BREAKING: We can save them! New iPad app to help endangered whales, mariners

Imagine a future in which endangered whales could use iPads and iPhones to call captains on the bridge of large ships and alert them that they are in the area.   That future is here. 

Like other species of whales swimming around our ocean planet, endangered North Atlantic right whales face more threats today than ever. But  thanks to IFAW, the generosity of our supporters and a dream team of collaborators, today marks a massive step forward in efforts to save them!

Each spring, the last 400 of these ancient creatures swim through IFAW’s backyard just off our Cape Cod headquarters. Early settlers to these shores claimed these whales were so plentiful you could walk across the water on their backs. And generations of Yankee whalers deemed this slow-moving, surface-swimming species the “right” whale to hunt. 

In recent years, human threats to endangered right whales have increased, and given their fragile population status, the loss of even one of these leviathans can have a massive impact on the fate of the species. In addition to habitat destruction, marine pollution, entanglement in outmoded fishing gear and deafening underwater noise, one of the most chronic and deadly threats these gentle creatures face is collisions with large commercial vessels moving in and out of Boston Harbor. But we can save them. Starting today, these whales will swim more safely through the waters they have been navigating for millennia. And they have a fighting chance to survive for generations to come.

A new Whale Alert iPad and iPhone app that helps make this possible is being unveiled today at a press conference in Boston. This important announcement caps more than 15 years of work by IFAW on an array of conservation measures, joined by an unprecedented coalition of industry, government and academia all working to save North Atlantic right whales and give them a chance to survive.  All of us at IFAW are proud to have been part of this effort from the very beginning and we are thrilled with the difference we are making for the whales off our shores today and for generations to come.

This new technology saves mariners time and hassle and will save right whale lives. Welcome to 21st century whale conservation, in which the fate and future of these creatures is now literally in our hands. Thanks to generous support from the Davis Conservation Foundation and thousands of individual IFAW supporters worldwide, we have been able to put iPads into the hands of mariners to help pilot this unprecedented project.  That’s great news for whales, for the maritime industry--for all of us. And it means a better world for animals and people.

iPads and iPhones are saving right whales and they’re doing more than that. This magical product, the genius of the scientists and techies that developed the new Whale Alert app and the mosaic of conservation measures and messages it displays, are allowing right whales--through the acoustic calls they make--to contribute to their own conservation!  

Click on the video above for a quick, cool animation that shows how this system works, and for more on how you can help, click here. And don’t forget to hit the iTunes store and download the free Whale Alert app to your iPhone or IPad today. Whether you’re a mariner or landlubber, you’ll love the real-time graphics and conservation information waiting for you there.

And remember: we can save them!


Comments: 6

6 years ago

Just a thought, but why not lobby to change the "right" whale's name to something that's less attached to its past and more in tune with its future?

6 years ago

I just hope that whale-hunters will NOT steal the signals!

6 years ago

What is the current estimate of the North Atlantic Right Whale population? The last estimate I have suggests about 325. An article in a local paper gave 550 as the estimate? --

leisa kerr
6 years ago

Does anyone know if this can work in New Zealand? we need emergency help with our 100 or so Byrdes whale population which live year round in Auckland harbours, and have recently been subject to ship strikes- at least 5 per year (the one who have come in on bows of ships). But we have had 3 strikes already this year-We need help fast!

6 years ago

Fantastic news and Patrick, keep up the good work!

6 years ago

How about an "app" on your website, for those of us who still have to make do with our laptops?

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation