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Founded 1977

Save The Whales' purpose is to educate children

and adults about marine mammals, their

environment and their preservation.  
New Whale "Discovered"     
The Karasu: A Whale Species No One Has Seen Alive
 By Rebecca Segal

It's hard to imagine the discovery of a new whale species in 2016. The truth is, it has been seen, though not officially. The species of beaked whale was first reported around 70 years ago by Japanese whalers in the Hokkaido, Japan area. Since then there have only been brief sightings of the elusive cetacean. In 2014, a strange-looking whale that appeared to be a Baird's whale washed up on George Island, which is close to Alaska. This was the beginning a journey that would lead to the discovery of an entirely new species of whale.

What is a Beaked Whale?
Beaked whales are among the shyest of whale species, and are
not often seen. The largest, the Baird's, can grow up to 42 feet long while the smallest, the pygmy, only grows up to 12 feet long. Part of  the family  Ziphiidae, there are 22 known species. As the largest family of Cetaceans next to the dolphins, beaked whales are found all over the world from the north and south poles. Because they are such excellent divers, they are seldom seen and difficult to study. These whales are known to dive regularly to depths of 1600 feet. The longest recorded dive was more than 9800 feet and lasted for over two hours.
With their long snouts and sharp teeth, beaked whales prey primarily on squid, fish, and crustaceans. Unique to the species, they use suction to draw their prey into their mouths rather than using their teeth. A set of grooves in their throat expands when the whales feed, which increases suction and drags the prey in.

Is This Whale Really a New Species?
The beaked whale that washed up on George Island in 2014  was discovered by a biology teacher. The remains were sent to experts, who determined that the whale's remains were an as yet unknown species of beaked whale. The whale was originally believed to be a Baird's whale, but it was too small and its skin too dark. This was determined through DNA testing against 178 similar samples of DNA. Through this process, a new species of beaked whale was discovered. 
Because this new species is so elusive and so little is known about it, there has never been a confirmed live sighting.  Over the last 70 or so years, Japanese whalers have spoken of these dark beaked whales, which they naked Karasu. Karasu means "raven" in Japanese. Their dark skin and sagging dorsal fins were difficult to spot against the murky waves. Since they were never at the surface for long, no one has ever been able to truly confirm the existence of these beaked whales until now.
The incredible discovery has launched a deep inquiry about this new whale. Its existence is proof that there is still an immense amount of knowledge to be gained from a world full of secrets.

Rebecca Segal is our guest contributor for the second month in a row. She may be reached at

   Recent Incidents of Humpbacks
Fighting Back Against Orcas
People have been fascinated by the news of humpback whales saving seals and smaller whales from orcas. We reported in 2009 about a seal in Antarctica that had been knocked into the water by orca hunting techiniques. The orcas swim in a straight line toward an ice floe and at the last minute dive underneath. With a flick of their tails the seal is dumped into the water. But in this case, a nearby humpback rose out of water and encircled the seal with its flippers.  As it started to slide, the humpback used its flippers to keep the seal in place on its belly and kept it there until the orcas left for better hunting grounds.
Lately there has been a spate of these seeming rescues. A gray whale became separated from its mother and orcas began to attack, until humpback whales formed a barrier around the frightened calf.

Why Are the Humpbacks Displaying This Altruistic Behavior

Robert Pitman is the person who has done the most research on this behavior.  He has found more than 100 instances of humpbacks saving other animals by 54 different researchers between 1961 and 2012. 
What he found is fascinating.
Eleven percent involved humpbacks protecting their own calves, and  eighty-nine percent involved protecting seals, sea lions and gray whale calves.
Humpbacks will always try and save their own pod members but they will go out of their way to protect other species. There have been documented instances of dolphins and whales rescuing people.  You can view it on our website.


We are very excited about our blow-up whale and don't know where it will make its first public appearance. It still needs several weeks to complete.  It will be named "Dee, the Beautiful Whale."

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Maris  Sidenstecker I 

Executive Director, Save The Whales 

501(c)(3) nonprofit organization  

Save The Whales Great NonProfits

  Voted Top-Rated NonProfit  



Children in the Monterey Bay-Santa Cruz County area will soon have the opportunity to go inside the belly of a whale. The 43-foot humpback whale is being  constructed in Minnesota by Landmark Creations. Thanks to contributions by Dannie (Dee) McMillan, Monterey Gives!, Eva Ulreich and everyone who made the purchase of this whale possible.

Inside it will show heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, baleen and its tongue. It can hold up to 15 children at a time.

This is an exciting addition to our classes on marine life, and emphasizes the impact of trash on these animals.

Save The Whales
Receives Major Grant

T hrough a competitive grant process, Save The Whales is the recipient of a federal grant from the NOAA B-WET program. The funds will actively engage 450 5th-6th students from Salinas in a nine-month prog ram that will emphasize how pollution and litter from streets (that enter storm drains) can pollute creeks, rivers and the ocean. Even if you do not live by the ocean, human activities on land have a direct connection to waterways. 

The students will collect, sort and analyze litter picked up on their school campus. They will sort recyclables from trash. They will learn how to reduce waste at home, in the schools, and how they can make a difference.
They will make and enter their artwork in the NOAA Marine Debris art contest. They will have field trips to the beach to engage in educational activities, as well as creek restoration by their school. This part of the program will be led by Return of The Natives, a partner on the project.  
Our goal is to inspire the students to care for the environment and the ocean. This has been the mission of Save The Whales since 1979. We have educated over 305,000 school children with science based hands-on programs. 
Save The Whales

Snail Mail too!
Checks are welcome.    

Save The Whales

1192 Waring St.
Seaside CA 93955 

Humpback Fluke