WhaleFest’s celebrity speakers will gather at Brighton beach’s symbolic ‘Whale Graveyard’ at 10.30am on Sat 14 Mar, marking the opening of the fourth annual WhaleFest event
Natural history TV presenter, adventurer and author, Steve Backshall; investigative journalist and broadcaster, Donal MacIntyre; and adventurer and broadcaster, Monty Halls will join big names from the wildlife world at the evnt. These include Will Travers OBE, President of the Born Free Foundation; former orca trainer and contributor to the film ‘Blackfish, John Hargrove and star of the academy award winning documentary, The Cove, Ric O’Barry. They will all be paying their respects to the whales, dolphins and porpoises which have died in captivity since 1930, before taking to one of the event’s three stages to entertain the capacity crowds.
The stunning ‘Whale Graveyard – Setting Captive Spirits Free’, which was unveiled this week, is a 20m representation of a mother orca and her calf made from hundreds of individual black and white crosses. Breath-taking and poignant, it has already been drawing the crowds, and has attracted interest from all over the world through the power of social media.
WhaleFest’s Director, Ian Rowlands, described the Whale Graveyard as “awesome”, adding: “The scale and shape of the whales, set against the ruins of the West Pier makes it a remarkable sight to see. There’s a great sombre feel – it does look like a graveyard, but there’s also a sense of turning tides – that having these animals in captivity should be part of our past, NOT part of our futures.
“We hope that visitors to the main WhaleFest event will take the time to visit the Whale Graveyard, share their thoughts on the ‘Whaling Wall’ and honour the spirits of the animals which died in captivity, robbed of their chance to live wild and free.”
WhaleFest 2015 is being held in partnership with the Born Free Foundation and the World Cetacean Alliance, and takes place at the Brighton Centre on Sat 14 – Sunday 15t Mar.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Taking action worldwide the organization aims to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos, aiming to rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.
Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat. By working with local communities, they help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Their high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide.
Those who can’t make it to Whalefest can still show their support to the #wildandfree campaign by uploading their ‘Whalefie’ (or whale Selfie) to Twitter of Facebook and joining stars including Virginia McKenna, Michaela Strachan, Ricky Gervais, Peter Andre, Vic Reeves, Amanda Holden and James Morrison, who have pledged their support to the cause.