News & Highlights


IUCN and Sakhalin Energy continue joint efforts to protect whales

IUCN, whale experts and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (Sakhalin Energy) are starting a second 5-year phase (2012-2016) of joint collaboration to protect the endangered population of western gray whales. Through this collaboration, a credible mechanism has been created in the last 5 years to reduce impacts of oil and gas development in the vicinity of Sakhalin Island, in northeastern Russia. …  

09 Jan 2012 | News story

Tail fin of Western Gray Whale

Endangered whales are crossing the Pacific

Two female western gray whales, Agent and Varvara, left the coast of Russia late last year and are now half-way across the Gulf of Alaska. For the second consecutive year, an international team of scientists successfully tagged endangered whales off Sakhalin Island and the team is now tracking the animals via satellite. …  

09 Jan 2012 | News story

Whale photograph

Following Flex - the western gray whale

Meet Flex. Flex belongs to the highly threatened population of western gray whales. He has been tagged by satellite and tracked by scientists in the hope to discover the migration routes of the species and ways to better protect it from threats such as accidental entanglement in fishing gear, underwater noise and exposure to spilled oil. …  

02 May 2011 | News story

Western gray whale

Western gray whale makes unexpected journey

In October 2010, a team of scientists from Russia and the United States satellite tagged a western gray whale off Sakhalin Island, Russia. This is the first individual from the Critically Endangered western gray whale population to be tagged and tracked using telemetry. This whale, nicknamed Flex by researchers, has now been successfully tracked for over four months, revealing its long and unexpected migration route. …  

17 Feb 2011 | News story


New oil platform off Sakhalin – whale scientists will have a say

The oil and gas company Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (Sakhalin Energy) announced on December 4th its intention to begin planning for construction of a third offshore oil and gas platform in the Piltun-Astokh field along the coast of Sakhalin Island, eastern Russia. As this platform would be located near the primary feeding ground of the endangered western gray whale population, Sakhalin Energy requested the advice of an independent panel of scientists, convened by IUCN, to minimize risks to the whale population. …  

07 Jan 2011 | News story

Western Gray Whale

International scientists track endangered whale to discover breeding grounds

A team of scientists from Russia and the United States has successfully tagged and is tracking by satellite an individual from one of the world’s most endangered whale populations – a western gray whale - off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island. IUCN has been involved in the tagging and tracking process, providing scientific advice and logistical support. …  

02 Dec 2010 | News story

Whale photo

Saving western gray whales: Ask your questions before 6 December!

Business has joined forces with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to protect the critically endangered western gray whale population. You are invited to send us your questions on this unique collaboration to save the whales. …  

26 Nov 2010 | News story
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Gray whale

Endangered whales at risk from rush to exploit offshore oil and gas in Russian Far East

In 1974 the western North Pacific population of gray whales was thought to be extinct. Thankfully, to quote Mark Twain, news of its demise was “exaggerated” but sadly, not “greatly exaggerated”. Today, a slowly growing population, numbering perhaps 130, visits the northeastern coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island each summer to feed. This population is imminently threatened unless the Russian Government postpones a planned seismic survey. …  

03 Aug 2010 | Article
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Tail fin of Western Gray Whale

IWC greatly concerned about Russian oil exploration impacts on Western Gray Whales

At the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco, scientists warned that a seismic survey planned off Sakhalin Island by the Russian petroleum company Rosneft could seriously threaten the critically endangered Western Gray Whale population. 

25 Jun 2010 | News story

Breaching gray whale

Seismic threat to Critically Endangered whales

A seismic survey planned by the Russian petroleum company Rosneft in summer 2010 poses a major threat to the Critically Endangered Western Gray Whale population. In a letter to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Julia Marton-Lefèvre, urges the Russian government to intervene to postpone the seismic survey and prevent a serious setback for animal conservation.   …  

24 May 2010 | International news release