Project Jonah is a registered charity that exists for one simple reason – helping marine mammals. Our vision is to create a world where these animals are respected and protected.
Our strength comes from our volunteers
Our volunteers consist of everyday Kiwis that give up their time to help marine mammals through our rescue, action and protection programs. Whether they’re picking up litter on beaches or getting hands on in rescuing stranded whales, they’re out there helping. Whatever the weather.
We’re a New Zealand organisation, with a distinct flavour and feel. We pride ourselves on being passionate, honest, open and down to earth – things that Kiwis are well known for, both here and overseas.
As a voluntary organisation we need to do a lot with a little. With our distant location we’ve had to develop unique and better ways of getting things done. We’ve pioneered whale rescue techniques, and have shared this technology and expertise with the rest of the world. Much of our work comes from a practical ‘let’s just do it’ approach.
At the heart of Project Jonah is a passionate belief that caring about marine mammals is simply the right thing to do. We care about the welfare of these animals; their suffering and their needs. And though we make decisions using our heads, we do what we do because our hearts are connected with this absolutely vital work.
We believe that both animals and people matter. Whilst the animals are central to what we do, it’s people that make our work possible. New Zealand can lead the world in marine mammal welfare and protection. Your help puts us closer to that goal.
In 1974 Project Jonah began the anti-whaling movement in New Zealand. Our rally call to ‘save the whales’ was embraced by ‘kiwis’ from all walks of life and in 1975 the New Zealand Government took its first steps against whaling by announcing an import ban on all whale products.
Fuelled by this victory, we then got stuck into a much wider campaign; to encourage the New Zealand Government to return to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), not to hunt whales, but to defend them. In 1976 New Zealand returned to the IWC – where today they remain one of the most vocal advocates for whale conservation in the world.
Project Jonah has, and always will be, a grassroots charity. By engaging ordinary people in our work we have achieved extraordinary things.
- We helped develop the 1978 Marine Mammal Protection Act, the first of its kind in New Zealand.
- We campaigned against the keeping of dolphins in captivity and stopped Napier Marineland from capturing and holding more marine mammals.
- We designed the world’s first whale floatation rescue device. Our Inflatable Pontoons are used around the world and have helped rescue thousands of stranded whales.
- We provided thousands of volunteers with the skills to rescue stranded dolphins and whales. We are the only national voluntary group in New Zealand that can effectively help marine mammals in distress. Through this network thousands of animals have been saved.
Together we will continue to take action to protect these animals and the oceans they call home.
Our Purpose & Goals
Marine mammals face many threats. Whilst many of these problems need long-term solutions, we’re here for the long run and are dedicated to being part of the solutions. These include:
At Project Jonah we look beyond the conservation of a species to the welfare of individual marine mammals. We believe these animals have a right to live free from suffering, and that as humans we should extend our circle of compassion to them.
Single Use Plastics
Project Jonah believes that wherever they are used in the making of films or television programmes, marine mammals must not be caused any suffering, nor be portrayed in a manner demeaning to their species.
Where the taking and / or keeping of marine mammals is still permitted, Project Jonah believes that this should be strictly limited under licence, and controlled using the highest animal welfare standards.
Project Jonah is absolutely opposed to the taking and killing of marine mammals for purposes not essential to human safety and security or the welfare of the animals.
Project Jonah is opposed to the commercial slaughter of marine mammals for their meat, blubber, fur or skins. It considers it morally indefensible to subject animals to suffering and death, in particular, for fur or skin products, which are non-essential luxury goods.
Project Jonah is opposed to exhibitions or presentations of marine mammals in zoological collections, marine parks, circuses and travelling menageries. Project Jonah has serious reservations about the educational value of these exhibitions, and therefore does not consider that claims for the ‘educational value’ of these can be justified.
Project Jonah believes that marine mammals should not be kept in captivity unless they form part of a valid welfare and / or conservation programme, the objective of which is the eventual rehabilitation and release of these animals back to the wild, and the rehabilitation of these animals in a semi-natural (wild) environment which meets their physiological and behavioural needs.
Project Jonah accepts that some indigenous communities may kill marine mammals for non-commercial reasons, for their meat, blubber, fur or skin, where this is an essential part of survival. Project Jonah advocates that in such cases, every effort be made to kill these animals instantaneously, or render them instantaneously unconscious and insensible to pain until death supervenes.
Project Jonah accepts that the humane destruction of sick, injured or diseased marine mammals is sometimes necessary. Project Jonah therefore advocates that these animals be killed by a method which has been determined to be both painless and effective and which is administered by responsible and properly trained individuals.
Project Jonah is concerned with wider conservation issues and deplores environmental changes induced by human activity that affect the balance of nature. Project Jonah therefore seeks to ensure that the welfare of marine mammals is actively considered in connection with such activities.
Project Jonah recognises that the dealing in, and smuggling of, marine mammals or marine mammal products causes both individual suffering and a direct pressure on species survival and is therefore opposed to any such practice which could pose a threat to the welfare of any marine mammal and consequently the survival of any species.