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
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
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.
Canon is famous for supporting wildlife initiatives dedicated to protecting endangered species. So why won't they condemn the killing of whales for unnecessary research?
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