October 23, 2008


In addition to working with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to uphold international conservation laws I have recently joined the Board of Directors of a new organization called S.P.E.C.I.E.E.S.

It stands for the Society to Prevent Exotic Contamination of Island Ecosystems and Endangered Species.

This group is headed up by Allison Lance who has had years of experience in rescuing animals.

And the first task that S.P.E.C.I.E.E.S. is taking on is the awesomely difficult job of addressing exotic species in the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos are a world Heritage site and the rising number of dogs, cats, and goats is having a devastating impact on indigenous species like the giant tortoise, the marine iguana, lava lizards and the many beautiful species of birds found on the islands.

Allison has worked since 2001 with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and with Animal Balance to help spay and neuter dogs and cats on the islands. She has the experience and the skills needed to address this problem. More importantly she has the passion to accept this formidable challenge.

Despite the fact that the Special Law for the Galapagos prohibits the importation of dogs and cats, more than 4,000 of them have been fixed. Unfortunately the numbers keep growing as people bring in more animals from the mainland and breed more.

Of course the most destructive exotic species is the human species and many of the people working in the Galapagos are not legal residents.

S.P.E.C.I.E.E.S. is not proposing a lethal solution for exotic animals. Instead, Allison has a program to continue to sterilize animals and to capture and relocate stray animals to the mainland. She is also working with the Ecuadorian authorities to increase the costs of pet owning permits and to raise fines for animals that run loose and threaten wildlife.

S.P.E.C.E.I.E.E.S. is also working to promote alternatives to cars to lower the impact of the human species.

Partnered with Sea Shepherd, Animal Balance and the Galapagos National Park, Allison's new organization of which I am proud to be a director fulfills a very real need in the effort to protect native species and habitats from the damage caused by introduced exotics.

When I first landed in the Galapagos in 2000, there were marine iguanas sunning themselves on the sidewalk in the town and herons boldly walking down the main street. Lava lizards were constantly darting across my path and the large ancient giant tortoises lumbered along without a worry. All has changed due to more people, more tourists, more dogs, more cats and invading insects and domestic farm animals.

We can lose the Galapagos unless we take action. If we cannot protect a place like this, a world heritage site, and a national park than what hope is there for any other eco-system on the planet.

Help me to make S.P.E.C.I.E.E.S a success and sign up as a monthly or yearly supporting member of this much needed organization.

With your help we can save these enchanted isles.

Donations can be made to:

P.O. Box 3241
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

$25 - Annual Membership feeor become a supporting monthly donor at ______ per monthor send a donation of any amount.

And you can adopt a dog or cat from the Galapagos.

T - (360) 370-5772
C- (360) 298-0368


Contact Allison Lance at:

Founder & President:
Allison Lance

Board of Directors: Captain Paul Watson Larry Richman DVM James Moss JD Board of Advisors: Dr. Diego Barrera DVM Emma Clifford (Animal Balance) Alex Cornelissen Dr. Chinney Krishna

Byron Maas DVM
Jami Pannell J.D., B.L.A.
Grant Pereira
Phil Wollen
Dr. Lew Seidenberg DVM

Please pass this on to other friends. The Protection of the Galapagos National Park is a priority international conservation issue.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae
Genus: Balaenoptera
Length: 24 - 27 m (78 - 88 ft.)
Weight: 100 - 120 tonnes


Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2002. Listed on Appendix I of CITES and Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) .Subspecies: Pygmy blue whale (Balenoptera musculus brevicauda) classified as Data Deficient (DD-) .


The blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived, almost as big as a Boeing 737 , and even larger than the biggest dinosaurs . The skin is greyish blue in colour with a mottled effect visible in some lights that can allow individuals to be identified . The underside, especially of whales living in polar waters, often has a yellowish tinge caused by microscopic algae (diatoms), and between 55 and 88 throat grooves run from under the chin to the navel . The blow (or spout) of this species is the biggest amongst all whales; the slender upright column of air can rise to nine meters .


Found in the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Indian Oceans, with a range that extends from the periphery of drift-ice in polar seas to the tropics . Three main populations persist: one in the southern hemisphere, one in the North Pacific and one in the North Atlantic . It is thought that less than 5,000 individuals remain .


Inhabits the open ocean; found particularly along the continental shelf edge and near polar ice .


Blue whales usually occur alone or in groups numbering between 2 and 3 individuals, but occasionally large groups of up to 60 individuals may form in areas of high food abundance . They feed mainly on shrimp-like krill, which are filtered through the baleen plates . Whales tend to feed at less than 100m deep, and make dives lasting between 5 and 20 minutes . Most blue whales are thought to spend the summer feeding in the colder waters of high latitudes, migrating to warm waters in the winter where females give birth ; although some may be resident in the same area year round . No feeding occurs on the breeding grounds. The two main populations (north and south) remain separated as the seasons are reversed in the two hemispheres.
A single calf is produced after a gestation period of 10 to 11 months. The inter-birth period is probably two to three years, although this may have decreased recently in response to the low population densities . At birth, a calf measures about 7 m in length and may consume up to 50 gallons of milk a day in its first year of life, leading to a weight gain of 90 kg a day . Communication seems to occur via a variety of low frequency sounds and clicks .


As blue whales are so large, fast for their size and difficult to find, they were not targeted by the whaling industry until technological advances between 1860 and 1920 made capture possible . By the 1960s such large numbers had been killed that the species was thought to be on the very brink of extinction . This whale is still threatened by pollution, and blue whale meat still turns up on markets in Japan .


Hunting of the blue whale has been banned since 1966 , however they have been hunted since by illegal soviet whaling. International trade is forbidden as the species is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) . Populations in the Southern Hemisphere are now gradually increasing , but the species still remains in a precarious position.





Photobucket For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas. Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. In an effort to protect sharks, Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives. Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed. Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks, into a fight for his life, and that of humankind.