For thousands of years Grey Whales have made an annual pilgrimage from the nutrient rich waters in the Northern Pacific to the tranquil bays of Baja California. The Grey Whale population was bordering on extinction in the 1850’s to the early 1900’s. Mainly due to over hunting by floating factories and whalers that found the calving grounds in Baja, Mexico. The Eastern Pacific Grey Whales have made an incredible come back with numbers currently in the range of 20, 000 individuals. The two other Grey whale populations where not as fortunate and are still threatened and on the brink of extinction. The fact that the eastern Pacific population rebounded after hunting ceased is not a coincidence.
As a population the human species has the ability to overtake a natural species in a very short time. In the early 1900’s the technology was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is today. Although the Grey whales of the Pacific Ocean rebounded back to a healthy status other whale populations are not as fortunate. Whaling is still alive and well in the present day. Japan currently leads the initiative to legalize whale harvests, claiming that whaling is a large part of Japanese culture. Iceland is right behind them along with the Russian Federation, and many other countries in the West Indies. It is believed that Japan funds a lot of the whaling going on in other countries under the ruse of scientific research. That being said whale meat is commonly found on the menu in Japanese restaurants. Norway is the only country that comes straight out and says they kill whales for a food source. They have never stopped their whaling campaign and do not intend to do so.
As populations increase so does the demand for whale based products. We can not breed whales in captivity or farm them like cattle for human consumption. Every year the nations of the world meet and discuss whaling, from the native Makah in the Pacific Northwest to Japanese harvests. There is a need to conserve these gentle giants. The Grey Whales may have made a great comeback but other species are still threatened. As a community we need to realize that once an animal is extinct it is too late to bring it back. Why wait until the problem in imminent before taking precautions. It is our job as citizens of the world to educate ourselves about issues like whaling and other environmental issues that will eventually change the face of the planet we all call home. Can you imagine a world without whales, I don’t want to. Letting one species disappear is too many. I want generations to come to enjoy the sighting of these magnificent creatures. The web of life is in the balance and in our hands. Please do the responsibly thing and educate yourselves about issues that will effect us all for generations to come. Together we can make a difference.