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INCREDIBLE: Curious whales surprise paddle boarder

INCREDIBLE: Curious whales surprise paddle boarder

Posted 6 October 2015   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: whales, marine animals, video

So this guy just made paddle boarding seem like the best thing ever! Watch how close he gets to two curious whales.


Video: YouTube/Jaimen Hudson

Amazing. The pair of whales who popped up to say hello to paddle boarder Dave are Southern Right whales, of which there are only around 7,000 left! Dave's friend Jaimen jumped on the chance to film this incredible encounter on his drone camera, which is why we're lucky enough to be able to see it.

The best bit about this video is that Dave got to see these amazing animals where they belong -- in the ocean. Animals like whales deserve to live freely and happily, and it's this realisation that has helped many people come to the decision that a tank is no place to see a marine animal. (Here's 5 more reasons animals don't belong in tanks.)

Has this video got you hungry to see animals up close in the wild? Check out these 10 amazing places to see animals in their natural habitat.

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Could whale poo save the planet?

Could whale poo save the planet?

Posted 14 July 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: whales, environment, climate change

I've heard about how poop can help your garden grow and how you can make paper out of it and even how it can be used as an energy source but THIS ... this is the coolest.

New research suggests that whale poo could be the answer to reversing the effects of climate change. Baleen and sperm whales, known as the 'great whales', feed on stuff deep down in the ocean. BUT they come up to the surface to take a dump. Their massive amounts of poop help feed loads of other organisms (bit gross, I know), including phytoplankton, and therefore help keep the ocean alive and healthy. The healthier the ocean, the more carbon it can absorb. The more man-made carbon the ocean absorbs -- the healthier the whole planet!

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Researchers suggest that as whale populations recover from the terrible impact of whaling over the last 100 years, they could help us wind back the effects of climate change. How cool is that? What's more, these studies also show that whaling could have played a part in making climate change such a stinker of a problem. (Pardon the pun.) If we'd have left the ocean and the animals in it alone, maybe we wouldn't be in such deep ... trouble.

But as my favourite philosopher Rafiki would say ...

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It's up to us to make sure that the mistakes of the past never happen again. Killing whales is cruel, unnecessary and seemingly has a negative impact on the global ecosystem. But there are three countries who still find excuses to hunt whales -- Japan, Iceland and Norway. You can help put a stop to this by contacting their representatives in Australia and asking them to cut out whaling for good. Click here to send a strong message for whales today.

Also, did you know that there is a single industry that emits more greenhouse gasses than all of the world's cars, trains and planes combined? If you give a crap about the planet you can choose not to support this industry, starting today! Click here to find out more.

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Aww noo. He's dead az bro.

Aww noo. He's dead az bro.

Posted 2 July 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: whales, environment, plastic bags, rubbish, oceans, video

I've got some bad news cuzzie. The beached whale iz dead :( And what's worse, the whole ocean is getting dead too.

Poor seagull lost his mate to too much "plistuc". Did you know that at least a million sea birds, and a hundred thousand marine mammals die each year because of plastic pollution? That's no good.

But nineteen year old Boyan Slat has got a plan to make sure no more sea animals die from too much plastic. A few years ago, when diving in Greece, Boyan noticed that there were more plastic bags in the ocean than fish :( "Why don't we just clean it up?" he wondered. So, for a school assignment he came up with a plan to clean all the plastic out of the ocean without harming any animals. Check it out:

How amazing is that? Boyan says that the oceans could clean themselves of plastic in just five years! He's currently crowdfunding to get The Ocean Clean Up project up and running and has nearly reached half his target! You go Boyan.

Meanwhile, we can help protect our oceans and the animals in them by making sure no more plastic gets in the water. You can take action today by pledging to say NO to plastic bags. By choosing to carry reusable bags you'll help make the oceans a cleaner and safer place for animals.

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Do you have any other good tips for looking after our sea life? Pop 'em in the comments.

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WATCH: Chance encounter with mother and baby whale

WATCH: Chance encounter with mother and baby whale

Posted 2 April 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: whales, oceans, video, cute

Are you still pumped from the GREAT news that Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean has FINALLY been banned? (In case you missed it, the full story is here.) We have been buzzing here at Unleashed and this video of a mother whale and her baby was the icing on the cake. These lucky tourists got an incredible up close demonstration of how curious and friendly whales can be ... when they don't have harpoons pointed at them:

It's not often we get such a remarkable and up close look at life under the sea. Click here for 10 more things that might surprise you about the big blue.

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VICTORY! Whale hunt banned in Antarctica!

VICTORY! Whale hunt banned in Antarctica!

Posted 1 April 2014   by Jesse         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: whales, victory, oceans

GREAT NEWS! Whales may finally be safe from slaughter in Antarctic waters. Japan has been ordered to stop its whaling. *happy dance*

At long last! No more harpoons. No more slaughter for 'scientific research'. These amazing animals can finally swim free without fear of hunters in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary!

Australia has won an international legal battle at International Court of Justice.  The court has decided that Japan's slaughter of whales is not scientific and must stop IMMEDIATELY. And thankfully, Japanese officials are saying they'll respect the decision.

The long campaign to save the world’s gentle ocean giants has been fought by so many people. Now, all those who have ever taken action for whales can share in this incredible victory. On behalf of the whales, THANK YOU to Sea Shepherd and to all of the groups and individuals who have played a part in this historic win for animals!

This victory goes to show what we can achieve when we work together and never give up. So if you're feeling inspired by this great news, here are some other simple ways you can make a difference of marine animals today:

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WIN 2 tix to see Blackfish!

WIN 2 tix to see Blackfish!

Posted 7 November 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 42 Comments

Tags: whales, orcas, SeaWorld, entertainment, Blackfish, win, competition, contest, giveaway

OMG. I saw Blackfish during the Melbourne International Film Festival and when Madman Films offered us some free tix to giveaway we jumped at the offer. Blackfish is a doco about a performing killer whale named Tilikum who lives in captivity in SeaWorld, Orlando. It is sooooo ... well it’s very sad but also GREAT that Tilikum’s story is being told. Check out the trailer here:

This movie is already having a massive impact in the U.S. A poll by CNN found that 86% of people said they wouldn’t go to SeaWorld after learning about the cruelty of keeping killer whales in captivity. Orcas are highly social and active animals and keeping them in small tanks (in Tilikum’s case) in isolation is unacceptable.

Loads of celebrities are also speaking out against marine parks including Ellen Page, Leona Lewis and Russell Brand. Blackfish also inspired Pixar to change the ending of Finding Dory (to be released next year)!

It’s so exciting that this film is coming to cinemas on November 21, so that Tilikum’s story can continue to reach people. And what’s even more exciting is that YOU get the chance to see it for FREE!*

There's 10 freebie tix all up so we’ll be giving 2 tickets to 1 winner from each of the following states/territories – NSW, QLD, SA, ACT and Vic. (Sorry if you live in WA, NT or Tas but no cinemas are showing Blackfish as yet :( Why not get in touch with your local cinema and let them know that you’d love them to screen it?)

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SO, here’s how to win: Comment below with the coolest fact you know about killer whales. The ones that make my eyes pop out the most will be the winners :) The competition closes on Sunday 17th November so DON’T MISS OUT!

*The movie is only screening in 5 states/territories so please check the full list of venues below to make sure there’s one near you before entering the comp.

Screenings:

ACT Dendy Canberra
NSW Chauvel Cinema
  Dendy Newtown
QLD Gold Coast Arts Centre
  Palace Barracks
SA Palace Nova Eastend
VIC Cinema Nova

WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Congratulations to the lucky winners of our Blackfish ticket giveaway! 

Have you seen the film? What did you think

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"Give these souls a voice."

"Give these souls a voice."

Posted 17 September 2013   by 4_da_animals1         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, hunting, Japan, The Cove

By now you might have heard that the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan has started up again for another season. It’s hard to believe that this cruelty still goes on but Emma -- Unleashed member and volunteer for Sea Shepherd -- reminds us that we can all make a big difference for dolphins in Taiji. Here’s her story:

I have always felt a natural pull towards the ocean. Growing up as a kid, I used to watch Steve Irwin’s documentaries all the time, and he introduced me to Sea Shepherd -- a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of ocean wildlife. Volunteering for this organisation in Adelaide, I was introduced to the Cove Guardians.

What is a Cove Guardian? What are they protecting? These were the questions I asked. I was recommended a documentary called The Cove.

Watching The Cove I grew more and more horrified. I discovered that dolphins are not happy in captivity. For a creature who is used to travelling up to, and sometimes over, 100 kilometres a day, living in a tank is the equivalent of a human living in a bathtub.

“The dolphin’s smile is nature’s greatest deception,” says Ric O’Barry, former trainer of the Flipper dolphins and the star of The Cove. His whole world changed when he watched a dolphin die in his arms. She blocked off her blow hole and stopped breathing, suffocating herself to death whilst living in captivity. Ric now dedicates his life to fighting for dolphin rights.

According to Save Japan Dolphins 1,200 to 1,800 dolphins are killed in Taiji each year, with up to 23,000 killed nationally in Japan.. Fishermen in boats hold large poles underwater and bang them with hammers to create a wall of sound, which disorientates the dolphins' sonar systems, so they can be herded into the cove. Trainers then pick the dolphins who will be sold to marine parks. These dolphins are often sold for $150,000 or more. Countless dolphins in captivity have come from Taiji.

taiji1.jpg
(Photo thanks to Cove Guardians.)

Then the slaughter begins. Whole family units are speared, and hacked at, with knives. One dolphin, in this year’s slaughter, put herself between the slaughtermen and her baby, in a desperate attempt to protect her calf.

The slaughtered dolphins are sold for their flesh. But thankfully this cruelty is being exposed, and together we can turn the tide...

Ric O’Barry and his colleagues used surveillance techniques to gain footage of these horrors and expose them to the world. You can check out their incredible efforts in The Cove. Since then, Save Japan Dolphins and the Cove Guardians have carried on this work, returning to Taiji each year to document and expose the slaughter. Thanks to their efforts awareness is growing.

This year, Japanese activists are standing side by side with people from around the world, at the Cove, in their plea to end this cruelty. And you can stand with them too...

What can we do to help? Simple. Give these souls a voice.

  • Don’t visit marine parks: There are plenty of great dolphin-friendly tours that let you see these incredible animals in the wild.
  • Speak out: Send a message to the Ambassador of Japan in Australia urging Japan to end the slaughter. (Click here to send your message now.)
  • Show suppport: Leave a message of support for the Cove Guardians on their facebook page, or find out how you can get involved here.
  • Spread the word: Most importantly, spread the word. Purchase, watch and share The Cove with all your friends and family. This secret needs to be exposed for the world to see.

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Why is this man crying?

Why is this man crying?

Posted 11 September 2013   by Karen         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, hunting, Japan

This is Satoshi Komiyama, a caring Japanese man who entered the waters of Taiji Cove this week. He is pleading for the lives of wild dolphins who have been captured in underwater nets. Some will be sold to marine parks around the world, where they will live out their lives in captivity.

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Later, this idyllic Cove will become the site of one of the world’s most brutal slaughters -- where countless dolphins will be mercilessly killed for their flesh.

Surrounded by police who were there to defend the notorious annual hunt, Satoshi did the only thing he could do -- he held up his sign, and pleaded. But it was only after he submerged his head under water that he could hear it -- families of panicked dolphins crying out in distress. After returning to the surface, Satoshi tried to describe what he heard, and he broke down.

The battle for Taiji dolphins has only just begun, and Japanese advocates like Satoshi are backed by a growing international outcry against the brutal capture and slaughter of these intelligent animals. You can help show Satoshi that Australians stand united with him for the dolphins of Taiji. Click here to send an instant message to the Ambassador of Japan in Australia urging him to end this cruelty.

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When Dory met Tilly.

When Dory met Tilly.

Posted 15 August 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: whales, orcas, SeaWorld, entertainment, Blackfish, Finding Dory, circuses

Last week I went to see the movie Blackfish. It’s a documentary about Tilikum, a whale who has been living in captivity in ‘amusement’ parks since he was 2 years old. If you missed it, here’s the trailer:

Needless to say, I cried and cried and wailed and snorted and hollered “Free Tilly” at the screen.

Orca whales are highly social animals, who swim many many kilometres per day. Yet, poor Tilikum is still living in a tiny tank in SeaWorld, Orlando. And he’s kept in isolation most of the time :(

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has been moved by this incredible documentary and there is hope for whales (and other captive animals) yet!

When the Pixar team saw Blackfish, they realised that captivity is not such a happy ending for animals. They sat down with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and made some drastic edits to the script of Finding Dory (the sequel to Finding Nemo, due to be released in 2015). Although little is known of the story line as yet, Pixar has said that while characters do travel to a marine park, they will have the option to go back to the ocean if they choose.

freewilly.jpg

It’s not quite that simple in real life unfortunately BUT it is possible. Remember Free Willy? Willy was played by Keiko, and the movie had such an impact on the public that campaigning led to Keiko being moved to a sea-pen in Iceland waters where he eventually migrated to Norway. Although he was still cared for by professionals, he lived out the remainder of his life with a great deal of freedom.

Animal welfare groups in the U.S. are campaigning to get Tilikum released to a sea-pen and rehabilitated, just like Keiko. (You can add your name to the petition here).

But the best way that you can make a difference is by simply never visiting a marine park that makes animals perform. Just like rodeos and circuses that have animals, using animals for entertainment is unnecessary, and rarely provides animals with an environment that allows them to express their natural behaviours.

Despite the tears, it makes me so happy to see movies like Blackfish being made, exposing the significant problems with keeping wild animals in captivity. Have you seen any good animal documentaries lately? I’d love to hear about them.

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Bloody slaughter of dolphins to resume.

Bloody slaughter of dolphins to resume.

Posted 31 August 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, The Cove, hunting

Every year in September, animal lovers from around the world turn their attention towards the Japanese fishing town of Taiji. This date marks the start of the infamous Taiji dolphin drive hunt.

In case you haven't heard of the dolphin hunt before, here's the bare-bones of it. Every year, local fishermen take to the sea near a secluded cove and begin to drive dolphins and small whales towards the shore. There, mothers and babies are separated by ropes, some dolphins are tied to boats, some become injured or break their pectoral fins in the watery panic, and some die from stress or exhaustion.

cove.jpg The-cove.jpg

The bewildered animals are kept enclosed by nets overnight, and as the sun rises on the cove, the sea turns red as 'drive fishermen' pierce the dolphins and whales with long spears. Some fishermen use hooks to haul live dolphins into the boats where their throats are slashed. The dolphins' shrieks fill the air.

The animals that are killed are sold as meat (despite often containing dangerously high levels of mercury). The dolphins that are captured alive are sold to foreign dolphinariums where they will live their lives in captivity.

The goings-on in Taiji were brought to world attention in the Oscar-winning doco "The Cove". Since then, pressure has been steadily applied to those in charge of the hunt and those who allow it to continue.

There have been some major successes in the last couple of years. The number of dolphins killed in recent years seems to be in decline. In Australia, the coastal town of Broome suspended their sister-city relationship with Taiji after a campaign by Unleashed and Animals Australia supporters.

You can help keep the pressure on Taiji, and bring an end to this senseless slaughter. Take a moment to send an email to the Japanese Ambassador in Australia, letting him know of your outrage and disgust at this annual massacre. Head here to take part in this important campaign: http://www.unleashed.org.au/take_action/taiji-dolphin-hunt/

P.S. You might also be interested to learn more about ending a similar massacre that occurs in the Faroe Islands every year.

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Japan Ends Whaling Season - Woo!

Japan Ends Whaling Season - Woo!

Posted 22 February 2011   by Jesse         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: whales, factory farming, pigs, cows, sheep, intelligence

So by now you've probably heard the good news: Last week Japan called an early end to their whaling season. Woot! Here's hoping this is the end to Japan's whaling program for good! (btw you can sign the petition to call for a permanent end to Japanese whaling here)

I'm glad to see Aussies so passionate about whales. They're amazing animals and harpooning them is just plain awful.. but also, it seems to me that people caring about whales is a sign of hope for other animals. I mean, if people can feel such a strong connection to whales then surely they could feel that same compassion for other animals, right? Sure not all animals weigh 40 tons, live in the ocean and eat krill, but really they're not so different. For example...

They say whales are smarter than your average bear (sorry, for the Yogi reference, I couldn't help myself)... not unlike pigs, who have proven themselves to be quite the clever creatures. In fact, pigs have even been trained to play computer games! Yup... with specially designed joysticks pigs can pick up on how to play intelligence testing games just as quickly as chimpanzees!

Whales are also well known for their strong bonds between mother and calf. Mother and calf... hmm... sounds just like another familiar furry, doesn't it? Mother cows also form a strong bond with their calf within hours of being born, and this bond only strengthens over time.

As for their songs...? Scientists suspect that some species of whales sing to their young - something mother pigs are also known for (not to mention hens clucking to their eggs). But perhaps even more surprisingly, the author Jeffrey Masson tells the story of a pig who liked to sing to the full moon. Now that's something I'd like to see!

But the thing that I think really captures people's imaginations with whales is their playfulness - the way they leap out of the water, often for what seems like the sheer joy of it. I'd like to think that if more people saw footage like this playful kid goat, then the Aussie public would be as concerned about the treatment of farm animals as they are about the hunting of whales. wdyt?

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Why Dolphins Were Never Meant to Be Locked Up

Why Dolphins Were Never Meant to Be Locked Up

Posted 27 July 2010   by Sim         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: dolpins, whales, Sea World, entertainment, circuses, The Cove

A couple of weeks ago, in Japan, Kuru the dolphin jumped out of her tank during a show at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Former dolphin trainer (from Flipper) turned dolphin advocate and star of The Cove, Ric O'Barry has said "The habitat of that [dolphin] is so unnatural it leapt out of the tank in desperation. It wanted to end it. Why does a person jump out of a building?" Ric may have a point.

While this footage is shocking, it must be a common enough occurrence, since the handlers keep mats around the aquarium's edge to minimise injury when the animals do this exact thing! And why wouldn't she want out?

Each year thousands of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) are captured from the wild and placed into small tanks in 'Sea Worlds' around the globe. The animals are then taught to perform tricks for human entertainment. Basically its a circus for cetaceans. But most people never hear about the horrendous conditions these animals are made to endure.

Like other animals in circuses, these animals dont belong in prisons, but that's what many marine parks are. Everything about a whale or dolphin's life in captivity is restrictive. Dolpins and whales swim dozens and in some cases upwards of a hundred kilometres in a day. Yet in captivity their tanks are often so small that it only takes them a few seconds to swim from end to end. Many of these highly social animals are kept in solitary confinement. And for animals that rely on sonar, their small tanks must be like deafening echo-chambers.

To combat stress related ulcers and 'behavioural problems' these animals are often fed a cocktail of antibiotics and other drugs. Even still, most dolphins in captivity don't live to 20 years (less than half of their natural lifespan), and most orca whales, who could live to be 90+ in the wild, don't live past 10 years of age in captivity.

So it would come as little surprise if Kuru was hoping to end it the other week.

I'm sure you'd agree that locking any animal in a tiny enclosure and forcing them to perform tricks is cruel. Kuru and her cetacean buddies deserve a better life. Just like animal circuses, the strongest message we can send to marine parks with animal performances is simply not to visit them. We can all make a difference and give animals a better life.

What do you think about what happened with Kuru?

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End Faroe Islands' Bloody Whale & Dolphin Kill!

End Faroe Islands' Bloody Whale & Dolphin Kill!

Posted 12 March 2010   by Karen         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: whales, dolphins, Faroe Islands, Europe, slaughter, petition, take action

It's one of those things you really hope we would have worked out by now... Whales and dolphins: better off frolicking about the ocean than being bludgeoned to death at the water's edge. Right?? Sadly, in some parts of the world this type of brutal end is still a very real threat for these intelligent marine mammals.

Earlier this week the world wept again for the dolphins killed in Taiji, Japan, thanks to the incredible documentary The Cove at its very deserving win at the Oscars. But there is a lesser-known but equally horrific slaughter of these amazing animals that also needs to stop. Every summer in the Faroe Islands, north of Europe, hundreds of pilot whales and other species of dolphin are rounded up and killed in a bloody event touted by locals as 'tradition'. Men drag the animals ashore by lodging a blunt hook in their blowholes and proceed to hack at their spines and vital blood vessels. It takes several minutes for the animals to die a traumatic and painful death while beached helplessly on the shore. Maybe killing these defenceless animals for food was once necessary in this remote part of the world, but nowadays there is no good reason for it.

Having come from Denmark myself, I find this particularly upsetting, since the Faroe Islands were once governed by Denmark. They are still officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but these days they pretty much govern themselves -- and the Danish people have very little power to intervene to help these animals. That's why we are petitioning the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, to halt this barbaric and outdated 'cultural event'.

Do you have a moment to help these whales and dolphins? Click here to sign the petition now, post it on Twitter and Facebook, and forward it to all your friends. 'Tradition' is no reason for killing. Don't let the Faroe Islands get away with this -- the whole world needs to know about this shameful practice!

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