Thursday, September 13, 2012

The World's Largest Humpback Whale Nursery to be Destroyed?

Humpback whales have fought back from the brink of extinction, but they still remain one of the world's most endangered species of whale. Humpbacks are amazing creatures with incredible social lives and a ton of secrets that nobody even knows about. Now, their largest nursery ground is being threatened by take a wild guess... Man.

Woodside, the largest gas and oil producer in Australia now wants to see the largest humpback whale nursery in the world turn into an offshore drilling site. In order to get the go ahead from the Australian Government Woodside undertook what is being called the largest study of humpback whales off of James Prince Point. According to the study, the majority of whales were seen more than 30KM off the coast of Australia. In fact, their study claims just 5% of the whales were seen within 8KM of the coast.

In an effort to save the nursery, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society teamed up with the people of Broome and the Australian Greens Leader, Bob Brown to do their own study. The results were quite different than what Woodside has led many to believe. Contrary to the Woodside Study, Sea Shepherd founded that over 100 whales were seen within 8KM of the coast every day. Many of the sightings were as suspected, mother whales and their calves. Some of the whales were actually swimming and nursing less than a mile away from the proposed construction site. Another study conducted by the Kimberly Community Whale Research Project further confirms the falsehood that Woodside has published. This project counted 1423 individual whales seen withing 8KM of the coast. The time of this study was from July 1st and August 7th. Of the 1423, 95 were nursing calves.

Despite both of these conclusive studies Woodside still seeks to turn the world's largest humpback nursery into another gas/oil rig that will do nothing but destroy the surrounding ecosystem. This includes this humpback nursery. Humpbacks have a lot to deal with in the wild. For one, they were hunted to near extinction from many years of overfishing. To this day they still are hunted by Japan in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Now they are dealing with another problem not of their making. For many years the humpback whales have been trying to survive in a world where people clearly do not care enough for the Oceans. We need to protect this nursery or risk sending humpback whale populations plummeting once again.

In the words of Bob Brown “Seeing the whales off James Price Point, mothers, babies, bull whales, seeing the count, going up into the thousands of these whales, the assurance that they will be ok with a mega port, mega ships and a huge factory ashore, is now clearly proven wrong.”

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