Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rerun: Save the Whales of Afghanistan*

I wrote this while I was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan after a lengthy discussion with some of the other staff officers about all of the many ways that charitable organizations were stupidly squandering money and manpower on frivolous projects throughout the country.  I still consider it one of my greatest hits.  Enjoy...

Over three decades of war have wrought death and destruction across the nation, but nowhere are its effects more apparent than among the Afghan whale population. Their numbers have diminished so much that nowadays most people will tell you that they don't even exist. At the rate they’re being killed today, this common misconception could become a cold prophetic truth as the last species of Afghan whales become extinct by 2025.

In prehistoric Afghanistan, the nomadic Dirkadurka tribes would follow the whale herds across the desert, hunting them for sustenance and living in harmony with nature. But as the world's great empires began to vie for power in the region, foreign invaders with more devastating weapons began to harvest the whales and even kill them for sport.

A trio of British Army officers posed atop a trophy-sized Kandahar Humpback Whale bull, circa 1881.

Now, as the centuries have passed, the detrimental effects of prolonged warfare, poaching, widespread deforestation, soil erosion, agriculture, and over-grazing have decimated these burrowing monuments to graceful Nature.

Here we see a rare photo of "Kandy," the world's most famous Kandahar Humpback, in mid-broach:

Once great herds of beautiful creatures like her would migrate across the deserts of Kandahar, Helmand, and Nimruz, stretching as far as the eye could see. In recent decades these battle-scarred regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border see fewer and fewer new calves every year. Now she is one of only seventeen alive in the wild today, and there are too few remaining for there to be any hope of repopulating the species.
Click here to listen to her soulful, haunting song.

In 1992, Afghan whalers killed the last Oruzgan Long-Finned Whale the world ever saw:

She was murdered while carrying an unborn calf. Killed only for her ambergris, which would be sold on the black market for use in perfume. Despite being one of the earliest to be placed on the endangered species list, under the lawless Taliban regime poachers were free to kill as many as they liked. Now they are only a memory, the stuff of local legend and the occasional rare photograph.

Despite their impending extinction, the local government has no plans to ban the hunting of whales in Afghanistan. Plus, even as their prey continues to diminish in numbers, Afghan whalers are constantly developing more effective tools to massacre them. Without your help, there will be no end to the carnage.

A group of Pashtun whale poachers (left) sets out for their early-morning hunt. Vehicle-mounted harpoon guns like that shown at right have killed countless whales in the unregulated wilds of Afghanistan.

The Hindu Kush Narwhal, the smallest species of Afghan whale, was completely wiped out as recently as 1997. They were killed for their luxurious hides and their tusks which were believed to have powerful aphrodisiac effects. What finally spelled their ultimate doom however, was the popularity of Dorsal soup in eastern Asian countries. It took five of these peaceful, defenseless animals to make just one quart. Now all that remains are a few scattered bones in the heights of the Hindu Kush Mountain Range.

An anonymous Taliban fighter seated alongside some Hindu Kush Narwhal vertebrae near the Khyber Pass. While they were still alive, these animals were so reclusive that they were never photographed. Now they will never be seen again.
It's not too late to save what's left of the Afghan whales. Every dollar brings us closer to our goal of building the Chakhansur Whale Reservation, a vast expanse of open terrain in the Nimruz Province where Afghan whales will once again be able to roam, free from the predations of Man. There we can continue research to benefit the Afghan whales and educate the world.
To make a donation and help preserve a piece of this gentle giant's natural habitat*, click here:

With your donation, we can ensure that these amazing animals don't become a thing of the past.

An Afghan National Police officer overlooking the sun-bleached skeleton of a Kandahar Humpback whale from his hilltop checkpoint.

*In case you haven't figured it out, this entire post is satirical. While it is potentially in poor taste, it's intended to be funny. There are no whales in Afghanistan. If you're foolish enough to actually donate to this cause, I'll gladly relieve you of your money. Just know that whatever you donate will go directly into my pocket and I will be personally spending it as wastefully and frivolously as possible. Your donations are NOT tax-deductible.


  1. Replies
    1. I think that's the point...
      ("When My Brain Leaks, the Drops Drip Here.")

  2. i have donated 3.2 million $ for saving Kandahar Humpback.
    Keep it up.

  3. thts the most stupid thing i have ever seen

  4. Thank you for telling the world about this madness! THIS HAS TO STOP NOW!

  5. Theres no such thing as whales in Afghanistan..., and there arent any sea's or beaches .. Its just land.., there are rivers and lakes but not where whales can stay..

  6. Theres no such thing as whales in Afghanistan, theres no sea and no beaches, these pictures are computerised.... See on google map fir your selves, there's no sea or water around Afghanistan!