Communities adopt humpback whales

THE International Fund for Animal Welfare has announced that 50 councils and communities around Australia, including Coffs Harbour, have now officially adopted individual humpback whales.

But the IFAW is warning the news comes within days of the arrival of Japan's whaling fleet in the southern ocean.

The Japanese are believed to be planning to kill up to 50 humpbacks as part of their so-called research programs.

And the IFAW claim this would be the first time in four decades that the humpback has faced harpoons.

The 50 adopting communities stretch along the east coast of the mainland down to Tasmania and up the west coast of Australia, forming a symbolic chain of communities determined to save humpback whales.

IFAW Asia Pacific campaigns manager Darren Kindleysides said "to have reached the landmark figure of 50 adoptive communities clearly demonstrates that Australians will not sit back and let the Japanese kill these animals for their scientific scam".

"We trust that the new Rudd Government will honour their election promises of protection and not let the humpbacks, and their adoptive Australian communities, down," he said.

Each adopted whale can be individually identified by its distinctive tail markings.

All of the 50 communities has named their whales, aiming to use them to educate people about the marine environment and raise awareness of the threats facing this vulnerable species.

The Humpback Icon Project is led by IFAW and aims to reach 100 adopted whales before the next International Whaling Commission meeting in May.

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