Pierce Brosnan has narrated a video to call attention to the plight of the last 284 beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet. According to Brosnan, the actor and ocean activist, and also NRDC, the Apache Alaska Corporation is about to launch a seismic airgun attack that could push the white whales over the brink, into extinction.
The explosive noise of airguns used to explore for oil and gas can deafen, injure and even kill whales.
-Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
According to NRDC, the oil exploration company is planning to launch an “acoustic onslaught in the beluga’s only home in the world” and apparently the Obama Administration has given Apache Alaska Oil the greenlight to go forward. The company, says Brosnan in the video, will use devices that create loud air blasts to explore for oil and gas – blasts that will occur every ten seconds, perhaps for months on end. At a distance, Brosnan says, the blasts can cause the whales to abandon their habitat and stop eating. At close range, they can cause deafness, even death.
“Don’t let the belugas go silent. Help protect them before time runs out.”
Another giant has left us. The International Union for Conservation of Nature said that the Western Black Rhino of Africa was officially extinct, and two other subspecies were close to the same fate. Amazing to consider also that a quarter of all mammals are at risk of extinction. But there is also a ray of light: the IUCN said that the Southern White Rhino and Przewalski’s Horse have been saved from extinction. Why? Successful conservation programs.
This is why I believe that the battle to save Big Animals from extinction begins with experiencing them first hand. You need to be in the presence of a rhino, a lion, a gorilla or a whale to fully comprehend its power, grace and magnificence. Conservation measures are the answer, as Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission said: “In the case of both the Western Black Rhino and the Northern White Rhino, the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented.” Getting people and governments to take those measures means they have to experience, appreciate and make an emotional connection to Big Animals. I’d like to offer you a way to do that, yourself, and have the experience of a lifetime.
Big 7 African Safari
Nobody ever said getting spectacular images of the world’s iconic animals was easy, but I want to offer you a way for your personal photos of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, cape buffalo and mountain gorillas to be worthy of a spread in your favorite nature magazine. Come with me to Africa June 2 through 24, 2012 and I will be at your side to coach your camera work, show you how to work with various lenses and telling you about the best ways to shoot in natural light. On the expedition we’ll avoid the usual tourist destinations so you can get a sense of Africa at its most welcoming and magnificent. The grand finale is to strap on some scuba tanks and swim with Nile Crocodiles in the Okavango Delta. We’ll be in the Nxamaseri Lodge, a unique African experience on an island in the delta. We make the trip doing the best time to be in the water – June and July when the water is clear (visibility 15-20 feet) and cold (55-60 degrees F) which brings the crocs to the surface for great viewing and interaction.
There is hope for Big Animals. Sperm whales were among the world’s most hunted animals – almost driven to extinction. But how they have made the best comeback in the history of wildlife with almost as many now as there were a hundred years ago. Will you join me on our next adventure to Africa?
I am lucky to count Dr. Sylvia Earle among my friends. She is also a powerful friend of the ocean, working to call attention to the most important issues of conservation, education and change. Her TED talk from February 2009 is still strong and still affects people. She talked about how we’ve eaten more than 90 percent of the big fish in the ocean and how the ocean’s coral reefs are disappearing. And she has also said that the next decade will be the most critical and important in the next 100 years when it comes to ocean conservation. Last April, inspired by her words and action, a group of 100 scientists, activists and philanthropists set out on an adventure called the Mission Blue Voyage. Their goal is to find and get the word out on what they call “hope spots” – places that deserve to be protected, saved and restored.
This is what Dr. Earle calls “the blue heart of the planet.”
Hosted by the National Geographic society, Mission Blue has tracked whale sharks in the Galapagos and investigated conditions in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mission Blue has been described on the TED blogs, and also in Time magazine. Dr. Earle’s wish is to create marine protected areas on the high seas. Just like governments have created parks on land, Dr. Earle wants there to be sanctuaries on and under the water. Think of them as national parks at sea. I know how she’s feels – I am a co-founder of Israel’s Marine National Park on the Red Sea.
I’ve heard about a movie Dr. Earle is part of and I’m looking forward to telling you more about it when I can. Earlier this year, when she received a lifetime achievement award, they played a clip. Have a look at it - I think you’ll find it inspiring.
If you want to experience the Galapagos first hand, I am leading an expedition there with a September 17th departure. This is a rare dive trip to the Galapagos, since it is for a full two weeks. Last year’s prices were $13,900 for the Master cabin and $13,500 for the Deluxe. Now we’re offering them at $11,900 and $11,500. This includes the domestic flight to Galapagos and other local taxes. Book now and take advantage of this deal because there are only eight spaces left. Departures on Sept 17 – Oct 3.