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The Great Whale Trail

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.

 Humpback whales migrate from the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

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.

Check out the early results

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.

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.

Why catching whales for science is a hoax

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.


The latest updates


Tokyo Two Trial Continues

Image | 8 March, 2010 at 16:17

Greenpeace Japan activists Toru Suzuki (right) and Junichi Sato (centre), watch a 'living statue' of Lady Justice prior to briefing the media at a press conference at the end of their first day of 'defence' questioning at their trial in Aomori,...

Whaling on trial

Feature story | 8 March, 2010 at 0:00

The Tokyo Two trial continued today as a former whaler took to the stand and cast serious doubt on the veracity of the official investigation into our allegations of institutional embezzlement within Japan's whaling industry. He further revealed...

Opening Day of Tokyo Two Trial

Image | 15 February, 2010 at 16:59

Greenpeace activists Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato, with their lead defence counsel lawyer stand beside an ice sculpture of Lady Justice on the opening day of their trial in Aomori, Japan, Monday 15th February 2010.

Calls for justice in support of the 'Tokyo Two'

Image | 15 February, 2010 at 0:00

Over 400,000 calls for justice have been made in support of the 'Tokyo Two'. A banner with some of these names is held by an activist as a real human figure of Lady Justice stands outside the court in Aomori where Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki are...

Danish activists support the Tokyo Two

Image | 15 February, 2010 at 0:00

Danish activists support the Tokyo Two

Tokyo Two trial: Prosecution struggles on opening day

Feature story | 15 February, 2010 at 0:00

It’s been almost two years since the wrongful arrest of Junichi and Toru for their roles in exposing the corruption and lies woven in the fabric that holds the whaling industry together. As the trial for those charges began, it seemed obvious to...

Filipino Activists Support Tokyo Two

Image | 12 February, 2010 at 0:00

Greenpeace activists in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila, Philippines protest the Japanese government's breach of the human rights of the "Tokyo Two," the two Greenpeace activists detained for uncovering major corruption in the Japanese...

New Zealand Activists Support Tokyo Two

Image | 12 February, 2010 at 0:00

Greenpeace activists deliver more than 300 origami whales, signed by supporters, to the Japanese Embassy in New Zealand. They were accompanied by a letter to the Japanese Ambassador calling for fair trial for the "Tokyo Two," the two Greenpeace...

Austrian Activists Support Tokyo Two

Image | 12 February, 2010 at 0:00

Greenpeace campaigner Antje Helms delivering the letter to a representative of the Japanese Embassy calling for a fair trial for Junichi Sato and and Toru Suzuki.

Indonesian Activists Support Tokyo Two

Image | 12 February, 2010 at 0:00

Indonesian Greenpeace activists hold a 5-day protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Jakarta. The group is protesting the Japanese government's breach of the human rights of the Tokyo Two.

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