A whale sanctuary in the Canary Islands
THANKS TO THE MORE THAN 40,000 PEOPLE WHO HAVE SIGNED THE PETITION
GREAT NEWS: Oil company Repsol has just abandoned its exporation plans in the Canary Islands, a marine paradise where more than one third of the planet´s cetaceans have been spotted. The oil project has drawn huge local and international opposition, and now it´s time for the whales: we want a marine sanctuary in the Canary Islands, where cetaceans live forever safe from oil threat.
More than one third of the planet´s cetacean species have been spotted in the marine waters surrounding Lanzarote and Fuerteventura . The outstanding biodiversity and species abundance in this region of the Atlantic Ocean make it one of the most important European marine areas for whales and dolphins. It´s a crucial area for the breeding, feeding, migration and life cycles of these amazing sea mammals, as well as other threatened species, such as turtles, sharks and sea birds.
CLICK ON THE MAP to discover more secrets about the whales
This is one of the last places on the planet where you can still watch groups of whales diving and swimming with their calves, huge sperm whales in search of giant squids or dolphin pods playfully jumping. It’s a place where beaked whales look for food at more than 1,000 metres below the surface.
In 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Environment, aware of the vital importance of this marine area for cetaceans, requested a scientific study to trace the boundaries of a Marine Protected Area. The paradox is that this area is the same one in which the government has allowed the Spanish oil company Repsol to carry out oil drilling this year.
WWF has been working at a global scale for cetacean conservation and has promoted the creation of marine sanctuaries worldwide. That´s why we urge the Spanish government to create a marine sanctuary for whales based on their 2011 proposal of a Marine Protected Area in this place – an area where military operations are totally banned as well as the use of low intensity sonars; an area where marine traffic is regulated to reduce the risk of collision and noise pollution; and, of course, a marine area free of oil and gas drilling.
IT S TIME FOR THE WHALES
Join WWF´s petition and urge the President of the Spanish government to support the creation of a whale and dolphin sanctuary in the Canary Islands..
As you are well aware, the eastern coast of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura is home to abundant marine biodiversity, making it an extraordinary and important area for whales, dolphins and other European cetaceans such as sperm whales and beaked whales. But this extraordinary biodiversity is jeopardized by human activities. Between 2002 and 2004, NATO marine activities which used low and medium intensity sonars caused many whales to strand. The collisions and intense noise caused by marine traffic add to the latest threat in the area: the oil drilling planned by Repsol. In 2011 the Spanish Ministry of Environment, aware of the vital importance of this marine area for cetaceans, asked for a scientific study to trace the boundaries of a Marine Protected Area. The paradox is that this is the same area where the government has allowed Repsol to carry out oil drilling this year. For its extraordinary natural values, I urge you to protect this marine area. I want to add my support to the WWF campaign to create a whale sanctuary to the east of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. A Marine Protected Area where human activities don´t harm cetacean populations, the marine biodiversity and the social and economic development of the Canary Islands.