Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca

Directed By
Mark Pedelty
Now Playing
Cinema Verde
Eco-Tourism Award
2021
Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca
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Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca
26
Minutes
Minute
Animals
,
Conservation
,
Documentary
United States
2020

Does whale watching protect or harm whales? This film explores heated controversies over whale watching, boat noise, and orca conservation in Washington State and British Columbia. Whale watching companies claim that they serve as "sentinels" protecting the orca from unwary recreational boaters, ferries, and ships. A number of local conservationists and scientists have argued that whale watching boats crowd and harass whales, while adding noise to the orcas' immediate environment that makes it difficult for the social species to survive. "Sentinels of Silence?" uses dramatic imagery, peer-reviewed science, and interviews with conservationists, scientists, and industry officials to bring a fascinating chapter in the orca conservation story to light. In December, 2020, three months after Sentinels of Silence? was released, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission made an historic decision to more closely regulate whale watching companies' activities around the Southern Resident Killer Whales, citing noise and harassment as factors.

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