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Oil Platform to Be Built Near Whale Habitat

Oil Platform to Be Built Near Whale Habitat

Sakhalin Energy, which is partly owned by Shell Oil, is planning to construct an oil platform near Sakhalin Island, Russia a place that is also habitat for critically endangered Western gray whales. If it is built, it would actually be their third oil platform there.

About 130 North Pacific gray whales use the waters near the island as their only known feeding ground, in the Sea of Okhotsk. This very small population of whales must feed properly in order to gain blubber for their long migration to the waters of southern Korea. (A separate much larger population migrates from Alaska to Baja.) Gray whale migrations can reach over 9,000 miles each way, and their journeys are considered the longest mammal migrations. According to the American Cetacean Society, it is believed they are the only whales to feed mainly on bottom dwelling creatures, so disturbances to their feeding ground waters, can damage their chances of survival. Their main feeding waters are also where mother gray whales teach their calves how to find food and eat.

“Just around 30 female Western gray whales of breeding age remain — the population is already on the brink of disappearing forever. The loss of even a few breeding females could mean the end for the population,” said Aleksey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Environmental Policy Officer for WWF-Russia. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

The gray whale used to also live in the North Atlantic, but was hunted to extinction. Western gray whales were abundant, but Japanese fisherman started catching them in about 1570. More and more were hunted over the centuries and in the early 1900s, over 1,400 were caught during a two-decade period. By 1934 Western gray whales were near extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the Western gray whales to be critically endangered. They have written about their concern, saying “The waters off Sakhalin island are of particular significance to the conservation of the Western gray whale, as the only known feeding ground for this population lie in these waters. Whales only feed half of the year, in the summer, and stock energy and fat for their winter calving and mating season. Their primary feeding ground is therefore of major importance for the health and survival of the population. The area is also rich in oil and gas deposits, which have been explored and exploited during the last decade.” (Source: IUCN.org)

Image Credit: Jose Eugenio Gomez Rodriguez

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119 comments

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6:47AM PDT on May 5, 2013

outrageous

11:17AM PDT on May 2, 2013

NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

4:50PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

When is it going to be over the line? How far are we going to go?

4:31PM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

It's time we made a choice--we'll either have an environment, and live, or have oil, and die.

3:58PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

To lose one whale is a tragedy. Is there a petition that we all can sign to voice our objection to this?

3:32PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

We did not learn much about the dangers of oil from the Valdez incident and then BP ignored all safety factors and the results of their assault on the Gulf, its birds and all marine creatures is still carrying on after 2 years.
Total is having a problem with a North Sea well, which has been leaking for over 2 weeks. Oil drilling is dangerous enough on land - imagine how dangerous it is in the ocean! In both cases, oil has added to the problems of our planet's atmosphere and global climate change.
BP has a deal with Russia to drill in the Arctic circle, Shell’s ships are on their way north, apparently with the American governments permission and now Shell is making a deal with Russia! Oh and don’t forget the damage have done in Nigeria and the fact that they want to start fracking in the Karoo, South Africa. Then there’s the mess in South America… and so it goes on and will continue until all petrol heads start changing their habits and demanding lower ‘gas’ prices.

9:08AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

We suck as humans!!! BOO HOO!! ) :

11:54PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

NO!

11:30AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

Great so if we don't kill them for blubber etc we can just kill them with oil. What a wonderful world~!

10:29AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

NO, NO, NO!!! How can this be stopped???

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