Stopping the illegal slaughter of whales
in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
Sometimes direct action to save lives works better than just protesting
In 2009-10 and 2010-11, Bonny served as a mate on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin for our annual campaigns to prevent illegal slaughtering of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. That protective sanctuary was established in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It has been violated in a serious way for at least the past ten years by a large Japanese whaling fleet who claims a legal right to kill there by virtue of a subtle 'research purposes only' clause in the IWC's wording of the Sanctuary. In short, the whalers claim that their inhumane harpooning of approximately 1000 Minke, Fin, and Humpback whales each year during the Antarctic summer is necessary for 'scientific research.' No such research has yet been published in recognized refereed international scientific journals since they began this travesty, and the farce they have continued year after year is tragic and obscene.
During the 2009-2010 season, when Sea Shepherd patrolled the Sanctuary between early December and early March, the Sea Shepherd fleet stayed on the stern of the whalers' factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, for 22 days straight, night and day, and prevented them from killing or processing a single whale during that time. For many more days we pursued them through icea and severe weather, also making it impossible for them to kill whales. The financial loss for the whalers in that season was significant. This is the Sea Shepherds' tactic: do whatever it takes to stay on the stern of the factory ship, thus preventing them from hauling freshly-killed whales up the slipway to their flensing deck, for if they cannot process and package the whale meat in a very short time after the whale dies, the meat is not suitable for sale. (Never mind the illegality of selling whale meat for food! The Japanese have been caught many times for selling whale meat in restaurants and grocery stores, but to date the Japanese government has taken no punitive action again this, and they continue to subsidize the illegal whaling in the Sanctuary. Despite the propaganda from the Japanese "institute for Cetacean Research" -- the spin agency that reports 'news' about whaling in the Southern Ocean -- that accuses the Sea Shepherds of wrongful aggression toward the whalers, the fact is that the Sea Shepherds have taken no action with intent to harm any person or scuttle any vessel of the whaling fleet, nor have they caused any such harm. The Sea Shepherds color the "Research" signs on the whaling ships with red paint (to simulate whale blood), we throw bottles of rotten butter and cellulose at the decks of the whaling ships to discourage work on the decks by causing the deck areas to smell bad and become temporarily slippery, and we drag ropes and other objects behind our small rubber zodiacs as we pass in front of their ships which offer the vague threat of possibly going underneath the ships and finding their propeller, stopping it temporarily ("prop-fouling"). Usually prop-fouling is a measure we take in order to stop a whaling vessel from following our ships so closely; it is a measure of intimidation and threat rather than a serious or effective act of sabotage.
In 2009-2010, the Sea Shepherds had a third vessel with them, one not owned or captained by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society but supposedly sailing under the authority of the Sea Shepherd's Captain Paul Watson. There had been differences of opinion between the captain of the Ady Gil and Sea Shepherd management as well as Captain Watson regarding what constituted acceptable nonviolent tactics toward the whalers. While there is no clear causal connection, this certainly contributed to the unfortunate incident in which the Ady Gil was stopped in neutral while her captain and crew came out to the deck to exchange greetings with the Bob Barker crew when they met for the first time in the Southern Ocean, and the whalers' Shonan Maru rammed the Ady Gil, cutting it nearly in half and making it unsalvageable, while very nearly killing many or all of her crew. The Bob Barker rescued the crew of the Ady Gil, tried to tow the Ady back to the nearest land station but was unable to do so because of how quickly the Ady Gil was taking on water. The Ady Gil had to be left to sink. When the realization was complete, and the owner of the Ady Gil had been duly notified, the Bob Barker left the Ady Gil and proceeded to follow the whalers in order to continue to prevent them from killing whales.
A week after the incident with the Ady Gil, one of the harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru No. 3, rammed the starboard midship section of the Bob Barker. At that time, the Steve Irwin was refueling in Australia, so there was no other friendly vessel in the vicinity to rescue the crew of the Bob Barker. Very fortunately, the impact had occurred at the only place where there was a double wall in the hull (for reinforcement around the external ladder). This saved the Bob Barker from filling with water beyond the narrow area between the outer and inner wall and thus from destabilizing and capsizing. This was a sobering event for the crew of the Bob Barker; it was when we realized fully that the whalers were willing to go to extreme aggressive measures, even to sink us and risk all of our crews' lives. We were stunned to realize just how aggressively dangerous the whalers' behavior was this year, but we were even more stunned to discover that the world in general was not believing the facts as we told them, and that the governments of the world were bringing no repercussions to the whalers or the Japanese government.
By the time the Sea Shepherds needed to call it quits and head back to Australia for repairs and refueling, it was early March, 2010. The whalers continued to kill whales for a few weeks, until the ice began to become too thick. Their total kill quota for that year was somewhat less than half of their self-provided quota of around 1000 whales, but it was still far higher than legal or proper for the Sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd follows a strict non-violent policy. But we are the first to state that we are not merely a protest organization. Direct Action means exactly that. We place ourselves in the way of wrongdoing in order to stop it; we do not simply stand at the sidelines and wail and complain. This does not mean that we are wildly emotional, angry and out of control, irrational or reckless. Not at all. We are courageous because we feel passionately in our hearts that it is right and urgently necessary to protect our oceans from exploitation and pollution, to preserve ecosystems, to support wildlife and natural habitat.
This year (2010-2011), we found two harpoon ships early in the season (leaving only one harpoon ship to kill whales with the Nisshin Maru), then found the refueling ship (the Sun Laurel), and during the last week of January found the factory ship. The refueling ship was in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (below 60 deg latitude South) -- a violation of international law, so we chased them out. As of 2011 February 01, the Bob Barker iwas holding watch on the stern of the Nisshin Maru, our new fast third ship Gojira was on its way from Hobart, Australia to rejoin the Bob, and the Steve Irwin was headed to New Zealand to refuel. During the next weeks, the Nisshin Maru continued to head east and out of the Sanctuary toward South America. As of February 15, the Japanese government announced plans to bring the whaling fleet back to Japan and curtail whaling operations for thi year. (YES!!) We estimate that the whaling fleet may have killed at most 30 whales this year in the Sanctuary.
For the first time in decades, whales are swimming safely again with their mates and calves in the Southern Ocean!
For your enjoyment and education, we have posted here a subset of photos from Sea Shepherd's 2009-2010 Antarctic anti-whaling campaign, and we will post photos from this year's campaign shortly. These photos are the property of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and should not be copied or used elsewhere without appropriate permission and credit. Most of these photos were taken by Sea Shepherd crew members. Special thanks and credit go to: Jo-Anne McArthur, Frank Daouben, Glenn Lockitch, Kevin McGinty, Larry Routledge, Barbara Viega, and Michael Williams.
(CLICK ON INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS TO SEE LARGER VIEWS)
You can read much more about these campaigns, our strategies and successes, and what is happening right now in this year's efforts at www.seashepherd.org. The action is also documented live by onboard crews from the Discovery Channel, who publish their footage in about 12 installments during the summer months in a series they title "Whale Wars", shown on their 'Animal Planet' station. This year, 2010-2011, is the fourth season in which we have permitted Animal Planet personnel to videotape the action live.
Bonny, Founder and President of On Wings Of Care, Inc., is also a Board Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
by Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
ALL proceeds go to benefit Gulf wildlife!
Order your autographed hard copies or an electronic copy here!
Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:
A Dog Named Pepper Doesn't Give up Easily on Life!
20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!
CHAZ - No Ordinary Extraordinary Cur!
20130422 - Left to die but instead, this super-intelligent deep-hearted dog discovered love, family, and even fun -- from the most unlikely mentors!
Turbulent Trails for Tails from TX-20130413
Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California!
Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.
A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231
This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them. Rescuers ROCK!
Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life!
20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!
Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!
This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!
20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!
2012 Sep 22
It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!
Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
2012 July 17 - present
With pitbull-like tenacity, we wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. Out of 21 dogs we sought, we have closure on all but two. Alas, one of those two is our Scarlett.
Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!
2012 July 16
Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!
Homeless Mom and Pups no More!
2012 July 08
Sometimes rescuers find the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!
From Empty Nest to Love Fest!
2012 May 11
That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
JEREMIAH has come home to us!
UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13
His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could. We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again. Read more here!
CHAMP found at the airport!
2012 January 01
A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight! Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
Abby & Dinozo -- Two of a Kind!
2011 September--2012 January
Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family. Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home! Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here!
Yo! Get a Load of Yolo!
2011 November--2012 January
Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
Little did he know, his adventures had only begun! As of January 7, it's back to snow but this time with a family who adores him, and lots of fun and play in the Pacific Northwest!
Saving Scarlett -- Love Forever at Last!
Found on the streets, teats full but puppies absent, a battle-torn very hungry pitbull.
Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
But after we brought Miss Scarlett home to love and food, warmth and stuffed animals,
we discovered a warm heart and sweet spirit that changed us forever.
2011 July--September 29, A Joyful Reunion At Last!
Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean" fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23 - IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5
2013 Feb 15 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010
Galapagos Veterinary Support
Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”