Save the Whales – One Sperm at a Time

Japan, infamously, negotiates the rights to slaughter whales for food and resources. “Japan without whales is like a nun without a bible,” Emperor Hirohito once famously said.

But now there is a new movement which has attracted the imagination of marine biologists, environmental agencies and Mcdonilds burger restaurants. The movement called A Sperm for a Sperm is the brainchild of Aiko Osaka, professor of genetics at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Her fascination with collecting sperm of endangered animals came after watching a documentary on the  American Seed and Sperm Repository in Washington. Her proud parents recently claimed how her social life suffered as she immersed herself in her work. She is now happily married.

The repository makes sure plants and animals will never go extinct by collecting the ‘building blocks of life’. The Royal Egg Repository is located in West Bromwich, UK. the idea of having two halves of the life-making union on either side of the Atlantic makes sure accidents never happen.

The tour we recommend starts at the university where Osaka will give you a guided tour of her lab and then take you to the giant vats filled with ‘seeds of life’. Her pet project is whales and she has big plans to save them.

This leads us to the second and frankly amazingly thrilling part of our tour.

The extraction team charged is charged with getting sizeable quantities of whale sperm. They have to meet a monthly quota and travel the seas. Ironically the campaign has focused on sperm whales. The extraction team goes to great lengths not to injure the whales. They delicately ‘tickle’ the whale while blasting the mating call of a female from a waterproof stereo hi-fi system. Then they sensitively put a collection sack over the tip of whale’s phallus, while five other gently rub. A high pressure blast which, if the diver is not tethered can blast him two miles out to sea, signifies extraction has been successful.

The whole process can be seen from the university’s submarine.

The tour finishes in the gift shop where you can buy a video of the extraction process, bottled whale sperm which we are told is great with rice noodles and chicken, and full size posters of whales penises which double as a measure to accurately and lovingly record your children’s height year on year. Hence the Japanese saying ‘one day I want to be a tall as a whale’s penis’.

Tours can be booked through

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