PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – It was in August 1993 when Norfolk became the 47th city to cut the ribbon of a world-famous Wyland Whaling Wall.
“That was part of a 17-city tour of murals art and conservation from Portland, Maine to Key West, one in every state and one in (Washington), D.C.,” Robert Wyland said via Zoom from south Florida. “Even today, people see those murals and they look up and see those murals and they ask a lot of questions.”
Wyland, well-known by just his last name, is asking a lot of questions about a surge in strandings along the East Coast that have been linked to an uptick in activity in the shipping channels.
“These fast-moving ships, these cargo ships, and just with no concern for these great mammals of the sea, are killing them to extinction,” Wyland said.
In what sounds like something from a crime scene, the last whale to wash ashore in Virginia Beach, an endangered right whale, died from blunt-force trauma.
The construction of a dozen offshore wind farms from Massachusetts to Virginia Beach is also implicated as suspects in a recent report in the New York Times.
“If the politicians are watching this locally nationally and in Washington, D.C. tomorrow we need to have laws to protect these whales,” Wyland said. “We know where they go. We know where they migrate and these need to be protected areas.”
Wyland has painted 100 Whaling Walls across the globe. He told 10 on Your Side eventually all of them will fade, and so will the whales if we don’t act now.
“We have a short period of years to really create a sea change to be protectors of the ocean,” Wyland said, “instead of predators and all 8 billion of us can make a difference.”