Tag Archives: Sydney

Sydney’s humpback whale calf euthanased

Sydney named* the lost calf… but ultimately he still died, yesterday morning: Humpback whale calf Colin euthanased. Click the link to read, there are details on the arguments for and against further attempts to save Colin, and links to debates on whether it was necessary to end little Colin’s life by human committee.

This is a surprisingly turn given the upbeat tone of articles like this, and reports of the military’s willingness to assist in rescue efforts, just hours earlier.

Colin’s case has also sparked some possible controversy… namely:

… an international law professor says it may be illegal for authorities to euthanise the abandoned calf.

Professor Donald Rothwell from the Australian National University says there is no provision or precedent under NSW law to put down the protected species.

He says an order could be possibly be granted under the NSW National Parks Act, but that would send the wrong message to the international community about whale conservation.

“One of the important issues which should cause concerns here is that humpback whales are the whales that Australia has particularly taken a strong position with in terms of their protection and conservation at the international level,” he said.

“I think the Japanese would view with some interest Australia granting a permit to actually legally kill a whale that’s in Australian waters.”

(source)

I would hate to see Colin’s tragedy open that can of worms to the benefit of his species’ killers.

EDIT: * Colin’s autopsy reveals him to be a her, and now she’s been renamed Collette, though it’s going to make scant difference to her.

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Sydney’s Lost Whale Calf

Dawn wrote about this heartbreaking news:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whale bonds with ship

This is pretty amazing – when you think about orphaned kittens and how they need to be looked after and how difficult it is to keep them alive, you read about this and realise that there really is no way to bottle feed a whale.

The BBC says too: Hopes fade for Sydney whale calf

The lost calf – aged between one and two months – was first sighted on Sunday just north of Sydney and soon began to try to suckle from a yacht, which it would not leave.

Rescuers towed the boat into open sea hoping that the calf would find another female to suckle from, but the attempt failed and the whale returned to an inlet near Sydney. On Wednesday, another attempt also failed.

The whale has since been trying to suckle from other boats.

Sad sight

“It sounded like a bit of a vacuum cleaner on the bottom of the boat. I finally got up and here’s this whale suckling the side of the boat,” sailor Peter Lewis told a commercial radio station.

“It was a very, very sad sight. It did it for about an hour, going from side to side on the boat and at times blowing air under the boat, and it just seemed to give a sigh out at one stage as if, you know, ‘this isn’t working’.”

Chris McIntosh, a spokesman for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, told AFP that the whale probably hadn’t had food for about five days and was getting weaker.

Euthanasia was “the most likely outcome, but we are not at that point yet”, he said.

It’s funny how the same thing can elicit such different emotions from people. Whales, who doesn’t like them? … that was rhetorical.

The irony is, while Sydney agonises over the fate of this whale calf, Japan’s whale-killing mob is revving up to put political spanners in the anti-whale killing works. This, after using humpbacks to blackmail the rest of the IWC during the latest IWC summit to allow it to continue killing endangered fin whales in the next whale-killing season. This, despite voices of dissension among its own, particularly Shigeko Misaki, a former advisor to the Japan Whaling Association and the former counsel for the Institute for Cetacean Research or ICR (Japanese government FUNDED unnecessary whale research by KILLING them institute) who says:

“…I now find myself retired and severed from much of the controversy over whaling. However, internet reports of whaling “progress” thus far persuade me that this season is the most opportune time for Japan’s government to decide to withdraw all whaling operations from the Southern Ocean.”

“I say this because I believe that pelagic whaling does not contribute to the prevention of global warming. Just think of the expensive fuel the Japanese whaling fleet consumes en route to the Antarctic, plus that consumed by the freezing ship for transporting the byproducts of whaling to the Japanese market. Over the years, Japanese research ships have made a mess on the ocean when fire broke out due to poor management of the vessel. Add to that the mess made by animal rights groups eager to attack the whaling ships. Whaling as a business hardly justifies the environmental costs. Talk about ‘food mileage’ has not touched on whale meat. Why doesn’t the government consider it more seriously, and cease whaling in any form, except small-scale coastal whaling?”

Never mind the insanity and stubbornness of hiding behind the limpid excuse of culture and heritage. The important question is: can the voice of reason, the compassion of logic prevail against the hell-bent whale-killers of the world?

What can we do to help bring about that outcome?