While reading the news as usual yesterday I came across an article that was published on the on-line edition of the Lakbima News Paper. An extract from the paper below
Bigger than an elephant, 30 metres in length and 140 tons in weight, and gentle in the sea, they slither without a splash. They are shy and timid, and we humans go all the way to the deep blue sea, uninvited, to see these shy and timid living submarines. The blue whales are dying in big numbers and we human are the main cause for their depleting numbers.
The world has discovered one of the greatest blue whale colonies in Sri Lankan waters. It is said they are ‘domiciled’ around Sri Lankan waters, not wanting to migrate because they have a good catch. The largest mammal roaming the planet — the blue whale is being promoted aggressively to attract tourism with unregulated whale watching programmes. Read Full Text
The article gives the reader a good insight into the plight of the whales and how little we are doing to conserve and protect these living graceful giants. I agree completely with what they say in this article having witnessed the whole thing my self.
It is true that while some operators like Jetwings and John Keells and the Navy follow international guidelines some small time operators look more at making a quick buck and in doing so disregard the respect that these giants deserve.
I think the govt should step in and moderate or license this trade, and enforce strict codes of conduct. That said it has only been roughly two years or so since Sri Lanka was positioned as the number one spot in the world to watch whales, due to the massive population of resident blue whales in its waters. Things do take time to implement, but hopefully over the next few years measures will be in place to help protect these living wonders of nature.
There seems to be some pro whale awareness going on, as this article is the second such article I have seen over the last three months. the other article was seen on the Sunday Times, titled "Saving our whales and watching our whales" and can be read here, http://sundaytimes.lk/111127/Plus/plus_08.html . Below is an extract from this article which follows a John Keells tour from Mirissa.
Our eyes are fixed on the far horizon. The sun’s rays illuminate the seascape. ‘Whale.. Blue Whale!’ a cry is let out from the boat. All eyes turn to the person who made the call and then follow his finger towards the distance. Suddenly the magnificent creature surfaces. The sight itself is overwhelming. The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), the largest animal on earth shows itself for just about minute, before disappearing into the depths of the sea.
The Blue Whales are seen in three locations off the coast of Lanka–Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee. Mirissa being the prime spot out of the three, sandwiched between the towns of Weligama and Matara, is a 35 km or one hour drive south of Galle by bus. The whale watching season is just beginning as the Sunday Times joins a John Keells expedition on board a 20-seater power boat off Mirissa. Read Full Text