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World Animal Protection Hosts Roundtable Webinar on the First Whale Heritage Site in the US

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Experts from World Cetacean Alliance, and the Dana Point whale watching companies come together to discuss the importance of responsible wildlife watching.

Last month, World Animal Protection hosted a webinar on the launch of the first Whale Heritage Site in the US in Dana Point, California. Our panel included: 

  • Ben Williamson, US Programs Director, World Animal Protection 
  • Dylan Walker, CEO, World Cetacean Alliance 
  • Gisele Anderson, Dana Point Steering Committee 
  • Donna Kalez, Dana Point Steering Committee 
  • Dr. Jan-Schmidt-Burbach, Global Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare, World Animal Protection  

The one-hour event detailed how and why the Whale Heritage Site certification began, what is unique and special about Dana Point, and how whales and dolphins living in the wild compare with the conditions of cetaceans in captivity. There was also extensive time for Q&A from our audience and a slideshow and video highlighting the magnificent whale watching at Dana Point.  

More than 160 people tuned into the discussion and asked challenging and insightful questions ranging from what are the strict criteria to become a Whale Heritage Site, to whether it’s ever ethical to use motorized boats to view whales and dolphins in the wild. 

For those unfamiliar with the Whale Heritage Sites program, it’s a global accreditation program developed by the World Cetacean Alliance and supported by World Animal Protection, that recognizes destinations around the world that support and demonstrate the importance of cetaceans through culture, education, research, and conservation. In addition to Dana Point, California, other sites include Tenerife-La Gomera Marine Area, Spain, Hervey Bay, Australia, and The Bluff, South Africa.  

In contrast to viewing cetaceans in captive marine mammal attractions where dolphins live in tanks on average 200,000 times smaller than the size of their natural home range, the Whale Heritage Sites program offers tourists and travel companies a way to see cetaceans in the wild, where they belong.  

To learn more about Dana Point and the Whale Heritage Site program, check out our webinar recording below.  

Already thinking of planning a trip to Dana Point? You can book an experience here.  

Watch Webinar Recording

The Whale Heritage Sites program offers tourists and travel companies a way to see cetaceans in the wild, where they belong.