sorry to ruin such a lovely day, but I’m going to bring up the Grind since it’s August.
every year, the faroe islands kill thousands of endangered long-finned pilot whales for sport. it is considered a tradition that goes back to the 1500s and is carried out still today. it is called The Grind.
some argue ruining a tradition so old is immoral and disrespectful to those living there, but considering the endangerment of these animals and the brutality that takes place, it should be easy to say that a stop needs to be put to this.
long-finned pilot whales travel in nearby, warmer waters to give birth. those that take part in The Grind could care less that they are slaughtering, torturing, and ripping out fetuses from pregnant whales.
what happens to the meat? some of it is divided up among the locals, yet most of it is left to rot on the beach. the meat is also quite poisonous due to pollutants in the water and is not considered okay for consumption.
WARNING: Gruesome Description
So how does an entire community manage to go out and kill pilot whales? Do they use harpoons like Japanese whalers, or large boats? No.
Boats go out to herd up the whales who are usually far from the shore area. They push them towards the shore in a similar way the infamous Taiji Cove does; by creating loud noises and vibrations in the water to get the whales in the direction they want. the whales are chased to shore, where they become stranded and trapped. Those that are not lead to shore are hooked near the blowhole and dragged.
then the community begins the slaughter. those that are stranded are stabbed with knives. Their veins and arteries are cut to prevent blood from reaching their heads. The process is not only gruesome and gory, but long. it can take 30 seconds to 5 minutes for a pilot whale to die. not only do the individual whales face this ordeal, but they are surrounded by family going through the same thing and are aware of everything that happens to them.
children take part in this, often getting help from parents to slaughter the whales. they pose on dead carcasses for pictures and smile. others rip out the fetuses of the whales or continue mutilating them for enjoyment.
This event is technically illegal, considering the species most often killed is endangered. However, the Faroese government allows it.
Sea Shepherd is beginning to take part in ending it. They are going out this year to try and prevent the Grind from happening and bringing awareness to those performing the actions to understand that the cetaceans they are killing are fully aware of themselves, their family, and have the same emotions as humans and perhaps more.
This year, luckily, the presence of Sea Shepherd prevented the whaling from occurring. No whales have been killed this year.
Photos by Gerry Ellis from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a nursery and orphanage for elephants in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. Here, fifty five keepers are charged with being around the clock parents to an elephant. The elephants, however, are the ones who chose their caretakers; it is the keepers who must ingratiate themselves to the elephants and earn their trust.
When elephants first arrive at the orphanage they are often traumatized from having witnessed the slaughter of their mothers and family by poachers. Grieving can last several months, and they often lose the will to live. But as Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the orphanage, explains, a caretaker is charged with “persuading an elephant to live when it wants to die.”
Approximately 35,000 elephants are killed by humans every year. With an estimated 350,000 elephants left in the whole continent of Africa, they will be gone in the wild within ten years.
CBC’s The Nature of Things did a program on the elephants and their caretakers. You can foster an elephant with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust online here. For more on the emotional lives of elephants, as well as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and other human efforts to save them, check out these posts
I shake it off
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