The Art and Science of Whales

Press release - 28 May, 2007
Thousands of people in dozens of countries marched today to call for whale protection as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) starts its annual meeting. In Anchorage, venue for the meeting, the march was led by whale campaigners, Hollywood stars and world-renowned surfers. (1)

Over two hundred people use their bodies to depict a humpback whale and spell out the word Defend as a message to governments from around the world gathering in Anchorage for the annual International Whaling Commission meeting. During a day of global activity, thousands of whale defenders, from more than twenty countries demanded the IWC be modernised in order to defend the whales, not the whalers.

Greenpeace supporters joined " Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere, MTV host Stephen Colletti, NYPD Blues' Esai Morales of the "Save the Whales Again" campaign (2), Australian pro surfer Dave Rastovich and artist Howie Cooke, from Surfers for Cetaceans (3) and Teens Against Whaling at the parade, which then transformed into a spectacular 'human whale" aerial art display in the centre of Anchorage, the culmination of a series of art events which began in Mexico last week. (4) "The fact that so many people across the globe have come together in a common cause is a loud and clear warning to the Commissioners in Alaska that they must not fail the whales." Greenpeace International Executive Director, Gerd Leipold commented from the Buenos Aires march in Argentina. Caught in nets, hit by ships, choked on plastic bags, poisoned by pollution and starved because of changes in food supply through climate change impacts - hundreds of thousands of whales die every year in the oceans. Over the coming week, IWC delegates from more than seventy nations will spend only a couple of hours discussing these issues and the rest of the four day meeting debating how, where and why to hunt them, whether under the guise of science or simply against the regulations of the Commission. "With so many other factors impacting whale populations worldwide, it is incredible that the IWC is still entertaining the idea of debating commercial whaling," said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace whales campaign coordinator in Japan, who is attending the IWC meeting. "The IWC delegates need to make a commitment this year to modernize the Commission, seriously address the increasing range of threats to whales and become a body that works for the whales and not the whalers." The IWC meeting runs from May 28th - 31st.

VVPR info: Sara Holden, Greenpeace International media, in Alaska: +1 202 413 1852Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan whale campaigner, in Alaska: +1 202 436 0752For interviews with Save the Whales Again, Surfers for Cetaceans and Teens Against Whaling, please contact Jeff Pantukhoff, in Alaska: + 1 808 283 4465For Photo and video please contact: Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace video editor, in Alaska: +31 646 197 322Franca Michienzi, Greenpeace Photo Desk, in Amsterdam: + 31 653 819 255

Notes: 1.The Big Blue March global events took place in over 50 cities, including on the Galapagos Islands, in New Zealand, Russia, Fiji, USA, Argentina and across Europe. For a full list of locations, events and images check out: 2. www.savethewhalesagain.com3. www.surfersforcetaceans.com4.The “Migrating Human Whale” is a unique project by aerial artist John Quigley, hosted in five cities from Mexico to Alaska: