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October 28, 2010

Introducing: Planet Whale

A new way to get involved with the world of whale and dolphin watching

  • A fun and colorful site. Planet Whale.

  • Humpbacks are a favorite for whale watchers. Douglas J. Hoffman/www.douglasjhoffman.com

  • Two wild dolphins having fun. Duncan Noakes/iStockphoto.

by Marcie Berry

Have you ever wanted to see wild whales and dolphins up close, but weren’t sure where to find the best and most accurate information on tour operators? Well, Planet Whale might be just the website you’ve been looking for. It is a new endeavor started this year by a handful of whale and dolphin lovers. This new site will allow you to search for a whale watching trip from a list of commercial operators, read ratings of those operators from people who have traveled with them, view videos posted by whale watchers, and learn about charities all over the world that work to protect these magnificent creatures.

Planet Whale wants to make it easy to discover where you can participate in high-quality, sustainable whale watching. They also provide an online community where you can share your experiences. At Planet Whale, they truly believe that if everyone were able to see a whale or dolphin in the wild, the world would be a better place. Using real-life encounters, stories, videos, and photos, they hope to inspire people everywhere to protect whales and dolphins.

Their online community allows you to create a profile page, upload photos and videos, get the latest news on marine mammals, and write about your whale watching experiences. You can join "groups" of like-minded people to show your support for and interest in various topics, non-profits, or whale watching destinations. The website also offers useful insights into the best places to see whales and dolphins, what to bring with you on your trip, and even how to avoid seasickness.

Even if you aren’t planning an upcoming whale or dolphin watching trip, your past experiences and opinions could be very helpful to others. Planet Whale offers a forum for you to share this information. Their rating system for whale watching operators is based on a set of principled criteria and whenever you search for an operator, the ones rated most ethical appear first. This encourages you to travel with the most ethical operators, while motivating the operators who don’t receive high ratings to try and do better.

Humane Society International is excited about the potential for Planet Whale to showcase the world of whale and dolphin watching, especially as an alternative to viewing captive marine mammals. We have our own profile page on their site and hope to be able to share our campaigns that protect marine mammals. Those who are able to see whales and dolphins in the wild are likely to want to do more to protect them. We hope that Planet Whale will enable HSI supporters and others to enjoy watching dolphins and whales while still maintaining an ethical stance against harassing or harming them. We believe in the website founders’ mission of promoting good wildlife viewing practices and will do what we can to advise and aid them.

Check it out here: www.planetwhale.com