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South Africa hosts two workshops on cetacean welfare

Scientists, policy makers, veterinarians and conservation practitioners are gathering to share expertise and information on important aspects of cetacean welfare.  As part of the IWC Welfare Action Plan, two back-to-back workshops will bring together thirty five stakeholders from 14 different countries. 

A wide range of issues have the potential to impact on the welfare of cetaceans.  The IWC has coordinated work to improve the humaneness of whaling operations since 1959 but the number of welfare threats has grown to include entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris, ship strike, whalewatching and pollution. 

The first of the South Africa workshops has a policy focus. It aims to conduct a global stock-take on current knowledge of cetacean welfare issues in order to identify priority issues where management advice or further research is required.

Cetacean stranding will be covered by the second workshop.  This will build on progress made by earlier workshops and will also use the successful model of the IWC Entanglement Response Network, sharing best practice and experience to develop effective response capacity in countries where capability is currently limited.  The workshop aims to produce a practical framework for handling cetacean strandings, which is tiered and flexible so that it can be applied globally, in the widest possible range of circumstances.

The primary costs of the workshop will be met by voluntary contributions from the UK Government and World Animal Protection.  The workshop will run from 3-6 May at Skukza Rest Camp, Kruger National Park. 

To read more about cetacean strandings click here.