Shepherding the Great Southern Ocean

While most of the conscientious world has been overwhelmed with the pictures of the gruesome kidnapping and grotesque Japanese slaughtering of Bottlenose dolphins in the cove of Taiji, Japan, 9,000 miles away the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been protecting the sentient whales off the Antarctic shores from other Japanese ocean-killers.

Sea Shepherd Flagship, The Steve Irwin, hot on the heels of the Nisshin Maru. Photo credit: Tim Watters / Sea Shepherd Australia

In 1994 the International Whaling Commission established the Great Southern Whale Sanctuary around three quarters of the world's remaining whales by protecting their Antarctic feeding grounds. Japan's deluded sense of entitlement for slaughtering sealife has them waging a 'War Against Nature' in the Southern Hemisphere within an international whale sanctuary.

The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is intended to protect Earth's remaining whales. Why is Japan poaching whales in a protected internationally recognized zone? Photo from

Each year for the past two decades these shameless ocean-killing Japanese vessels venture into this whale sanctuary, feigning scientific research to kill over 1,000 threatened or endangered whales to sell on the open market. It is antiquated, horrible, loathsome, and it is illegal poaching.

Since 2004 Sea Shepherd has mounted an annual Southern Ocean campaign and interceded in the illegal Japanese poaching of these great whales. Sea Shepherd has single-handily saved over 6,000 whales from a slow and excruciating death by grenade-tipped harpoons.

On January 5, 2014 Sea Shepherd Australia discovered these three dead, protected Minke whales on the deck of the Nisshin Maru. Photo credit: Tim Watters / Sea Shepherd Australia

This year (2014) on January 5th, Sea Shepherd Australia located the ocean-killers in the western Ross Sea where they documented the butchering of three minke whales. Sea Shepherd Australia successfully chased the repugnant Japanese poachers out of the Whale Sanctuary.

The Ross Sea is home to at least 10 mammal species, half a dozen species of birds, 95 species of fish, and over 1,000 invertebrate species. The Ross Sea is one of the last stretches of seas on Earth that remains relatively unaffected by human activities. These illegal whale poachers have no rights to any of this pristine environment -- where all life is respected and protected! Photo from

On January 24th, Sea Shepherd Australia found the Japanese whale poaching fleet 1,000 miles away on the eastern side of the Ross Sea. Once again they found evidence of illegal whale slaying.

Whale entrails in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary discarded by the Japanese whaling fleet (Jan. 24, 2014). Photo credit: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd Australia

Since January 25th, the Sea Shepherd fleet of Bob Barker, Sam Simon and Steve Irwin have effectively prevented any whales from dying despite the Japanese factory killing-boat, the Nisshin Maru, attempting to unsuccessfully out run them. For the past seven days Sea Shepherd's fleet has been sitting on the slipway of the Nisshin Maru. If the ocean-killers can't load dead whales then they won't poach them.

A minke whale and its calf being loaded onto the slipway of the ignoble Japanese slaughterhouse the Nissan Maru in the Southern Ocean International Whale Sanctuary.

The Japanese illegal whalers are on the run, again, and out of the international whale sanctuary. It appears they are low on fuel. And if they attempt to refuel Sea Shepherd boats intend on blocking any refueling operations.

The legendary Animal Kingdom protector Bob Barker believes that all wild animals deserve to live free on planet Earth. Make a difference and support Sea Shepherd Australia as they valiantly protect the great whales of the Southern Ocean within an international whale sanctuary. Photo credit: Tim Watters / Sea Shepherd Australia

Jeff Hansen, Director of Sea Shepherd Australia told me that, "Everything that is wrong with the world is represented in the massive floating slaughterhouse the Nisshin Maru. When we shut down the whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, we send ripples around the world to support and encourage all those other brave environmental activists fighting to ensure the integrity of humanity's life support systems and upholding the laws of ecology. The Whale's Navy is relentless!"

Killing any more sentient whales especially since humans have massacred over 5 million beasts in the past 200 years is wrong. For the Japanese whale poachers, I quote former Australian Senator Dr Bob Brown, Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia, "Stoking your boilers is the perverse idea, which some people never grow out of, that you are closer to supremacy over nature if you kill other creatures bigger, faster or more mysterious than yourselves, no matter how unthreatening, amiable or technologically innocent those creatures may be."

Sea Shepherd depends upon volunteers from every corner of the Earth to make it one of the best run and thriftiest conservation organization on the globe. Photo from

Sea Shepherd's role in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is of paramount importance for ending whaling once and for all. Thousands of volunteers from around the globe are to be commended for helping to save the surreal cetaceans (whales and dolphins).

It's time to grant a global amnesty to all whales and dolphins - now!

Earth Dr Reese Halter is a broadcaster, biologist, educator and co-author of Life, The Wonder of It All.