Following widespread condemnation from environmentalists and governments, Japan’s whaling fleet has decided to call off their controversial plan to kill 50 humpback whales. This resolution came shortly after Australia announced they would send ships and planes to monitor the Japanese whaling activities, in the hope to collect evidence to legally confront specific whaling practises.
Humpback whales were hunted almost to extinction until the International Whaling Commission called for their protection in the late 1960’s.
Although this is good news for humpback whales, the Japanese whaling fleet are still to continue with their original plan of killing 50 Endangered fin whales and over 900 minke whales. Fin whales are both highly evolutionary distinct and globally endangered putting them well within the Top 100 EDGE species highlighted for protection.
Japanese supporters of the whaling industry insist that whaling has been a cherished cultural tradition, however conflicts in cultural importance come from certain Maori and Pacific communities in New Zealand who are said to have a spiritual connection with whales in the surrounding waters.
Even though current whaling activities are in accordance with international rules, with mounting global pressure it is hoped that the lives of the whales still ear-marked to be killed for “scientific research” will be spared.
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