~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 15 May 98 11:55:00 GMT From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Conservationists urge action t Conservationists urge action to save whale habitat LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - A leading animal rights group on Thursday urged the International Whaling Commission to undertake a full-scale overhaul of whale and dolphin conservation. The Environmental Investigation Agency said this should extend protection to all species and tackle the ecological problems facing the oceans where they live. It said the IWC had concentrated on banning whale hunting and had failed to tackle pollution, industrial fisheries, climate change and ozone depletion. These factors were thought to have caused a dramatic reduction in whale populations in recent years, the EIA said in a statement issued ahead of the IWC's annual meeting, to be be held in Oman from May 16-20. "IWC protection has saved tens of thousands of whales, but 68 species are unprotected and some face imminent extinction," said EIA campaign director Steve Trent. "In its 50th anniversary year and in United Nations Year of the Oceans, the IWC must look to the future and extend protection to all whales, dolphins and porpoises." He added: "Saving whales in the 21st century will be about habitat as well as hunting. We need a new vision for the IWC." The EIA, which has offices in London and Washington, said large numbers of small cetaceans were being killed in an unregulated manner. Each year, more than 1,000 pilot whales and hundreds of dolphins and porpoises are killed in the Danish-owned Faroe Islands. At least 15,000 Dall's porpoises and hundreds of endangered striped dolphins are killed off Japan. More than 600 beluga whales, whose numbers have fallen by 60 percent in the past 12 years, are killed by Greenland hunters, the EIA said.