If you’ve ever reported sightings to us before, you’ve likely come across our webform, hosted on our wildwhales.org website. Although functional, the aging webform had one major drawback. Unlike reports submitted via the WhaleReport mobile app, any reports submitted on the webform would NOT generate an alert in the WhaleReport Alert System (WRAS). The reports were still extremely valuable for our conservation-based research, but it meant that approximately 15% of our reports were not reaching their full potential by also alerting large ships to the presence of whales. Something had to be done!
With funding from the Government of Canada we created a web version of our popular WhaleReport app! Now, when you report your real-time whale sightings on the web at wildwhales.org/sightings, commercial mariners in your area will be immediately alerted to the presence of the whales and will be able to reduce the risk of ship strike or disturbance by slowing down, altering course, or turning off their sounders. The web app can be shared on the websites of our other partner organizations, creating an even stronger network of observers throughout the coast.
Just 2 minutes of your time helps to protect the whales in our waters!
Here’s how to use the new web app:
- The first time you go to the page, it will ask for your details*. If you are on your personal computer, you can ask the browser to store your information so that you only need to enter this information once. If you are on a public computer, you can ask that your personal details not be saved.
- To make a report, click on “Report Sightings” and fill out the fields as indicated. In the location section, you can either select the location of the animal(s) by moving the icon around the map or you can enter the coordinates manually by clicking the button on the right-hand corner of the screen. If your current location is not shown on the map, you may need to check your browser permissions. Fill out the other details of the report and press submit. You can always go back and view or edit your reports at a later date by clicking on “View/Edit Reports” on the home screen. For more information, please refer to the Tutorial section in the web app menu.
- Other cool features on the web app include:
- Information on how to report dead or distressed animals, plus a link to the Mariners Guide to Reporting Entanglements in Western Canada
- A species ID guide
- A list of the Marine Mammal Regulations and Guidelines in both Washington State and British Columbia
- A link to our blog for the most recent whale news
We appreciate your patience and support as we create new technologies to further our research and help protect at-risk cetaceans. Each sighting report is incredibly valuable and contributes to our database of over 130,000 sightings spanning 50+ years. We contribute data to approximately 30 research projects annually to monitor the distribution and abundance of cetaceans in BC and assess the impact of vessel disturbance, prey availability, pollution, climate change, and more! If you have any questions, or you would like to give us some feedback on the new web app, please email [email protected].