Another year marked by the pandemic is coming to an end. We look back at 2021 and ahead to new opportunities
As we look back at 2021, we realise that the pandemic also had some positive effects on whales. There was less noise underwater as passenger and freight traffic were greatly reduced. Whales and dolphins could now communicate less disturbed with less noise. We only wish this change could be permanent.
The problem of uncontrolled increase in plastic littering in the oceans and overexploitation of nature remains. Without environmental protection work documenting this, its extent is more difficult to assess and measure. This is only one of the many reasons why we hope to resume our work as soon as possible.
What was possible for Ocean Sounds in 2021 despite the pandemic?
This year it was relatively quiet at Ocean Sounds. Our volunteers had to reduce their work because of personal restrictions caused by Coronavirus. Nevertheless, we were able to maintain existing projects as far as possible, even deepen some and establish new collaborations:
Our project in Raja Ampat, Indonesia
We were not able to enter the country for the past two years. However, we worked on data collected from there. We advanced the photo identification of the various whales such as sperm and Bryde’s whales. Thus, when we come back next year it will be possible for us to recognise the animals. The photos allow us to tell if whales are still there and maybe even have offspring.
Our work in Raja will be with a local organisation. This means we can expand our activity beyond whale protection to include education and health. First and foremost it is important that we are allowed to enter the county and continue to build up Ocean Sounds on site. Then we can send you active news from this project again.
Other projects we have done since the pandemic
HOW IS THE WATER: Our partners and friends from Cyan Planet published their new project “How is the Water”, for which we contributed sounds (https://www.cyanplanet.org/how-is-the-water). “How is the Water” is a virtual ocean simulation and game for mobile devices, PCs and virtual reality. You can discover fascinating marine environments and marine animals to better understand this world. You’ll also experience and recognise the dangers for this ecosystem. It is an active step for the protection of dolphins and whales.
EARTH CHOIR KIDS: We (Ocean Sounds) support “Earth Choir Kids. Our voices for the climate” includes our whale and sea sounds. This is so that children can get to know and sing the voices of whales and dolphins. It means we can give these animals and the sea a voice together (https://earth-choir-kids.com)!
THEATRE GROUP “MIENENSPIEL”: We contributed sound files to a live radio play by the theatre group “Mienenspiel”. This live radio play revolved around the conservation of whales and was performed on 10.08.2021 in Mainz, and our sounds could be heard in this play! The theatre group uses the artistic medium to present the history of the protecting whales and at the same time to appeal for an active protection of marine mammals. https://mienenspiel.org/html/operation-ahab.html
Lectures and presentations
Despite the prevailing restrictions of public life, we were also able to hold two lectures via an online format:
Ocean Sounds Lecture for members of the Rotary Club on April 28th, 2021: We were invited by the Rotary Club to give an informative talk at their club meeting on April 28th, 2021. Contents: Presentation of the association, main projects, then the keynote lecture on whales and sounds and finally environmental pollution.
Ocean Sounds lecture for club members on June 7th, 2021 with the aim of keeping the club connected despite the pandemic. Contents: Presentation of the association, main projects, then the keynote lecture on whales and sounds and finally environmental pollution.
This year we also supported several scientific and artistic projects at different universities and institutions with our technical expertise, scientific advice and also by contributing sounds. We have also worked on three large research proposals – on the one hand with the University of Trondheim in Norway, the Museum Aysen in Chile and with Coralive and the Deutsche Meeresstiftung eV – unfortunately we did not have the success we had hoped for, but we hope for better luck new year!
There is a lot to do. What do we plan for our next year?
Ocean Sounds in Norway
As every year, we are planning our field season in Norway from May to September 2022. Current information and updates from the field can be found at: www.oceansounds.no/blog.
Ocean Sounds in Raja Ampat
The project in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, will also continue as soon as the pandemic has calmed down and we can safely travel there again! We very much hope that this may even be possible between March to May 2022 – we will keep you up to date!
Ocean Sounds in Germany
In Germany we look forward to an exciting cooperation with the Landesmusikrat Berlin e.V.!
We were invited to the Berliner Chortreff (big meeting for all choirs every four years in Berlin) in summer 2022 to design and lead a workshop on the songs of whales together with WWF Germany. For their choir meeting next year they have chosen the whale as a symbolic animal in order to use their range to protect the whales at the same time. We look forward to working together and of course we really hope that the event can take place!
We are also planning to take part in the “World Oceans Day 2022 – Think globally, act locally” on June 8th, 2022 in Freiburg, more information will come soon!
A very special thank you to all our supporters this year
We hope you enjoyed our look back at 2021 and hope you can remain with us as we move forward.
We would like to thank you very much for your support and generous donations! Without you we couldn’t have continued!
We wish everyone a happy new year and that we can resume and advance our whale protection projects next year!
Your Ocean Sounds Team