Hello and a whale-sized welcome to AFD’s blog! By which we mean enormous – dolphin-sized isn’t going to cut it here. We’re talking sperm whale-sized, if not a blue whale-sized “hello”.
We’re really delighted that you’ve come to Australia for Dolphins’ blog. It’s a big day for AFD. Today, the AFD website, which began as a veritable family tree of Dropbox files six months ago, is launched into the big wide world, marking the official launch of Australia for Dolphins.
AFD was created to advocate peacefully for the protection of small whales who currently have no legal protection (unlike large whales), and are killed inhumanely in mass dolphin and pilot whale slaughters. We will work with all our dedication to stop the unthinkable cruelty of dolphin hunting, beginning with the largest dolphin drive hunts in the town of Taiji in southeastern Japan.
But before we get into that, let me introduce myself. Recent research has discovered that when dolphins greet each other they exchange signature whistles which likely contain information such as name, gender, age, health status and intent. Such a whistle might be equivalent in English to something like: “Hi, I’m George, a large three-year-old dolphin in good health who means you no harm”.
So, to introduce myself: Hi, I’m Sarah, a tall 28-year-old human and the CEO of Australia for Dolphins. My interest in the issue of dolphin hunting began when I made what turned out to be a heartbreaking trip to Taiji to volunteer as a monitor of the dolphin slaughters with the American organisation Save Japan Dolphins. I don’t think I’ll ever forget hearing the pained shrieks of pilot whales resonating around Taiji’s cove as a pod of 100 was brutally speared to death, or the sight of a tiny bottlenose dolphin calf frantically attempting to jump over a net to its mother held captive on the other side. As the slaughter area is guarded 24/7 by police, all one can do is stand by and watch in horror.
On the train out of Taiji after what had been a depressing week, my dad Alastair, who was also in Taiji, said: “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could bring 250 Australians here to peacefully protest this?”. This was the very start of AFD, and since then a wonderful group of people have become involved who have developed many creative and exciting ideas for how AFD can help bring an end to dolphin hunting in Taiji. Perhaps most urgently, we can address the Australian city of Broome’s support for the dolphin hunts.
We have real optimism that these ideas can work. Dolphin hunting in Taiji is, after all, a tiny industry which does not enjoy widespread support in Japan, and Japan is already under a significant degree of pressure to stop the hunts. We are encouraged by Dr Diana Reiss, perhaps the world’s foremost cetacean expert and a member of the AFD board, who believes that Taiji is at a “tipping point”, and it may not take too much more before the dolphin hunts are brought to an end.
So thank you for coming to the Australia for Dolphins website. If you’d like to meet the AFD board, we’re waiting to say “hi” on the AFD board page.
On the day of its launch, the AFD board would like to say a very special thank you to the team at EXA who designed and developed this website. They have contributed literally hundreds of hours building a website we hope you will find interesting and want to return to, even if it does exist to address an unappealing issue.
We would also like to thank Nirali Somaia and Jess Harris, who donated their animation talent and time to create the 3-minute film “Doolin’s Story” (a task which required them to sketch and paint 25 still images per second!). We hope you’ll enjoy the wonderful unique short film they’ve created.
The purpose of this blog will be to keep AFD members and other visitors informed of what AFD is working on so that you can add your ideas and suggestions, and get involved with campaigns if you would like to. And, of course, in the spirit of any good blog, to share the most amazing and funny random information related to cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales). To start this off, check out this amusing screen capture of the Wikipedia page for “List of Cetaceans”, published on BoingBoing.net.
Thanks for reading this blog and see you at blog entry number 2!