Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom! WDCS and its supporters have contributed to a number of important successes for orca conservation over the years, including the following:
- Following a long-running campaign by WDCS colleagues in Argentina, in November 1998, legislation was passed to ban the capture of orcas in Argentine waters.
- A groundswell of public sympathy and efforts by conservation groups including WDCS have meant that no orcas have been captured in Icelandic waters since 1989.
- In 1998, Keiko, the Free Willy whale, arrived in Iceland for rehabilitation following many years in captivity. In 2002, he made a five-week, unsupervised journey of freedom across the Atlantic between Iceland and Norway.
- WDCS contributed extensive research and data-gathering towards the adoption of Australia's proposal to list orcas on the Convention on Migratory Species' Appendix II in 2002.
- In 2008, WDCS orca adopters were instrumental, through fundraising and letter writing, in the removal of a diesel fuel tanker by the Canadian government, from the Robson Bight ecological reserve in British Columbia. The money raised was used by Orcalab for long term monitoring of the reserve as the Federal Government picked up the tab for the actual recovery of the tanker.
- The Far East Russia Orca Project, funded and supported by WDCS, has been studying orcas in Russian waters since 2000, gathering vital data on little-known orca populations and highlighting their importance in Russian and international scientific fora. No orcas have been captured here since 2003 – the year two animals died – one in the nets and one soon after in a holding facility.