World Whale and Dolphin Day was declared in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (WC), and July 23rd is the day each year that the world celebrates these amazing ocean mammals. It was the same day in 1982 when the members of the Commission voted for a complete ban on commercial whaling, putting an end to the 200 years of the indiscriminate killing of whales. The whaling ban is still in place, which means that whale meat sales are not allowed. However, whaling is not the only threat to these animals. The most current danger to their existence is the capture of whales, dolphins, and other marine species for dolphinariums, oceanariums, and circuses.
The main aim now of Whale and Dolphin Day is to attract the attention of the public, authorities, and all humanity to the issues of all sea mammals’ protection. According to the data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London’s Living Blue Planet Report, the number of sea mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and other animals living in the World Ocean dropped to 49% in the period from 1970 to 2010. However, in recent years, according to the data from the sea mammal’s lab at the TINRO-Centre (the Pacific Science and Research Fishery Centre), the number of whales has gradually begun to increase. There is a hope that in the near future the populations of fin and sperm whales will almost completely recover, as now there are approximately 10 and 20 thousand specimens respectively.
Whales and dolphins have become very popular with the public for good reason. Whales for example are very interesting creatures, they combine fish external characteristics such as fins, round stream-lined form, and the smooth surface of the body, with the principles of the body internal organization, which are more characteristic for endothermic organisms, including the presence of lungs as well as bearing and delivering babies.
Killer whales were the focus of public attention in 2016 when SeaWorld stopped all captivity breeding and decided to temporarily stop all shows after a trainer was killed. In the wild, these magnificent creatures can live an average of 30 years (maximum 50-60 years) for male orcas and 46 years for females (maximum 80-90 years). In captivity their lifespan can be significantly reduced, males 10-30 years and females 10-45 years.
There is no doubt that the second symbol of the struggle for sea mammals’ protection has rightly become the dolphin, the smartest cetacean, which is included in the top ten of the most highly developed animals on the planet. Dolphins can save a drowning man, but nobody except for nature itself has ever taught them to do so. There were cases when these animals healed diseases, especially children’s diseases, which were not amenable to medical treatment, by a simple “communication” with the young patients. In the end, dolphins have a lot in common with humans like a similar heart structure, the mass of the brain, the body size, the presence of lungs, and many other things.
So today, why not take a little time to learn more about these amazing animals and how you might want to participate in their continued survival.