As early as next Sunday, on February 19, our planet is going to celebrate Marina Mammals Day. The Commander Islands Reserve will not remain uninvolved. On February 17 the Museum of the World Ocean in Kaliningrad will host a photo show called The Tamers of the Deep: Marine Mammals of the Commander Islands Reserve. On February 19, at 12:00 p.m. in Moscow Darwin Museum our employees together with our colleagues from Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Reserve will continue the celebration. We have invited everyone to this event, let’s talk about Marine Mammals Day and the coming events.
It will be the 29th celebration of Marine Mammals Day. On February 19, 1986 the ban of International Whaling Commission, according to which whaling anywhere in the world was banned for every member of the Commission. Still there are some limitations: whaling is allowed for indigenous communities, which had been whaling for many centuries before, but it is restricted and is under control. In Russia only the indigenous communities of Chukotka have this right, as it is sometimes the only way to survive in the harsh conditions of the Chukot Peninsula. Today we see, that for nearly 300 years all the members of the Commission comply with the prohibition with some exceptions.
Sea otter in the water area of the Commander Islands. Photo by Evgeny Mamaev
Meanwhile, in some countries commercial structures still may kill whales and sell some products made of whales. Some of these countries are Japan, Iceland and Norway. Japan hides this industry under a mask of scientific research and kills annually more then 500 cetaceans. It is interesting, that 60% of Japanese want to keep whaling, but only 4% eat whale meet regularly and 10% eat it rarely (according to data provided by National Geographic). In Iceland the situation is even more interesting, because it was the first country to introduce a moratorium on whaling. The document came into action in 1915 and serves as a reaction of the government to a tremendous decrease in cetacean population, but in 1928 the ban was cancelled. Today Iceland kills about 200 whales per year, mainly minke whales, sei whale and fin back whale.
Orca whale near the Commander Islands. Photo by Evgeny Mamaev
Other countries, as Australia, fight to introduce a global ban on whaling in international courts, during political summits and economic forums. These countries have good chances, as we see on example of Australia and the decision of Permanent Court of Arbitration on Australian lawsuit against Japan in 2014.
We hope, that one day whaling will cease to exist. Let’s now return to marine mammals and their holiday.
In Russia different species of marine mammals can be seen both on the East and on the West. But the highest number was registered in the Far East, in the North of the Pacific Ocean: The Commander Islands, The Kuril Islands, coast of Kamchatka peninsula and in the Sea of Okhotsk. Only in the protected water area of the Commander Islands 21 species of cetaceans were registered, which is the all time record in Russia!
The Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve, as the largest Russian marine nature reserve joins the celebration of Marine Mammals Day with a photo show, which will take place in Kaliningrad, starting from February 17, with workshops for kids and a lecture called Marine Mammals of the Commander Islands Reserve in Darwin Museum in Moscow. The Moscow part of the celebration was organized by employees of The Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve, Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Reserve, Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and Kurshskaya Kosa National Park.
Ringed seal on the coast near Nikolskoye Village, Bering Island. Photo by Evgeny Mamaev
Our photo show The Tamers of the Deep: Marine Mammals of the Commander Islands Reserve will start on February 17 in the Museum of the World Ocean in Kaliningrad, situated on Peter The Great Quay, 1. You will see the works of Evgeny Mamaev, Ph.D (Biology), popularizer of biology and Deputy Director for Science in the Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve.
The events in Darwin Museum will take place on February 19, 25 and 26. The museum is situated on Vavilova street, 57, Moscow. On February 19 at 12:00 p.m. our employees and friends from Kronotsky Reserve will show small videos and presentations, will tell you about our marine mammals and will invite you to an exciting program for children. Kids may take part in an interactive game, quiz with prizes, may inhabit a marine water area, color magnets in form of marine mammals, make a mask to become a sea otter, make a post-card with cetaceans, beadweave a whale, color a shell form the Commander Islands and play with a jigsaw puzzle, depicting a rookery and listen to a story about cetaceans and pinnipeds.
Jumping humpback whale. Photo by Evgeny Mamaev
On February 25 a team from Kurshskaya Kosa National Park will make a presentation Marine Mammals of the Baltic Sea and their own workshops for children. They will have a chance to color wooden seals and Baltic stones and to make their own cloth seals. And finally on February 26 employees of Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve will speak about bay seals and will organize a quiz, workshops to color some pottery, to make an origami paper seal or to develop a skill in paper-craft.
Friends, we invite you to our photo show in the Museum of the World Ocean in Kaliningrad and to our lecture in Darwin Museum. Come with your children and friends, they will love our workshops. See you soon!