Smart! This newly announced reserve for the animals with the largest brains on the planet and with ... let’s call it their exceptional digestion practices ... should be beneficial to not just the whales but to whale watchers and for combatting climate change too.
The government of Dominica announced November 13, 2023, that it is establishing the world’s first sperm whale reserve. The new 300-square-mile reserve will be off the western side of Dominica in its Caribbean (as opposed to Atlantic) waters.
While protecting endangered and vulnerable species is laudable in and of itself, the nation of Dominica hopes to benefit in other ways too.
Sightings of animals are more likely in areas where the creatures feel safe, so the new reserve should help boost Dominica’s tourism economy. Enhanced regulations, such as those banning commercial fishing and large ships in the reserve, will help ensure that sustainable fishing and whale watching trips have minimal effects on the sperm whales and on the other whales and dolphins that frequent the island’s waters. And thanks to Dominica’s sperm whales’ remarkable pooping capacity, the new reserve should also enhance Dominica’s contributions to combatting climate change.
About 500 sperm whales live in the Eastern Caribbean, with more than 200 swimming in Dominica’s waters year round. Sperm whales are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The animals are bigger than buses, about 49 to 59 feet long, and they’re easy to identify due to their massive heads with large rounded foreheads. Those heads hold the largest brains of any animal ever known to have lived on the planet. The whales dive extremely deep—as deep as 3,280 feet which requires them to hold their breath for 90 minutes—to find their preferred prey of squid.
The population of sperm whales that favors Dominica has been declining about three percent per year, according to The Dominica Sperm Whale Project. There are concerns that, without intervention, the population could be all but gone within a decade. The threats—and solutions— are human-generated. The program’s founder, Canadian whale biologist Dr. Shane Gero, said in a statement, “These ‘island whales’ live alongside humans, preferring this island over others, making our actions in their ocean home their biggest threat.”
Protecting Dominica’s sperm whales should help protect the entire planet too, thanks to the whales’ champion pooping capabilities.
The feces of Dominica’s sperm whales play an important role in mitigating the effects of global warming.
Enric Sala is the founder and executive director of National Geographic Pristine Seas, an organization that helps protect the world’s oceans. In a press
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While countries like Germany and Austria tend to get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to Christmas markets, the Czech Republic should be a prime destination for those seeking enchanting holiday markets. Prague's Old Town Square is a picturesque and festive spot come holiday time, but you’ll also find lesser-known treasures in places like Brno and Plzeň, each offering incredible markets. Here’s a closer look at three fantastic destinations in the Czech Republic where you can immerse yourself in the holiday spirit while enjoying the festive charm of Christmas markets.
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The design of the Café Local stores includes feature graphics of the local skyline, with a modern and simple blue and yellow colour scheme. Keeping true to its name, community boards where local groups and clubs can showcase events or provide relevant information to local passengers are also available.
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