Mister Splashy Pants and friends

Feature story - 18 April, 2008
He may be the most famous humpback whale in the world but Mister Splashy Pants has lots of less famous friends too, all of them named by our supporters around the world.

A Humpback whale swims past the Cook Island whale research boat, enjoying the warm water and the protected reefs of Rarotonga (Cook Islands).

As part of The Great Whale Trail (GWT), we collaborated with scientists working on humpback whales in the South Pacific. With financial support from Greenpeace, humpback whales were tagged by the Cook Islands Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation and Opération Cétacés (New Caledonia).

With the scientists encouragement, we asked our supporters to help name the tagged whales. The most famous of them is undoubtedly Mister Splashy Pants, who came out on top of our online whale name poll.

Other winners from the poll that are now the proud names of humpbacks in the South Pacific are, Humphrey, Aiko, Libertad, Mira, Kaimana, Aurora, Shanti, Amal and Manami.

Some of our supporters in Japan also named a couple of whales with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto naming a whale Neo after his son and Japanese rock guitarist Sugizo naming a whale Lyra after being inspired to protect the environment after the birth of his daughter.

One more whale was named after a school in the Cook Islands after the children of the school had tried to save a stranded whale just months before the humpbacks were tagged. The whale was not a humpback whale but a Cuviers beaked whale which had stranded itself on the beach opposite the Ngatangiia school.

The whale died shortly after it was discovered but became the subject of an en masse lesson for the kids who watched over it all day in utter amazement. The children were so moved by the experience that they named the whale Kakera, meaning 'the rising sun', which is also the name of the land that the school is on.

In honour of the whale who died and the children who tried to save it, there is now a humpback whale swimming around in the South Pacific named Kakera.

Another whale was named by the readers of the Daily Telegraph, anAustralian newspaper. The name they choose was Iluka, an AustralianAboriginal word meaning 'near the sea'.

With 5 whales left to name we turned to our most ardent supporters, the whale defenders.

Joe Wu from Hong Kong named a whale Siu King meaning 'smiling whale' in Cantonese.

Jenni Barrett from Ireland named a whale SIDD after the first name initials of the three Irish crew members onboard the Esperanza (Sara Holden, Dave Walsh and Dave McEvitt ) and one honorary Irish citizen (Irene Berg - from Sweden).

Whitney from USA named a whale Maggie Mae partly after her grandmother, aged 83, who is called Margaret (sometimes Maggie) and partly after the Rod Stewart song of the same name.

Varga Åskvigg from Sweden named a whale Varuna after the Vedic (Hindu) sea God, the protector of the sea and sea life.

Chloé Banville from Canada named a whale Anaïs which means grace in Hebrew.

A big thank you to all the people who participated in The Great Whale Trail. With your help, we are another step closer to ending whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for good.

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