Whale of a plane takes off today
Cape Air donates plane to help save whales
Special to CCToday by Solon Economou
May 10, Hyannis. Today the "Whale Plane" sponsored by Cape Air and the International Fund for Animal Welfare took off from Barnstable Municipal Airport for a 15-stop cross-country tour that will end May 21 in Anchorage Alaska. The tour is aimed at bringing heightened awareness to increased threats to the worlds' whale populations and the urgent need for their protection.
The stunning Whale Plane shown here flying over Provincetown displaying humpback whales along its fuselage and tail, is a Cape Air twin-engined Cessna beautifully painted by airbrush artist Jurek Zamoyski and donated by Cape Air for use on this trip. The culmination of the tour in Anchorage will coincide with the 2007 International Whaling Commission being held there.
IFAW Global Whale Program Manager Patrick Ramage and his 12-year-old son Henry on right will join Cape Air pilot Ken Johnson on the trip. Ramage says, "We urge the U.S. government to take...a leadership role in expressing the strongest possible opposition to commercial whaling and so-called scientific whaling. Ramage pointed out that Japan plans to kill 50 humpback whales this year, like the ones painted on the plane, along with 1200 other whales.
The whale plane will make stops in Boston, New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, Des Moines, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, San Francisco,Newport (Oregon) and Vancouver before reaching Anchorage.
Cape Air President Dan Wolf on right said at today's ceremony, "This cross-country trip on behalf of the humpback whales makes perfect sense for Cape Air."
He added, "Since most of our destinations are surrounded by water we have a unique relationship with the whale population. Many of our passengers can see the familiar water swirl beneath the plane and enjoy that moment when the whales jump out of the water.
"It is an unbelievable experience and one we wish to continue for many years to come."
We "whale watch" while other nations "whale kill"
Thousands of tourists choose Cape Cod as a whale watching destination each summer, but few realize that whales are still hunted in countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland.
"Unbelievably, Japan plans to kill 50 humpback whales this year like the ones pictured on this plane in addition to more than 1,200 other whales, said IFAW's Patrick Ramage. "We urge the U.S. government to take commercial whaling seriously and take a leadership role in expressing the strongest possible opposition to commercial whaling and so called
Last July, IFAW and Cape Air commissioned famed airbrush artist Jurek to paint the plane with humpback whales to bring whale protection to the public eye. "Cape Air is generously donating the use of the whale plane," said IFAW President Fred O'Regan. "This cross-country mission demonstrates continuing collaboration where together we are bringing whale protection to new heights."
IFAW is headquartered on Cape Cod and has 15 offices around the world, including one in Japan. It works around the globe to protect animals and their habitats and to creat a better world for animals and people. To learn how you can help protect whales and their marine environment, please visit Stop Whaling.