Our Strategic Partnership with World Animal Protection


The World Cetacean Alliance is delighted to be working in partnership with World Animal Protection to further develop the Whale Heritage Sites (WHS) programme. Together we are two international charities that share a common vision for whales and dolphins involved in tourism:

“A world where cetaceans are only found in the wild, where they live in harmony with people and are experienced respectfully by a responsible and protective tourism industry.”

World Animal Protection

Both organisations are working together to develop and implement this vision. Working towards ending captivity and developing responsible alternatives, we are clearing the way for a responsible whale and dolphin watching industry that protects and facilitates experiencing cetaceans respectfully, in the wild. Tourists and travel companies will be able to choose these alternatives with confidence that they are responsible and authentic wildlife-friendly tourism experience.

Transitioning cetacean tourism from captivity to the wild


Through our joint vision, World Animal Protection and World Cetacean Alliance are exploring the potential of Whale Heritage Sites in places of joint strategic interest, focusing specifically on sites important for wild cetaceans and near captive facilities. To achieve this, World Animal Protection is playing a pivotal role by providing financial and technical support to enable the Whale Heritage Sites programme to develop in the following ways:

  • Management, consolidation and expansion of the Whale Heritage Sites programme at sites near captive facilities.
  • Use of a variety of communication mechanisms to build relationships with prospective, new and current WHS stakeholders.
  • Communicate and collaborate with key stakeholders, such as local authorities, businesses, organisations and relevant individuals involved in the management of the proposed WHS.
  • Provide on-going assistance, monitoring and engagement with each candidate site.
  • Manage the WHS certification process, focusing on standardization, efficiency and transparency.
  • Support and advise candidate sites going through the certification process, providing expert guidance to ensure that any final applications have the best possible chance of success for receiving WHS certification.
  • Work with key contacts and staff within WCA and the partner organisations to provide training when necessary on key aspects of certification, such as responsible marine wildlife viewing.

Size matters: A comparison between the size of a bottlenose dolphin’s home range in the wild ( the blue shape, using a conservative estimate of 100 sq km) and the largest identified sea pen for captive dolphins (the yellow speck inside the magnifying glass).’ Image courtesy of World Animal Protection. 

Our thanks

The World Cetacean Alliance is hugely grateful for the support and assistance being provided by World Animal Protection for a programme that brings together local communities alongside national and international organisations to showcase the highest quality form of responsible wildlife-friendly tourism and animal welfare in the wild. The Whale Heritage Sites programme will provide a long term tourism alternative to captivity in dolphinariums, with high standards of animal welfare and a quality customer experience.

 World Animal Protection and the World Cetacean Alliance will continue to offer Whale Heritage Sites as a portfolio option for tour operators wishing to transition away from captive cetacean entertainment, whilst benefitting from the economic opportunity created by responsible whale and dolphin watching tourism. World Animal Protection and the World Cetacean Alliance believe that Whale Heritage Sites show how tourism can have a respectful relationship with wild animals and still derive economic benefits, as opposed to being a driver of wildlife trade.