Candidate Site: Vancouver Island North

Vancouver Island North is the habitat of eight species of cetacean and is a global trendsetter for whale research, responsible whale watching and conservation. For nearly half a century, whales have played a significant role in this area in the development of community, conservation, commerce, policy, science and the arts. The site includes the traditional territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, whose connection to the Max’inux or killer whale can be traced back through through art, song and dance and verbal history.


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Candidate Site: Hervey Bay, Australia

Commonly referred to as Australia’s premier whale watching site, Hervey Bay is an internationally significant whale new-born calf nursery – where whales prepare their young for the long migration back to Antarctic waters. In celebration of the whale season, the Hervey Bay community plays host to the annual Oceans Festival which includes an illumination parade, a paddle out for whales and a seafood festival.


Candidate Site: Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Located on a key whale migration route, Marlborough Sounds is a fantastic location for spotting various whales, as well as five dolphin species. The site has transitioned from a history of whaling to conservation, with a strong desire to preserve the area as cetacean populations are on the rise again. In April 2018, the construction of a full-sized, 15m humpback whale replica will begin, located nearby the port, to help the Sounds communicate its history and to spread a global conservation message.


Candidate Site: Mosaic Jurubatiba, Brazil

The Mosaic Jurubatiba includes the Jurubatiba National Park as well as a series of key conservation sites along the central-north coast of the Rio de Janerio state. One of the sites main drives for becoming a WHS, it to ensure the currently vulnerable Franciscana Dolphins, are not driven to extinction. The area is also an important habitat for the data deficient Guiana Dolphins and regularly sees Humpback whales in the area. With strong conservation units already in place, the Jurubatiba candidate site is actively working to preserve their local species whilst fulfilling several other WHS criteria.


Candidate Site: The Bluff, Durban, South Africa

The Bluff, Durban, South Africa, includes seven suburbs as well as the rich and biologically productive coastal areas of the Indian Ocean which surround The Bluff. Once home to one of the largest whaling stations in the world, The Bluff has evolved into an area which celebrates its cetacean diversity through a ‘Welcoming of the Whales’ festival, a guided whale watching trail, offshore whale watches, and education and outreach through promoting ecotourism. The area is an important migratory route for humpback whales, including mother/calf pairs moving between northern calving grounds and southern feeding regions.

Candidate Site: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

The Osa Peninsula is a candidate Whale Heritage Site on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This is a virtual marine playground, with both Northern and Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales present (this does not occur anywhere else in the world). In addition, the area is known for MEGA pods of Spotted Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins (a sub species found only here), Common Dolphins, and Bottlenose Dolphins as well as Rough-toothed Dolphins, False Killer Whales, Fin, Sei and Bryde’s Whales and the occasional visiting Orca. Other marine life includes sea turtles, Whale Sharks, and so much more!