A report presented at the recent International Whaling Commission's annual meeting revealed the presence of alarmingly high levels of toxic and heavy metals in sperm whales.
These findings were the result of a five-year study by US-based research and conservation group, Ocean Alliance, in which scientists analyzed tissue samples obtained without harming the whales that are found across the Earth’s oceans, including in very remote areas.
They found that the whales’ skin tissue contained levels of the toxic metals cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium that together were the highest ever found in marine mammals.
The researchers warned that the health of both marine life and humans consuming seafood could be at risk, particularly as the whales’ internal organs are likely much more contaminated. Moreover, the location of the contaminants in the tissue indicated that they were picked up while the whales were in polar regions, suggesting that the harmful metals have spread far from where they were emitted.
Of even greater concern is the fact that as mother whales pass the toxins on to babies, the situation becomes devastating for future generations. American biologist and Ocean Alliance founder Dr. Roger Payne stated, “The entire ocean life is just loaded with a series of contaminants, most of which have been released by human beings… I don't see any future for whale species except extinction. This is not on anybody's radar, no government's radar anywhere, and I think it should be.”
Dr. Payne and Ocean Alliance associates, we are grateful for your work, despite our deep sadness to know of the tragic perils facing the whales. Let us strive to protect the survival of our precious marine co-inhabitants by quickly adopting more conscientious lifestyles in harmony with the environment and all beings on our planet.
During an April 2009 videoconference in South Korea, Supreme Master Ching Hai, as on frequent occasions, reminded of the vital need to be better stewards of our ecosphere to safeguard the welfare of all life on Earth.