This Week and Last Week in Whales: Whale-Themed Holiday Gifts; Japan's Whaling Fleet on the Move; Mass Stranding of Beaked Whales in Mediterranean...

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News in the world of whales.

  • Here's a last-minute gift idea: holiday gifts that save wildlife.  NRDC has a green gifts initiative where you can dispense with trying to find the perfect gift for the caring people on your holiday list.  No more well-meaning chotchkies.  Instead, you can give gifts (starting as low as $15) that save wildlife and wild places, with a personalized card or e-card to the recipient.  Do good, feel good, help the world.  Sounds perfect.


Ho, ho, ho, save this whale!

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  • Blue whales sighted off Washington coast – one of only three times in the last 50 years.  According to Cascadia Research, the sighting of six blue whales last week is the most known sightings of blue whales ever off the state’s coast.  While there were once more than 350,000 blue whales swimming around the world, today there may be as few as 14,000.  I hope these six enjoy Washington this time of year. 
  • I’ve written before about the problem of exporting live dolphins from the Solomon Islands to theme parks.  There are a lot of problems with such practices (of course there’s the morality of it), but one of the biggest problems is the real danger that dolphins in the Solomon Islands are taken from small populations that may not recover from the loss.  The Solomon Islands Government has routinely claimed that the taking of live dolphins is sustainable, but has been unable to justify the claims with science.  Instead, the best available science pointed to small, distinct populations that likely could not afford to lose members to the theme park industry.  Now, the Solomon Islands Government is moving ahead with draft legislation to enforce a ban on dolphin exports from January next year.  What a wonderful Holiday gift to the world.  Thanks Solomon Islands Government, we’re going to hold you to this promise. 

And other news, as sent to us from my colleague, Lauren:

Meanwhile, this week in Wales…

First Minister Carwyn Jones has warned UK Prime Minister David Cameron that Cameron’s position on the development of a new European treaty could help break up the UK, starting with a Yes vote in a referendum on Scottish Independence.  In a letter to David Cameron, First Minister Jones expressed concerns about the UK becoming isolated at the margins of Europe.  I hope the First Minister’s letter also called out Cameron’s “growth through austerity” plan for the UK, which is driving the country into the loo (although I’m sure he used more diplomatic language).  Welsh unemployment is on the rise.