruise ships of their own accord.
Another way to help save the whales is to donate money or volunteer time to a reputable whale-protection organization. These organizations are dedicated to maintaining the International Whaling Committee’s bans on whaling, and pushing through government legislation protecting the animals and their habitats. Many have leaflet and mailing campaigns that are constantly looking for volunteer help.
A great way to help the whales is to assist in researching them. The more we understand about the life cycles and behavior of whales, the better we can help assess their needs. Many organizations, like Greenpeace, offer opportunities to work aboard research ships. Be aware that this is important and difficult work and not a tourist attraction. If you have maritime skills, this is an excellent opportunity that will help save the whales.
Possibly the greatest thing you can do to help save the whales is to get children involved in the process. Ensuring that the next generation is interested in protecting whale species is vital to the continued survival of the animals. Many whale organizations have created products and ideas to help get kids involved in the fight to save the whales.
One way to get children interested in whales is by helping them adopt a whale through a reputable conservation group. Adopt-a-whale packages often include photos of the whale, periodic newsletters, information about conservation and sometimes even a stuffed toy. They make excellent birthday gifts, and begin at around $20 US Dollars (USD). By helping a child feel personally connected to a whale or whale species, you may create a new whale supporter while donating to conservation efforts.
One of the greatest threats facing whale populations today is the increase of human pollution. Some whale carcasses are now so contaminated with chemicals they are considered toxic waste. Increased levels of toxicity have been linked to falling birth rates and shrinking populations among whales. To help save the whales in everyday life, purchase biodegradable products that do not harm the environment, and support recycling efforts to keep harmful materials like plastic from entering the water supply. By supporting industries that produce environmentally-safe products, you are informing the commercial markets that these items are worth their time to produce.