World Whale Day. On 13 February we celebrate the giants of the oceans and their future

The celebration aims to raise awareness on the need of protecting whales, the oceans’ most iconic mammals threatened by human-related activities.

Despite a ban on whale hunting entered into force in 1986, the giants of the oceans still face several threats. A notorious danger is represented by Japan, the Asian country that continued unperturbed to slaughter these peaceful cetaceans “for scientific purposes”, thus by bypassing the ban.

The blue whale is the world's largest animal
The blue whale can exceed 30 metres of lenght being the world’s largest animal

The threats to whales

Japan, however, isn’t the only to violate the moratorium established by the International Whaling Commission (IWC): Norway and Iceland still join the list. The latter is also the only country in the world to hunt the endangered fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

A glimmer of hope

Nevertheless, there’s a glimmer of hope. In fact, some species are thriving, such as the Western Pacific grey whale and the humpback whales living off the coasts of Western Australia. To celebrate the extraordinary yet mysterious intelligence of these creatures as well as underline the need of protecting them, we celebrate World Whale Day on 13 February.

photo of humpback whale
After a ban on whaling, the humpack whale is thriving off the coast of Western Australia

World Whale Day and the Maui Whale Festival

The celebration was established in 1980 on the Hawaiian island of Maui – one of the best places for whale-watching – to celebrate whales returning after the seasonal migration. On this occasion, the Maui Whale Festival is organised by the Pacific Whale Foundation with a series of events, concerts and shows.

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