Chilean honored in Netherlands for her fight to save the whales

Environmentalist Bárbara Galletti was recognized for her work at the Cetacean Conservation Center, where she fights to protect endangered whale populations.

Southern Right Whales
Historically Southern Right Whales were abundant along the Chilean coast, but they are now one of the most threatened populations.

Chilean environmental leader Bárbara Galletti has been awarded the prestigious Future for Nature award in the Netherlands, one of the most important environment prizes in Europe.

Galletti is the founder and president of the Cetacean Conservation Center (CCC) in Chile, and works to protect the lives and habitat of Chile’s whales.

The Future for Nature is awarded each year to young leaders who work for nature conservation. At this year’s ceremony on April 6, there were more than 150 nominees from 60 countries. Along with Galletti, the Congo’s Corneille Ewango and Cameroon’s Ofiri Drori also won.

Galletti was recognized for the CCC’s success in classifying the Southern Right Whale as an endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The conservation center’s work was fundamental in proving that the Chilean population of this whale is composed of fewer than 50 individuals, with fewer than seven mature females.

Historically Southern Right Whales were abundant along the Chilean coast, but they are now one of the most threatened populations. Thanks to Galletti’s work, the species is now fully protected.

Galletti’s work for the Chilean population of Blue Whales was also recognized during the ceremony. Scientists and conservations previously knew very little about the Chilean population of these giant cetaceans, which are the largest animals in the world.

Chile has a good record on protecting whale populations. The government does not condone capturing whales for any reason, and upholds international treaties against whaling. And late last year, divers saved a whale tangled in fishing net.