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Take Action During International Whale Week!

Help Save the Last of a Dying Breed

Click here to Read More About the Threats to the Western Pacific Grey Whale

February 19, 2003, is recognized in Russia as International Whale Day, a day to celebrate and protect the world's largest creatures. It is part of Whale Week, an internationally recognized week to appreciate and protect whales.

A species of whale that calls the shores of the Russian Far East their home is facing an immediate threat. Russian environmentalists and whale enthusiasts are seeking international action to save these endangered whales! We are asking you to join us and our friends at Russia's Living Seas Coalition in taking action to save the last of these creatures.

The Western Pacific Gray Whale is recognized around the world as critically endangered. Less than 100 whales remain in the population. The International Whaling Commission has called on nations worldwide to reduce man-made impacts to whale habitat. The whales migrate between Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk, the shores of the Korean Peninsula, and possibly the South China Sea.

The most critical area for survival of the Western Pacific Gray Whale is its feeding grounds offshore of northern Sakhalin. The Western Pacific Gray Whale spends from May to November - the ice-free season - in its limited feeding area, building up enough fat to survive its winter migration. The icy sea around Sakhalin is teeming with life and creates the perfect, and only, feeding grounds for these graceful creatures.

In the last few years, life has taken a turn for the worse for these beautiful giants. Their feeding grounds, unfortunately, coincide with the location of large offshore oil and gas deposits. And now, two international oil consortiums led by Shell and ExxonMobil are drilling for oil and gas off Sakhalin's shores in and nearby the Western Pacific Gray Whale feeding grounds.. Both companies have carried out underwater seismic blasts as part of their underwater testing, and Shell has dumped drilling waste directly into the sea.

The impact on the whales has been profound. In 1999, scientists for the first time reported "skinny whales," or whales that were showing visible signs of malnourishment. By 2000, 27 - more than a quarter of the population - skinny whales were identified. Skinny whales have continued to be observed in 2001 and 2002. Scientists fear that continued and expanded oil drilling projects will stop any chance the whales have for recovering.

If these oil consortiums have their way, then this is only the beginning. the companies plan to build piers, underwater oil pipelines, and another oil platform.

This activity violates Russian law, which forbids carrying out any work that negatively impacts an endangered species. However, the Russian government has been slow to enforce these laws, and the big oil companies are taking advantage of this legal vacuum.

Take Action to Help the Western Pacific Grey Whales!

There is still time to prevent these projects from harming the whales' survival! Shell and ExxonMobil can move forward only after receiving positive environmental impact reviews from the Russian government. Writer a letter, send a fax, or make a phone call before or on February 19 to any or all of the key decision-makers below. Click on one of the names below for a sample letter and contact information. A letter or a fax has the greatest impact!

· Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia
· Lee Raymond, President of ExxonMobil
· Phillip Watts, Chairman, Shell Oil

Please also send a copy to us at:

Pacific Environment
1440 Broadway, Suite 306
Oakland, CA 94612
Fax: 510/251-8838
Email: info@pacificenvironment

We will provide your letters to international financial institutions that are considering support for these oil companies in order to demonstrate that these oil companies need to clean up their act on Sakhalin before their projects can be supported!

Click here to Read More About the Threats to the Western Pacific Grey Whale

To read a detailed article about ExxonMobil harming the whales, from "The Ecologist" Magazine, click here.

Translation: "Whale, you're the weak link. Good bye!"

About International Whale Day: Whale Day is being celebrated in Russia on February 19. It is part of the internationally recognized Whale Week. Environment and conservation organizations all over the globe use this week to organize actions to protect whales and marine mammals. Often, citizens unite to defend one unique species that is threatened with extinction. For example, in 2000, concerned people all around the world were able to save the Gray Whales that were threatened in the San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico, where a proposed salt factory to be built by Mitsubishi threatened their breeding grounds. Thanks to this massive international action, the Mexican government halted the project, and the breeding ground was saved from the plant's pollutants.

Click here for a Russian language site about Whale Day!

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