The Maori King wants whales to have the same rights as humans

The Maori King wants whales to have the same rights as humans

New Zealand's Maori king called on Thursday for whales to have the same legal rights as humans, including the right to live in a healthy environment. Conservation NGO WWF estimates that six out of 13 whale species are at risk of extinction.

The Maori King of New Zealand, the country that has recognized the river as a living entity, on Thursday called for whales to be given legal rights similar to those enjoyed by humans, to protect the vulnerable marine species. Kiingi Tuheitia Pootatau te Wherowhero VII called for cetaceans to be given the right to live in a healthy environment, in order to allow their numbers to recover.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye”

“The song of our ancestors has weakened and their environment is threatened, which is why we must act now,” King Al-Tahiti said in a statement. In 2017, New Zealand granted legal personality to Mount Taranaki and the Wanganui River, which Māori consider to be their ancestors and have special spiritual significance to them. This situation has since been used to slow down or cancel many development projects and require those concerned to consult with local residents.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye,” Grand Chief Travel Tou Ariki said. “Whales play a vital role in the health of the entire ocean ecosystem, and their decline is disrupting the delicate balance that supports all life in Te Moana (the sea, editor’s note).” “We must act urgently to protect these magnificent creatures before it is too late,” he insists.

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The Maori, an indigenous Polynesian people, represent 17% of New Zealand's population, or about 900,000 people. The rare intervention by King Tuhetia, also signed by Cook Islands tribal leader Travel Tu Ariki, calls for better consideration of indigenous peoples' knowledge through science, with the aim of arriving at a “more holistic approach” to protecting whales. . Currently, six out of 13 whale species are classified as “vulnerable” or vulnerable, according to the environmental NGO WWF.

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