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Why we’re walking for whales to save the world

We've got enormous ambitions when it comes to fighting climate breakdown, and so two members of our team have taken on mammoth challenges to help raise the funds we need - will you help?

I love taking on a fundraising challenge, especially when it’s for an amazing cause. Groundbreaking research into the vital role whales, as climate giants, play in keeping the ocean healthy and fighting climate change is one of those causes.

Here at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we’re funding brilliant scientists around the world who are gathering the evidence we need to convince governments and policymakers that we need to save the whale to save the world. From collecting porpoise poo in The Netherlands and humpback whale poo in Alaska to understand how it helps the ocean absorb carbon, to tracking whale migrations from space, the projects we fund and would love to fund in the future, will revolutionise global conservation and climate policies.

I work on this Climate Giants programme as the research coordinator, so I know how important this research is. It means so much to me that my colleague Ed Goodall and I are both taking on epic walking challenges to raise funds. Between us, we’ll be walking 205 kilometres or 127 miles, the same distance that a migrating humpback can travel every day.

 

WDC's Vicki James and Ed Goodall
WDC's Vicki James and Ed Goodall

Will you sponsor us? Even the smallest amount will help.

Challenge accepted

I have a great passion for going on long hikes and just getting outdoors exploring, and I decided to set myself some hard challenges this year. Starting with an Easter challenge which is taking place the week before Easter on April Fool’s Day (yes that says it all), taking me through a part of the country I’ve never visited, where I will get great views of Windsor Castle – Did you know that in the year 1324, all whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters became symbolic property of the crown to protect them from poachers?

Next will be a moonlight walk along the Thames, followed by the Thames Bridges Trek taking in 16 of the iconic bridges across the River Thames. My final challenge will be on Halloween evening, through the streets of London, where I will be in fancy dress, including a light-up bat tutu!

By the end of these challenges, I will have walked over 91 km or 57 miles.

Powers of persuasion

My colleague Ed Goodall manages our Climate Giants programme, and he will be walking around the Isle of Wight, about 71 miles or 114 km. Ed said: ‘I’ve always been a huge fan of the big outdoors, but I’ve never really been a walker. I suppose working with Vicki, she’s used her mind powers to turn me into an aspiring one at least! I was born and raised on ‘the island’, as us islanders call it. It’s a wonderful place with incredible views out towards the ocean, particularly on the west coast and I’ve always been tempted to tackle the entire coastal path. I walked the 26 miles East to West last year in memory of my grandparents and managed to survive that so this time it makes perfect sense to triple the distance.

Pointed reminder

There are a few whale sights along the route, and one of the islands famous ‘chines’, which are a kind of coastal ravine, is called Whale Chine. I saw dolphins last summer off the southern tip of the island for the first time in my life, so hopefully a few might show up this year to encourage me on my way to the finishing point at the famous geological landmark of The Needles. In fact, last year The Needles recorded the highest windspeed ever in the UK - an outrageous 125mph, reminding us of the sheer power of nature and the threat of climate change, but also of the hope the ocean gives us and what it will give back if we treat it kindly and restore the life within its care, starting with the whales and dolphins.’

If you would like to support these amazing projects and play your part in convincing decision-makers to act urgently to protect the ocean, we’d love it if you would sponsor us. Every single pound will help. Thank you … and wish us luck.

What we're raising money for:

Life after Death

We will sink a grey whale carcass to a depth of 890m and monitor it continuously for a minimum of three years. This will provide detailed information into the vast array of species whale carcasses support, as well as furthering our understanding of how dead whales tackle climate change. (the whale carcass will be sourced from a naturally-stranded dead whale). High-resolution cameras and sensors will provide a fascinating live feed.

£7,000 will buy the 10 weights needed to sink the carcass to the seabed, or fund undergraduate students undertaking video analysis.

AnimOcean

We will use computer modeling technology to measure, for the first time ever, the global impact marine mammals have on the ocean. We will find out how marine mammals contribute to ocean health, and how much carbon they capture and lock away, helping us tackle climate change.

£7,000 will help us to purchase a supercomputer, or fund the support of a leading scientist.

Please sponsor us

A small gift or a large one - it all helps us get closer to our target and we are truly grateful for every penny. Thank you.

About Vicki James

Green Whale research coordinator