As this year draws quickly to a close, I want to thank you for helping us save dolphins and whales and ask for your support to strengthen our efforts.
For me, there has been no more searing image from 2018 than the photo of Pacific Northwest orca mom Tahlequah holding her baby up at the surface, hoping against hope that her newborn would take its first breath and survive.
Not a single one of these orcas has had a successful birth in more than three years, and their total population of 74 is declining. They are fighting a desperate battle against extinction. Tragically, Tahlequah’s baby died within hours of birth. Orcas have incredibly tight bonds with their families and are widely known to grieve the losses of pod mates. It is rare for us to witness this grief. But this situation was like no other.
Tahlequah carried her dead baby for seventeen days and nearly a thousand miles – a gripping indication of these orcas trying to hold on.
The photo sailed around the world. It was a moment of connection and learning about how incredible orca whale communities are, and what is at stake.
For us here at the International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP), it hammered home the importance of our hard work to stop the capture and trade of dolphins and orcas and confront the fishing practices, boat traffic, sound blasting, and plastic pollution that threaten their ocean homes.
We will never give up. Orcas and other dolphins have the right to live free from harm from world fishing industries and companies that profit off the cruel practices of holding them in concrete tanks to perform circus tricks. Our resolve is strengthened to stop the cruelty to dolphins and whales, shine the light on areas where the harm is taking place, and mobilize public support.
This work isn’t easy, and we cannot do it without your help. You’ve helped as consumers and petition signers, and supported undercover investigations, public advocacy and educational outreach. You have lots of choices of where to put your year-end gifts, and I hope you’ll consider making a generous donation today to help fund our work to protect whales, dolphins and their ocean habitats.
Freeing Whales from Lives in Tanks
We made great progress this year as part of a pioneering lawsuit against SeaWorld to force them to finally tell the public the truth about the abuses associated with holding orcas in captivity. SeaWorld has tried to dismiss our lawsuit four times, but the federal judge has shut them down each time. The case will proceed to trial in the year ahead.
Captivity is cruel to orcas and other dolphins. They wear and break their teeth on the sides of tanks and steel gates. They are pumped up with drugs to deal with their health issues – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, antibiotics, and stomach antacids. They have to continually perform for crowds just in order to eat, and they often die premature deaths.
Despite the growing opposition worldwide to holding whales in captivity, SeaWorld refuses to retire a single orca or dolphin to seaside sanctuaries where they can live longer, better lives.
With your support, we can force an end to this cruelty.
An Orca and Beluga Disaster in Russia
A massive scheme concocted by secret Russian business interests is threatening the lives of orcas and belugas right now. 11 orcas and 90 beluga whales were snatched from the wild and are being held in small secret pens in a harbor on the East Coast of Russia. Permits for captures under this unscientific and cruel plan were surreptitiously approved by the Russian government.
One of our staff members has been on-site in Russia, working closely with Russian activists to expose this tragedy, stop the export and press the government to see that these whales are returned to the wild where they belong.
But we face great odds, and time is of the essence. Up to a hundred million dollars could go Russian profiteers if they pull this off. And intervening to find out what is going on is highly dangerous work. A prominent Russian animal advocate was recently knocked down and her camera broken by thugs as she tried to photograph the outside of the whale holding facility. We must get the word out and support the efforts to get these orcas and belugas back to the wild.
Meanwhile, Japan also remains a hotspot for whale and dolphin misery. Japan continues to conduct whaling as well as allow and subsidize the continued killing of dolphins in Taiji.
We revealed to the world the ties of the international captivity industry with the slaughter of Taiji dolphins – the best “show quality” dolphins are separated permanently from their families and shipped around the world to dolphinariums to do circus tricks. The rest of the families are brutally slaughtered and sold as meat in Japan markets – toxic meat, as it contains large quantities of mercury and PCBs. It is a horrible business, and it must be ended.
In all these campaigns and more, we are saving dolphins and whales thanks to your support.
On behalf of all dolphins swimming in their natural ocean homes and those that are desperate for our help, thank you again for your critical help.
David Phillips, Executive Director
International Marine Mammal Project
Special Offer: Donate $100, or become a sustaining donor, and carry our beautiful, new organic cotton orca tote bag. For a donation of $50, wear our hand-sewn dolphin batik bandana. For a $35 donation, receive a handcrafted enamel dolphin zipper pull. Huge thanks!
The International Marine Mammal Project is part of the Earth Island Institute network. EII receives high scores from Charity Ratings Services including Charity Navigator and GuideStar, demonstrating that we are worthy of public trust.
Photo credits: Orca captivity courtesy Mark Palmer, wild orca courtesy Betty Sederquist, Taiji photo courtesy OPS. unsubscribe