You may have watched them on Animal Planet in the popular documentary called Whale Wars or maybe you’ve read about them in the news, either way Sea Shepherd has been making a big name for itself in the last few years. Their battles with the Japanese whaling fleets have been notorious and in the next year they intend to prevent whaling fleets from harming even one whale. Seems like a difficult task but Sea Shepherd’s upcoming operation, dubbed ‘Operational Zero Tolerance’, is hoping for a victorious ending as the last two seasons successfully saved a huge number of whales and this time round the activists believe they can do it.
This operation boasts a fleet of four ships and a helicopter. One of the ships was a former research vessel that belonged to Japan’s whaling fleet and is now the newest member of the fleet, renamed as Sam Simon, the man who funded the purchase of the ship. In a funny twist of the fate, it will be a former whaling fleet ship out in the ocean preventing the slaughtering of whales by the Japanese whaling fleet. Turns out the Japanese fleet did not know that Sea Shepherd was the ones buying their ship.
Over 100 people will be fighting on the front lines, with the majority being volunteers. The job is dangerous and life threatening. For this operation a co-founder of Women for Whales, Natalie Fox, will be joining the fray, according to an interview she did for The Guardian. Anything can happen out at sea and with a difficult and serious mission like preventing all whaling, Natalie Fox has decided to not think about any confrontations with whaling fleets until it happens.
It seems that luck is already on Sea Shepherd’s side as the whaling fleet will be arriving late to their whaling destination in the Southern Ocean. Instead of arriving at the beginning of the normal whaling season, they will be expected to arrive halfway through the season. Hopefully, with the work of these activists, the whaling fleet of Japan will go home with empty hands at the end of the season.
Whilst it is pretty obvious to anyone that the techniques used by Sea Shepherd are extremely dangerous and puts their crew in danger, it is probably the most effective methods of preventing whaling at the moment. So far no one had been seriously injured but utilising methods that place the crew in the firing line means that it’s probably just a matter of time before something terrible happens. Yet I am glad that some people are willing to take action and responsibility for the animals on this earth, even if the methods are questionable. Somehow, in today’s day and age, hunting defenceless animals like whales under the excuse of ‘scientific research’ just doesn’t sound very civilised.
Sources: The Guardian. (2012). Meet the woman battling Japan’s whaling fleet in Antarctic Ocean. Retrieved on 29th of December 2012 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/29/japan-whalers-sea-shepherd-activists
Sea Shepherd. (N.D.). Operation Zero Tolerance – Sea Shepherd. Retrieved on 29th of December 2012 from http://www.seashepherd.org/zero-tolerance/