10 Ways to Help Protect Whales and Dolphins

It’s been more than 80 years since whale conservation has been a hot environmental topic, and yet many whale species as well as dolphins and porpoises are facing extinction. This is a problem not just for these animals, but also the ocean food web that depends on them and, ultimately, our entire planet. Cetaceans in the wild are threatened both directly by whale and dolphin slaughters for food and other products, use of dolphins for shark bait, and indirectly through bycatch in fishing gear, shipping collisions, plastic and other chemical pollution, underwater noise pollution, habitat changes, and warming oceans caused by climate change. The more we learn about these fellow warm-blooded mammals, the more we appreciate their advanced intelligence and complexity and continue the rallying cry to “Save the Whales.” Here are some key ways we can help extend the life of these important species, plus other ocean life.
  1. Curb your plastic use. Use reusable containers and bags, eschew plastic water bottles and recycle whenever possible. Support bans on microbeads which affects the entire ocean food chain.
  2. Reduce chemical pollution with regular car maintenance to prevent leaks onto roadways and driveways; never dump harmful chemicals down the drain or into the street, such as motor oil, paint and thinners; use biodegradable plant-based cleaning products. Volunteer to help clean beaches and monitor storm drains runoff into local watersheds which feed rivers, creeks and ultimately oceans.
  3. Lower your carbon footprint by carpooling, walking and biking when possible and using sustainable energy sources wherever possible.
  4. Ditch the use of pesticides for residential gardening and buy organic food to reduce commercial pesticide runoff.
  5. Sign petitions and take action to oppose oil drilling in critical whale and dolphin feeding and breeding grounds and migration routes.
  6. Contribute to education for children by ‘adopting’ a whale, such as through
  7. Donate to organizations committed to whale and dolphin conservation, especially those that can address global issues, such as the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts in dealing with the International Whaling Commission.
  8. Contact your government representatives and support organizations which oppose underwater military training and testing activities which can deafen marine mammals and interfere with their sonar communication.
  9. Learn about trophic cascading and the “rewild” movement to understand how declining numbers of predators at the top of a food chain creates adverse ripples throughout the system – to counter any friends' arguments that slaughtering whales, sharks and dolphins enables greater fish populations.
  10. Support whale watching as an economic alternative to whaling. Local communities can benefit economically from whales and dolphins without killing them! The awe-inspiring joy of seeing a whale triumphantly emerge several feet above the ocean surface or a huge pod of dolphins playfully swimming by is the ultimate thrill for any wildlife-loving tourist.

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