Meet the Partner: Elizabeth Robinson

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It’s always good fun to learn more about the diverse network of partners we have situated around the world. We have partners from all different backgrounds and it’s fantastic to unite everyone under the same passion for cetaceans. This month we are bringing you some information on one of our student partners: Elizabeth Robinson.

Elizabeth is currently a student in the UK studying Global Wildlife Health and Conservation. She was raised in the US, where she earned her sea-legs and developed a passion for cetaceans before gaining some work experience with multiple marine mammal education organisations. To date, she has worked with multiple species of cetaceans, including Humpback Whales, Orcas and Harbour Porpoises across multiple states. She is hoping to direct her passion into inspiring others via her scientific writing, photography, research and videography.

“Currently I am involved with a non-profit organisation called Deep Green Wilderness, based in Seattle Washington. In addition to taking students and adults on voyages in the Salish Sea and beyond into British Colombia, the organisation is working on a film about North Pacific right whales. The film is called “Right Over the Edge: In Search for the North Pacific right whale” and will be released later this year. It highlights the tragic history of this right whale population and the crew’s journeys in search of finding the illusive whale.

North Pacific right whales, similar to their related cousins, the North Atlantic right whale, have struggled to recover since the whaling industry took advantage of their large body size and tendency to float when hunted, making them the ‘right whale’ to hunt. The North Pacific right whale has been separated into two separate populations: the western, which is infrequently seen off Japan in the Sea of Okhotsk, and the eastern, ranking anywhere from Alaska to Mexico. The Northeast Pacific population is critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and is thought to have less than 20 mature adults remaining in the population.

Finding a North Pacific right whale somewhere out at sea seems similar to finding a needle in a haystack; but that didn’t stop us from trying! We embarked on two voyages, one around Vancouver Island and one in Alaska from Dutch Harbour into the right whale’s critical habitat in the Bering Sea, in search fro what is thought to be the most endangered whale population in the world. Hopefully the oil, will deepen in the audience’s understanding of how runaway resource extraction can leave populations and communities irreparably damaged. We hope the film will inspire viewers to take action to save these whales and their ocean ecosystem.”

You can view the film’s website and trailer for yourself here: https://www.rightwhalefilm.com

I appreciate the global impact the WCA’s work has and the well-deserved praise for providing a platform for international discussion ideally leading to cooperation and initiative implementation. I am currently working on my master’s dissertation which focuses on cetacean conservation. Cetaceans have an immense impact on the ecosystem and deserve the protection and attention that parallel their invaluable importance.

A huge thank you to Elizabeth for all of the work that you do to educate and raise awareness of the issues that cetaceans face both historically and today.

All photos: © Elizabeth Robinson

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