Whales must not be allowed to die in the thousands for needless, discredited "research," and we're satellite tracking whales in the Southern Ocean to prove it.

The Great Whale Trail is a collaboration between Greenpeace and scientists working on humpback whales in the South Pacific. With financial support from Greenpeace, humpback whales have been tagged by the Cook Islands Whale Research and Opération Cétacés (New Caledonia). 

The whales are now being tracked via satellite as they migrate from breeding and calving areas in the tropical South Pacific to the feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean.

This project will produce important information on the movements and migratory destinations of humpback whales from small, unrecovered populations off Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and New Caledonia.

Greenpeace is communicating this critical non-lethal scientific research to the wider public as part of their campaign against Japan's unnecessary lethal "research" in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Why the Japanese Fleet can't use this map to find and kill the humpbacks.

On their journey, the humpbacks, like hundreds of thousands of other whales, face a range of threats including ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution and the impacts of climate change.

Every year, more than 300,000 whales and dolphins die just caught in nets. The one place you might think they would be safe is a whale sanctuary like the Southern Ocean. Not so. Once in Antarctic waters they face the threat most easily ended - whaling.

The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was meant to be a safe haven but every year the Fisheries Agency of Japan send a fleet of whaling ships to kill in the name of science. For the third year running they aim to hunt down almost 1,000 minke whales.

This year, they also plan to kill 50 threatened humpback whales and 50 endangered fin whales.

All of these whales will die for so-called 'scientific research' - but even the International Whaling Commission has labelled the "research" needless and urged the Japanese government to stop.

In reality, the "research" is commercial whaling in disguise  -  and the whale meat actually ends up in supermarket shelves in Japan, even though few people eat it anymore. Commercial whaling is banned under IWC rules.

In contrast, the Great Whale Trail project is contributing to real scientific efforts without killing whales.

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Feature story | November 9, 2007 at 23:39

Even among people who agree that whales should not be killed needlessly in the name of research, opinions diverge wildly when it comes to naming them. So far we have received over 8,000 entries to name some of the whales that were tagged for the...