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Whale Sanctuary Project to Create Seaside Sanctuary for Whales and Dolphins

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WASHINGTON, DC – It’s the dawn of a new era for whales and dolphins retired by entertainment facilities or unlikely to thrive in the wild, thanks to a new, independent organization with plans to establish a model seaside sanctuary.

Launched this month with generous support from Munchkin, Inc., The Whale Sanctuary Project is creating a seaside sanctuary where cetaceans – whales, dolphins, and porpoises – can live permanently in an environment as close to their natural habitat as possible and with full support for their well-being.

Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent animals who have complex social lives, and public opinion is increasingly opposed to keeping them captive in concrete tanks. The new non-profit fields a team of experts in marine mammal science and behavior, veterinary medicine, husbandry, engineering, law and policy, to lay the groundwork for the creation of permanent cetacean sanctuaries. This all-star team is tasked with producing a viable plan for construction and management of a North American sanctuary, and to select the most suitable location to ensure a better future for captive cetaceans.

The new non-profit organization is headed by Dr. Lori Marino, executive director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute, and David Phillips, co-founder and executive director of Earth Island Institute and director of the International Marine Mammal Project.

“There are sanctuaries for other large, highly social, and wide-ranging mammals, including elephants and great apes, but there are none anywhere in the world yet for dolphins and whales,” said Marino, a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and cognition formerly on the faculty of Emory University. “Cetacean sanctuary initiatives are long overdue, and we now have the best possible team of experts to ensure an optimal quality of life and care for individual cetaceans.”

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The planned sanctuary will primarily serve orcas, belugas and dolphins endemic to colder waters who are retired from entertainment facilities, and injured or ill animals rescued from the ocean. Rescued animals may be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, but those retired from the entertainment industry, who have never known life in the wild, are considered unlikely candidates for release and so would be given lifetime care. The sanctuary would be open to the public on a regularly scheduled basis, in a manner that avoids disturbing the animals, and would offer comprehensive conservation and education programs.

The Whale Sanctuary Project has received an initial donation of $200,000 from Munchkin, Inc., an award-winning, global baby product company. Munchkin, Inc. previously launched its “Orcas Live in Oceans” campaign to raise awareness of the plight of captive whales, and removed the orca toy from its popular bath toy collection. The company has also pledged a total of at least $1 million toward completion of the project.

“Munchkin has long favored a natural coastal ocean sanctuary as an alternative solution to maintaining orcas in captivity, so we are eager to support The Whale Sanctuary Project’s efforts on behalf of cetaceans retired from the entertainment industry,” said Steven Dunn, CEO and founder of Munchkin. “We are dedicated not only to these majestic mammals, but also to helping parents and children understand what they can do to help orcas and others live the rest of their lives happily and safely.”

Funds from Munchkin will be used for an extensive site search, which involves studying the unique geographic, oceanographic and anthropogenic conditions of a number of possible coastal locations, and a strategic plan for building and operating the sanctuary as well as transport and care of the first animals.

Staff, board members and advisors of The Whale Sanctuary Project represent some of the world’s most experienced scientists, clinicians, engineers, attorneys, business experts, and marine animal advocates. They include biologists, wildlife veterinarians, zoologists, university researchers and former trainers from marine animal parks.

For more information, visit www.whalesanctuaryproject.org.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Take an immersive dive below the waves off the Welsh coast using 360 VR: Common Spider Crab (Watch Video)

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A week-long series from Jake Davies…

Below the waves off the Welsh coast, there are a range of species and habitats that can be seen. However, you don’t have to venture too far from the shore to see them or don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Using 360 videos provides an immersive feeling of being below the water and encountering many species and habitats from diving one of the most important habitats and species that aren’t often seen whilst diving. For more of an experience of being below the waves, the VR videos can be viewed using a VR headset.

Take a VR dive just off the shore and explore what can be found within the shallow waters of a sandy beach. Fish can be founding cruising amongst the seaweed and numerous crustacean (Crabs, lobster, prawns, shrimps) species can be found walking around the seafloor. Common Spider Crabs (Maja brachydactyla) are one of the largest crabs species found along the coast and during the early summer, they aggregate in large numbers to moult which allows them to grow.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Dive Training Blogs

Join Me On My Commute To Scuba Diving Key Largo! (Watch Video)

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Sunrise was so beautiful the other morning, I wanted to take a time lapse of my drive from home in South Miami to Key Largo before morning dives with Horizon Divers.

I thought you might enjoy taking the ride with me! Silly I know! But here’s 2 minutes of chill!

D.S.D.O,

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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