On March 14-16th Futurismo took part in WhaleFest which is the world's largest whale and dolphin festival. For the third time this event was held in Brighton, England and again Futurismo was present and sponsored the virtual whale watching tour. This year we kick started the event with a new campaign - "The Long Swim to Freedom". This campaign highlighted the plight of dolphins (especially orcas/killer whales) in captivity. We marched along the waterfront with banners and then, in front of a large audience of supporters and curious people passing by, we released a life-sized model orca into the sea. The release was led by famous orca researcher Dr. Ingrid Visser who came all the way from New Zealand and braved the chilly water to guide the model orca into deeper water. See our video of the orca release HERE and a BBC news report HERE.
During the weekend thousands of visitors met at WhaleFest at the Hilton Metropole Hotel which is the exact same place where governments gathered in 1982 to suspend commercial whaling after the "Save the Whales" campaign. We had 2 busy days in which the public could visit the various stalls from different whale watching companies and engage in a range fun-filled educational activities related to whales and dolphins and the marine environment in general. One of these activities was the virtual whale watching tour which was sponsored by Futurismo for the second year in a row. This virtual tour gave the public a taste of whale watching in the Azores and how we run this activity in a sustainable and responsible way with respect for the animals in their natural environment.
As well as the campaign for orcas in captivity this year we also had a strong focus on raising awareness of the critically endangered Maui's dolphin in New Zealand. It is estimated there are only about 50 individuals of this species left in the wild, caused mainly by their entanglement in gillnets. The support and number of people present this year were mind-blowing and we are proud to have helped raise money for the plight of dolphins in captivity and Maui's dolphins. Even after the event has ended we will continue our support and remain partners of both Whale Watch International (a partnership to promote responsible whale and dolphin watching worldwide) and WCA (World Cetacean Alliance).
Futurismo's stand at WhaleFest 2014
Come whale watching with us today!
Come join us on a virtual whale watch tour!
Virtual whale watching with Futurismo
Sperm whale watching in the setting of São Miguel, Azores
Dr. Ingrid Visser talking about orcas in captivity
Huge numbers of people gathered around the main stage to hear the presentations
Looking down at the mainstage
The number is shocking. Let's put an end to this!
Life-sized humpback whale model that you can go inside
Lining up to go inside the inflatable humpback whale
Entering the humpback whale "Nile"
A potential future marine biologist
Making education fun with interesting facts and cool objects like whale baleen and bones
Skull of a Sowerby's beaked whale
The longest tooth in the world - a narwhal tusk!
Risso's dolphin model - a resident species in the Azores
Basking shark model - another species that can be seen in the Azores
Learning how to be a marine biologist - matching whale tail photos (a technique called photo-ID)
Each cross represents the death of a cetacean (dolphins, belugas and orcas) in captivity)
Many dolphins and whales that died in captivity were never named because most die at a young age before they receive a name
One of the many dedicated volunteers at WhaleFest helping to raise awareness of threats to marine life
Moby Dick was also present at WhaleFest this year