Killer whales in Canada find a hole to swim through, let’s hope the minke are as lucky

The above SkyTV video shows the killer whales surfacing through a hole in the ice to get access to air.

Whales, dolphins and other marine species that share our ocean planet face more threats today than ever before in history.  And some days are tougher than others in the global campaign to save them. 

The truth is the International Fund for Animal Welfare and other committed groups and individuals working ‘round the clock around the world to rescue and protect animals lose a lot more battles than we win.

On some days though, the wind shifts, and the whales win one. 

Yesterday was one of those wonderful days. 

And while the concerned eyes of committed citizens around the world were watching on their television and computer screens, people actually had little to do with it. 

North of Quebec, a dozen magnificent orca whales – trapped by floating ice, surfacing in an opening the size of a pick-up truck -- got a break.  

The wind shifted, the frozen ice moved, and in what CNN is calling “a miraculous save by mother nature” those dozen orca whales are now swimming free. 

The update on the killer whale situation.

They still face an obstacle course of ice on their way to open water;  but for now, these whales have been given a chance.

So, too endangered minke whales swimming half a world away. 

Earlier this week, the Republic of Korea formally rejected plans a return to whaling and announced plans to pursue non-lethal whale research in Korean waters.

This too is a big win for whales. 

Korea’s clear commitment to world class science stands in stark contrast to the course pursued by Japan’s Fisheries Agency, still seemingly frozen in the 1960s.  

As I write, it’s whaling fleet steams past the Korean Peninsula on its way to kill hundreds of whales in the name of “science” in the internationally recognized Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica.

So the battle to save our planet’s great whales continues. 

And we recommit ourselves to making the ocean planet safer for the many species that depend on it, including our own.  But between South Korea’s welcome moves and the ice floes shifting up North, it’s been a good week for whales and a good start to the New Year for all who care about them. 

A new breeze is blowing.  The ice is shifting.  And here we go. 


For a look back at the heroic marine mammal rescue work some of my IFAW colleagues were doing 12 months ago in the backyard of our international headquarters on the shores of Cape Cod, USA, click here.

And for more on the threats facing orcas, minkes and other whale species that share our world and what all of us can do over the year ahead to help, please click here.

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