Based on a true story surrounding the real-life events that occurred in October 1988, Big Miracle hits UK, European and US cinema screens in February recounting efforts to free three gray whales trapped in ice in Point Barrow, Alaska.
The film not only depicts the plight of the whales facing permanent entrapment and death in the ice flows, but also the impact that they have on those trying to rescue them. It also reminds us of the other threats whales face because of human activities; commercial whaling, entanglements in fishing gear, injury and death from collision with ocean traffic, noise and chemical pollution, depletion of food stocks due to overfishing, and the effects of climate change.
Cinema goers in the UK may also get the chance to see a short WDCS trailer advertisement before the film, which will be running in a selection of movie houses across the country.
Entrapment in ice is not as common as whale strandings on beaches in warmer parts of the world, but climate changes may mean it does become more frequent as ice breaks up causing traps or warmer water species to move north and, being unfamiliar with ice, get caught out.
Similar events where whales have become entrapped in sea ice have occurred since the events that inspired Big Miracle. Most recently, in northeastern Russia in the Chukotka region near the Bering Sea, over 100 beluga whales became trapped under thickening ice, relying upon a few small holes to breath air and survive.
Part of the film’s story involves the native Inupiat people and their continuing reliance on a tradition of hunting whales. Although WDCS opposes whaling, we acknowledge that native peoples in many parts of the world continue to hunt whales for cultural and other subsistence needs. However, we strive toward alternatives to killing any whale.
WDCS works to protect all whales but they need your help, too. Donate now and join WDCS!