Cataloging Humpbacks Because It's the Right Thing To Do

For the past decade I have spent a great deal of time in the company of Humpback whales, observing natural behaviour, immersing myself in their environment and learning as much as I can through mutual interactions. I have an affinity with whales and cetaceans and a passion for the ocean. It is because of this pursuit I have had opportunities that allow me to travel the globe photographing wildlife and documenting their behaviour in the wild.

For the past decade I have spent a great deal of time in the company of Humpback whales, observing natural behaviour, immersing myself in their environment and learning as much as I can through mutual interactions. I have an affinity with whales and cetaceans and a passion for the ocean. It is because of this pursuit I have had opportunities that allow me to travel the globe photographing wildlife and documenting their behaviour in the wild.

It is great to see organizations such as IFAW fighting the battle to save these amazing creatures and I fully support what they are doing and commend their achievements. As a wildlife photographer you often see first hand the plight many creatures face. If the photos I produce assist these organizations then I am always happy to donate to help the cause.

A big part of documenting Humpback whale behaviour is the ability to share data with scientists and researchers in the form of photos, video footage and detailed accounts of behaviour. I work with a number of scientists directly to allow them to record valuable data. The tail of a whale or ‘fluke’ is a unique identifier and donating this data to the scientific community can contribute to learning about birth rates, populations, age, migration and other aspects of whale behaviour. I collect these fluke shots of the whales in Australia and Tonga and make these freely available online through a flickr group that catalogue fluke shots from around the world. http://www.flickr.com/groups/humpbackflukes/
I believe in sharing research and not confining it to one scientific group or organisation.

Science does not have to be intrusive or lethal for that matter. It’s hard to think about these amazing creatures being slaughtered by the Japanese fisheries in the guise of scientific research. We all know the truth, no one is buying it. And I guess this is why organizations such as IFAW continue to address these issues and expose the facts to the world.

Can you believe also that some corporations are now starting to take the whale’s food supply, krill, for human consumption? Even if we stop killing them they will face a whole new battle for survival. Really do we want to eat krill, are we now calling it a delicacy? This is not a sustainable practice.

The contribution I make to the ongoing education of the world audience through visual representation may only be touching the surface of what we need to do to protect these amazing creatures, but the information is getting out there nonetheless and we just need to keep spreading one simple message; ‘Save our Whales’.

I may not have a big voice that is heard across a global audience but I hope the images I produce are a vehicle from which organizations such as IFAW, can use to drive awareness and stop the slaughter of these gentle giants.

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