Can you feed the whales?

An orca - also known as a killer whale is swimming in calm waters near Reykjavik, Iceland. Its blow as it breathes out can be clearly seen, and it is unfazed by the whale watching yacht that the photo is taken from.

by Lucky Byfleet

The short answer to this is no. You cannot feed the whales. Feeding whales is not an ethical practice.

In fact, you shouldn’t feed any wild animals, not even the ones that come into your back garden – our back garden just happens to be the pristine ocean, and our animals are a little bigger than sparrows.

Firstly in a lot of places feeding whales is illegal, with huge fines charged to offenders such as the Marine Biologist Nancy Black who runs Monterey Bay Whale Watching, and should know better. But even if you are in a country where it isn’t illegal it is morally wrong. Not even a grey area. Please don’t. Here is why;

Why shouldn’t I feed the whales? You don’t have any food that they want.

When wild marine mammals are captured they have to be taught how to eat dead fish. It goes against their nature – they are more predators than scavengers. And the quantities our whales consume are huge – if you try to bring on half a ton of live krill and small fish we are going to have questions.

Feeding whales makes them accustomed to humans.

Wild animals have a natural wariness of humans, and that is a good thing. Firstly, humans may hurt them, whether intentionally or otherwise – we can pass diseases between us! But also if we feed wild animals they associate humans with food and therefore become more aggressive because of it.

Cage diving with great white sharks has made them more aggressive towards humans and boats. So far a killer whale has never killed a human in the wild, but if you continually associate humans and food it is only a matter of time.

So please don’t feed the whales. Don’t feed any wild animals!

“But (whatever wild animal you feel pity towards) looked hungry…”

Your empathy towards a wild animal is wonderful, important, and totally right in having. If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare please contact your local authorities. It may be totally normal for it to look bad – penguins look awful when they are molting for example, or if it is young its mother may not be far away but might abandon it because of your interference. Also, remember that the natural world is brutal. For instance, we LOVE our minke whales but in other oceans, they are hunted and killed by orca, which we also adore. Sometimes nature is rough.

humpback whale breaching not swallowing humans, do not feed the whales
No, you cannot and should not ever attempt to feed whales.

Hopefully, you can see that it is wrong to feed the whales, luckily we live in a place full of fish – so we can just sit back and watch the whales feeding themselves.

We go out whale watching on our superyachts most days.


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