Big Miracle Opens In The US
Based on a true story surrounding the real-life events that occurred in October 1988, Big Miracle represents the best of humanity in its collective efforts to save the individual lives of these whales as they faced permanent entrapment and death in the ice flows of northernmost Alaska.
The story takes place in the midst of the Cold War between the United States and Russia and a war between environmentalists and big business over the expansion of oil interests into protected Arctic habitat. These diverse backgrounds and interests make it all the more poignant that people pulled together to aid the whales’ return to the sea and is a story of the transformative power of these magnificent animals. Big Miracle is not only a story of the plight of this family of gray whales, but a story of their impact on the extended human family that came to their rescue.
Amidst the storyline of the rescue is the story of the Inupiat people and their continuing reliance on a tradition of hunting whales. Although WDCS opposes whaling, we acknowledge that native peoples in many parts of the world continue to hunt whales for subsistence purposes. We respect the differing cultural attitudes of aboriginal peoples towards whales, but strive toward alternatives to whaling worldwide.
While the film is set against the reality of aboriginal whaling in the Arctic, it also serves as a reminder of the other threats whales face because of human activities. Commercial whaling, entanglements in fishing gear, vessel strikes, noise and chemical pollution, and depletion of prey due to overfishing and an ever-changing ocean environment due to global climate change are a constant threat.
Arctic species are especially vulnerable to the acute environmental consequences of global warming where whales and other marine mammal species must adapt to dramatic shifts in sea ice formation and melting. Similar events where whales have become entrapped in sea ice have occurred since the events that inspired Big Miracle. Most recently, in northeastern Russia in the Chukotka region near the Bering Sea, reports suggested that over 100 beluga whales became trapped under thickening ice, relying upon a few small holes to breath air and survive. The frequency of these types of events are unknown, as they may occur undetected by human observers.
WDCS works to protect all whales but they need your help,too. Donate now to support the work of WDCS!
Related programme links:Strandings
Climate change and habitat degredation
Shipping and offshore industry
Killing and trade