Whale Heritage Areas
Whale Heritage Areas are a global network of outstanding places where local communities celebrate, respect and protect cetaceans and their habitats.
Whale Heritage Areas are part of the Wildlife Heritage Areas programme, a global initiative developed by the World Cetacean Alliance and World Animal Protection.
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Why are Whale Heritage Areas important?
Whales and dolphins have intrinsic value as sentient beings, indicators of ocean health, and charismatic animals that have inspired and moved humans for thousands of years.
With increasing demand to see these majestic creatures where they belong, in the wild, it’s important that the industry develops in a way that is sustainable for planet and people.
Whale Heritage Areas promote truly responsible whale and dolphin watching, supporting and promoting tourism that is sensitive to the environment, the welfare of the animals involved, and the livelihoods of local communities.
Becoming designated as a Whale Heritage Area brings many economic, environmental and social benefits to the local community!
Applying to become a Whale Heritage Area
“Whale Heritage Areas are becoming the gold standard for responsible whale watching destinations worldwide. But they also have so much more to offer. By interweaving natural and cultural elements and placing communities at their very heart, these sites will become places where people respect, celebrate and protect cetaceans and their habitats long into the future.”
Honorary President, World Cetacean Alliance & Founder, Ocean Futures Society
About Whale Heritage Areas
The WCA’s original Whale Heritage Sites programme was initiated in 2015 and run in partnership with World Animal Protection from 2019, with the purpose of showcasing an entire community and their relationship with whales and dolphins by encouraging respectful human-cetacean coexistence.
In 2023, the concept of Wildlife Heritage Areas was born out of the success of Whale Heritage Sites, taking the community-led model of the original programme and expanding it to include all wildlife on land and at sea. Whale Heritage Sites are now Whale Heritage Areas: one type of Wildlife Heritage Area, where the focal species are cetaceans.
Whale Heritage Areas are places that celebrate cetaceans in local culture, arts and events; support local economic and environmental sustainability; and develop locally based science, research and education.
At Whale Heritage Areas, people work collaboratively within their communities to make and enforce decisions that will benefit cetaceans and their habitats in the long term.