Monday, June 7, 2010

Good Bye And Good Luck

I began writing this blog a year ago and during that time, it has been read over 3,600 times by people living in 57 countries around the world; people like you who care about whales and dolphins. I sincerely appreciate your patronage but I must confess that I wish I could have reached many, many more of you. I suppose that with the catastrophes, corruption, and chaos that mankind is currently facing, the plight of whales and dolphins is just not that important. Therefore, I have decided to take a hiatus from writing this blog; quite frankly, I do not know if I will ever be back. In parting, I will leave you with a poem from my book, The Tempest’s Roar: it is a prayer for all those in peril on the sea, including the whales and dolphins with whom we share this planet; this tiny blue marble drifting silently through space that we call Earth but they know as Planet Ocean.

Oh Great And Restless Sea

Hear us oh great and restless sea,
oh wondrous ocean deep and wide.
Your boundaries all beings keep,
your storms and tempests we abide.
Pray let us pass in the days to come,
free from thy wrath, safe on thy tides.
That we may cross thy mighty plains,
and suffer not like those who died.
And in the end, with our journey done,
may we to thee simple sojourners be.
Once here in time and place, then gone,
from thee oh great and restless sea.

Take care all, perhaps one day we will meet again…

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Humans Are A Curious Lot

Four million years ago, when your ancestors first walked erect, you were herbivores. By that time, my ancestors, the earliest whales and dolphins, had been swimming through the oceans for over forty million years, and the interaction between our two species was minimal. Two million years later, you became hunter/warriors, running around on your two little feet, clubbing and stabbing to death anything and everything that walked or crawled on land, including your fellow man; but still the interaction between us was limited. Ten thousand years ago, the inevitable happened: you took your killing ways to sea and began hunting my kind, but your methods were primitive and posed no serious threat to us. Thus, for nearly four million years, we co-existed peacefully.
But all that changed in the early 17th century when you began whaling on a commercial scale, and by the 19th century, you had taken your predatory skills to a whole new level, literally slaughtering hundreds of thousands of my kind. For nearly four centuries, this butchery continued unabated, driving many of us to the edge of extinction; until finally in 1986, a caring majority of you decided to bring commercial whaling to an end…sort of. Tragically, some among you, those living in Japan, Iceland, and Norway, still believe that it is their God-given right, their cultural prerogative, to perpetuate the slaughter.
And yet, even as this brutal bloodlust continues, others among your kind work passionately to bring the killing to an end through brave acts on the high seas, proposals submitted to the International Whaling Commission, and legal action brought before the International Court of Justice. You humans are a curious lot; the same DNA that makes some of you cold-blooded killers, makes others peacemakers. And meanwhile, caught squarely in the middle, my kind watches, and waits, and hopes…

Monday, May 31, 2010

Marine Mammals In The Military

On this Memorial Day, it is appropriate to note that the United States Navy will soon begin using Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and California Sea Lions to guard Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington State, which serves as the home base for eight of the Navy’s ballistic-missile submarines, two cruise-missile subs, and one fast-attack sub. Reportedly, the dolphins and sea lions were trained by the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program in San Diego and will soon be moved north to Kitsap. Their primary mission will be to detect terrorist swimmers or divers and assist in their capture. It is a sad testimony to our time that such a use of marine mammals is necessary; however, using them to assist in the war against terrorism is a far more noble and justifiable purpose than allowing them to be enslaved in aquariums for entertainment purposes. As such, we wish the Navy well in their efforts to keep safe their nuclear submarines, which are a key part of the might and right that holds back the dark cloud of evil that seeks to destroy our world. May God bless all the men and women who serve in the United States armed forces, and in those of free nations everywhere.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life Imitating Art

The catastrophe that is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is a stunning example of the harm and havoc that man is wreaking upon the oceans of the world. And while some of you may take a few minutes out of your busy lives to look on with concern as others struggle to contain the river of black death that is spreading through the Gulf, it is the creatures who live in those once pristine waters who will suffer for decades and perhaps centuries to come: none more so than the whales and dolphins. Despite this continuing assault on the domain of these sentient and self-aware beings, they have not sought to harm mankind in return.
But what if there comes a day when whales and dolphins turn against man? What if they seek to destroy you as you continue to destroy their world, through either the actions of the few or the apathy of the many? This is the premise of my novel, The Tempest's Roar, and the BP disaster is a tragic case of life imitating art. As such, the story has never been more timely, and I urge you to read it. If you do, you will never again look upon the deep blue seas that surround you through the same eyes. Whether you choose to believe it or not, you are not the only intelligent beings on this endangered blue marble drifting silently through space, this place of terrible beauty and untold potential that you call Earth but whalekind knows as Planet Ocean. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let Me Be Clear

Let me be clear about my view of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I admire the bravery and strength of purpose these people demonstrate in their efforts to interfere with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean. Their crews risk their lives on that cold and dangerous ocean at the bottom of the world.
However, this tragedy is not about the slaughter of a thousand whales each year off Antarctica, and Sea Shepherd’s ability to save some of them. It has devolved into what the Japanese government and people see as an imperialistic assault upon their culture—an insult to the entire population because of a few die-hard old men caught up in the ways of the past.
Sea Shepherd's actions only serve to widen Japan’s sense of isolation from the rest of the world: a cultural remoteness formed over two millennia that will not be bridged by acts of aggression. Author Richard D. Lewis, in his book, “The Cultural Imperative: Global Trends in the 21st Century,” points out that in any interaction with the Japanese, “What is said is actually of minor importance. How it is said, who says it, and when it is said are the vital ingredients.”
Accordingly, the only way to get Japan to stop the Southern Ocean whale hunt is by allowing them to save face, and that is exactly what the proposal being presented to the IWC in June by the U.S. and other anti-whaling nations will do. As good as Sea Shepherd’s intentions may be, their continued attack on Japan’s whaling fleet has jeopardized this compromise, which will mean that the annual slaughter will continue for many years to come. Now is not the time for confrontation; it is the time for cool heads and calm negotiations. Otherwise all hope is lost.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whales And Crab Pots...

Commercial fishermen in Alaska are complaining that Sperm Whales and Killer Whales are stripping their longlines of fish. Now let’s see if I understand the problem: men in fishing boats go out onto the open ocean where these whales and dolphins live, and leave baited hooks on floating fishing lines, sometimes forty miles long. Halibut, sable, skate and other fish are attracted to the bait and bite on the hooks. After struggling for a few minutes, these fish die and hang there. And then along come the Sperm Whales and Killer Whales who strip the lines of these dead fish. Then the fishermen come back, find the fish heads hanging there and get angry at the whales.
But let’s say these same fishermen got off their boats, drove their pickups into the interior, and strung a forty-mile long clothesline from tree to tree with sirloin steaks hanging on hooks every few feet. Don’t you think that grizzly bears and black bears would figure out that this was a free lunch pretty quickly? And bears have one-tenth the brainpower of whales and dolphins, if that.
So here is my message to Alaska's commercial fishermen: if you do not want to lose your fish to whales, stop longline fishing, and go join the crab fishermen on the Deadliest Catch. Whales haven’t figured out how to open crab pots…yet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Voyeurism At Its Worst

Two weeks from today, season 3 of the television series Whale Wars will begin. It documents the battle that occurred this past year in the Southern Ocean between the Japanese whaling fleet and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I submit that there are three kinds of viewers who will watch this series: the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY, as follows:

The GOOD: these people truly care about whales and believe that Sea Shepherd is helping protect these magnificent creatures. They are not! By saving hundreds of whales this year, Sea Shepherd has ensured that thousands more will die in future years. And by watching this show, those of you in this group are contributing to the perpetuation of the slaughter. Your viewership provides profits (blood money) for the network, and misguided encouragement to Sea Shepherd, all of which further strengthens the pro-whaling movement in Japan. Therefore, I plead with you, the most humane of all humans, NOT to watch Whale Wars.

The BAD: these people do not care about whales at all, and only watch the show because they think Sea Shepherd are noble warriors of the high seas. Sadly, this admiration is totally misplaced, and would be better directed towards the real heroes of society, police officers, firemen, and the military. However, I will not try to reason with you in this group because thinking is not your long suit.

The UGLY. These people only want to see blood and they do not care if its whale blood or human blood as long as the slanting decks and frigid seas are covered with it. The more the better. I will not waste any time or arguments on you. You display voyeurism at its worst and you are a lower form of life than whale lice.

So there you have it, as Whale Wars begins another season, the network gets richer, Sea Shepherd gets more acclaim, and whales will continue to die. And for that reason, you humans are a lesser race and this is a lesser planet.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Winning The Battle But Losing The War

A small but increasingly vocal minority among the Japanese general population has begun to put pressure on their government to put an end to the so-called ‘research whaling’ that takes place each year in the Southern Ocean. And there are some Japanese politicians at both the local and national level who seem willing to support the proposal currently being worked on by the United States and other anti-whaling countries that would close the loopholes in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. In return, the principal whaling nations of Japan, Iceland, and Norway would be allowed to conduct limited and tightly monitored commercial hunts in their own coastal waters. Unfortunately, such a compromise will likely fail, and when it does, it will be due in large measure to the shortsighted actions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Mr. Tadamasa Kodaira, a pro-whaling lawmaker in the governing Democratic Party said that the recent aggressive actions of foreign environmental groups like Sea Shepherd have fanned popular ire, making it impossible for Tokyo to compromise. The operative word there, in case you missed it, is IMPOSSIBLE. Thus, in saving the lives of hundreds of whales in the Southern Ocean this year, Sea Shepherd has doomed many thousands more to death over the years to come. There is a time to fight, and a time to talk. Sea Shepherd obviously does not know the difference: in winning the battle on the high seas they are losing the war. And while men fight, whales die.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Say Gray. You Say Grey. Let's Hope The Future Isn't...

Gray (or Grey) Whales have certainly been in the news a lot lately, and not in a positive way. First comes a report from Southern California that the number of sightings of Northern Pacific Gray Whales has dropped alarmingly this year, to about one-fifth of normal. This observation, combined with the fact that the International Whaling Commission in June is going to consider allowing NPG whales to be hunted again, has created concern among all those who care. The California Coastal Commission has pressured NOAA to update the Gray Whale study to determine whether the species is in decline. Unfortunately, these results will not be known until after the IWC makes its decision.
Meanwhile, much to the astonishment of marine biologists, a Gray Whale (gender unknown) has been spotted in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel. Since the North Atlantic population of Gray Whales was hunted to extinction in the 18th Century, it is presumed that this whale swam across the Northwest Passage (now largely free of ice thanks to global warming), through the Atlantic Ocean, and into the Mediterranean. Sadly, the whale appears to be alone and emaciated, which is not good, and the chances for its survival are poor.
With both of these troubling matters preying on your mind, please keep these and all other whales, and dolphins in your thoughts and prayers. Let’s hope our future isn’t gray…or grey.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great shot, Scott!

Last week, Scott Landry, director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, saved the life of a female Right Whale in the Great South Channel off Cape Cod. Notwithstanding the unfortunate fact that you humans have to create such teams, I was thrilled to learn that Mr. Landry was able to cut the rope wrapped around the whale’s upper jaw by shooting it with a razor-tipped bolt from a crossbow. Northern Right Whales are endangered and saving the life of even one whale can have a profound impact upon the survival of the species. This type of entanglement in fishing lines happens all too often with the great whales, especially Right Whales, and it invariably leads to infection and a slow, painful death. However, in this case, thanks to the great shooting by Mr. Landry, the whale was freed of its life-threatening noose. Great shot, Scott! By the way, whenever a human saves a whale’s life, a tiny image of the whale is etched upon that human’s soul, which guarantees admission through the gates of heaven. It also works in reverse.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Cry For Help!

I am breaking my normal pattern of posting every 3-4 days by issuing this urgent cry today to the readers of my blog in the United States. The House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife is currently reviewing the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s provisions for the public display of whales and dolphins, and they welcome public comments until this Friday, May 7th. Please add your voice to those calling for an end to the spectacular cruelty being inflicted upon whales and dolphins at marine parks and aquariums. The captive display of orcas and bottlenose dolphins at the Sea World parks, and beluga whales and white-sided dolphins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, to name just a few examples, cannot be justified no matter how hard their owners and management try to spin it. Their care and concern for their captives is purely mercenary, and their claim that they are educating the public is both ridiculous and disingenuous. Making a wild animal perform stupid and demeaning tricks that they never do in their natural habitat is hardly a proper education for children. And sentencing these intelligent and sentient beings to a shortened life of mindless boredom and unknowable torment is cruel and despicable.
Here is how you can help: between today and this Friday, May 7th, please email Ms. Katherine Romans, the clerk of the subcommittee hearing (at the address below), and tell her you do not support the continuation of these performance spectacles that serve strictly for audience amusement and park owner profit. Here is your chance to do something noble and decent in a world where these qualities are so sadly lacking. Please act now!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Looking Up At Mountains Versus Looking Down

After exploring some 200 of the estimated 45,000 seamounts that dot the ocean floor worldwide, scientists from NOAA and Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi were surprised to learn that these submerged peaks have an abundance of biodiversity. This comes as no surprise to whales and dolphins as we have always known about the profusion of life that exists on these underwater mountaintops, which brings to mind another fundamental difference in the way our two species view our surroundings. I commented about this last October but it bears repeating now: it is how differently we view mountains. You humans are surrounded by peaks that tower over you, making you seem small and insignificant. For you to see the view from their tops you must climb their sides, a journey that is arduous and often fatal. Whereas we spend our lives swimming high above seamounts. From our vantage point, we can see the majesty of a mountaintop—the biodiversity noted in the NOAA/Texas A&M study—while its base holds no appeal for us, because it is rooted firmly in the deeps, where we dare not go. It causes me to wonder if that is why the soul of man is cloaked in darkness and self-pity, while that of my kind is filled with light and hope; you spend your entire lives looking up at mountains wishing you were on top, while we spend our lives looking down on them thankful we are not at the bottom.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1 Down, 128 Million To Go

I have said that the way to end whaling by Japan is not by attacking their whaling ships, or by hurling invectives at them from the far side of the ocean. Neither of these has worked. These actions and words are seen as an imperialistic assault upon their culture and only serve to further entrench the Japanese government's support for whaling. The only voices that pro-whaling politicians will listen to are those of the people of Japan themselves. And to that end, I am heartened to learn that one such voice has now been raised by a former employee of the Taiji dolphin hunt. She was what they call a 'dolphin trainer' and her job was to select the dolphins that would be sold to aquariums. She did this knowing that those she did not pick would be killed and butchered. Now, many years later, after seeing the film 'The Cove', she has spoken out against this barbaric annual slaughter. In her words, (translated from Japanese), "It is just a small group of hardheaded men who continue the practice of dolphin hunting with the excuse of protecting our culture". She added that, "I think it is about time that we Japanese people open our eyes to what we are doing and what the rest of the world is asking of us." Amen! Hers is only one voice out of 128 million, but it is a start. From her lips to God’s ears, and to the ears of those hardheaded men.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Do I Care? Why Should You?

Today, I will temporarily silence the sincere, sometimes sarcastic, and always unapologetically anthropomorphic voice of the whales and dolphins, on whose behalf I have been speaking passionately now for nearly a year, both in my book, The Tempest’s Roar, and in this blog. Today I want to address you simply as a fellow human being. Recently, I received an email from a leading figure in the ‘Save the Whales’ movement who had never heard of me but had been led to read my blog. He asked me some probing questions; why do I work so hard at this cause…what do I ultimately seek to achieve…who benefits from my writing…and, cutting to the chase, why do I care?

Why do I care? Any intelligent person might ask that same question; why should anyone care about whales and dolphins? A nation at war. A stagnant economy. Acrimonious debates at the highest levels in politics. Corruption and greed rewarded. Life savings slipping away. Homes lost. Dreams fading. Aging parents. Unsettled children. Cancer. Crime. Chaos...Believe me, I understand: life is hard. With all of the above crashing down upon us (me included), why should we care about whales and dolphins? The reason is simple, and it is not because I believe that unlike any other creature walking, crawling, flying, or swimming across the face of this earth, whales and dolphins come closest to us in intelligence, in self-awareness, in feeling, in being afraid of their enemies, in loving their families, and in understanding the meaning of death and dying. I believe all these to be true but there are many who do not.

However, there is one fact that is indisputable: life is short and we are only here once. I believe that to have lived without caring for some cause, without believing in something more important than ourselves, without lifting ourselves up above the trials and tribulations of our daily lives, without trying to make this earth a better place no matter how small our impact may be or that no one will ever know we tried, is never to have lived at all. When we are dust, and no one beyond our grandchildren remembers our names, what we have done in our lives beyond simply passing through time and space, will live forever. That is why I care. And that is why you should too, if not for whales and dolphins for something, somewhere. Do it and your life will have meaning far greater than you know. Do it because you were here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Between the Devil and the Blood Red Sea

A small group of anti-whaling nations, including the United States, is currently attempting to broker an agreement that would limit and could potentially end whaling by Japan, Iceland, and Norway. The agreement would allow these three countries to continue whaling for another ten years. The quid pro quo is that they would agree to reduced quotas, restrictions on targeted species, and stricter monitoring, including global DNA tracking of whale products. As is always the case among your kind on matters of critical international importance, the negotiations have generated heated debate and discord as extremists on both sides of the issue are quick to criticize the work of the negotiating committee but slow to offer practical alternatives. Opponents argue that the agreement will 'open the floodgates' to the slaughter and not guarantee the end of whaling after a decade. Proponents say that it is a reasonable first step in the process of ending this barbaric practice forever. The brutal fact is that all efforts to stop whaling to-date have failed, including brave but divisive acts on the high seas, and bluster and bombast on the safe side of the shore. And as this acrimonious debate continues among nations, my kind is caught between the devil and the blood red sea.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Violence Only Begets Violence

The Japanese whaling fleet has returned home from the Southern Ocean and according to Shigetoshi Nishiwaki, head of the Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research, the fleet was only able to ‘catch’ half of its 1,000 whale ‘research’ goal. Euphemisms aside, he means they were only able to 'slaughter' and 'butcher' half the tonnage targeted for restaurants in Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere including the U.S. as occurred recently in California. Nishiwaki cited the acts of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as the primary reason for this failure. As brave and well-intended as Sea Shepherd’s sailors may be, their actions are seen as an assault on the Japanese culture, and ironically, in saving the lives of 500 whales this season, they have further entrenched the Japanese government’s support for whaling. As such, they are hurting the very cause in which they so passionately believe. The only way to get Japan, Iceland and Norway, to stop this brutal practice is to reach out to ordinary citizens of these countries and get them to work against whaling from within their own society. As with other aspects of human society, in the case of whaling, violence only begets violence. We must ignore the tyranny of the few and instead appeal to the compassion and reason of the many.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If Not You, Who? If Not Today, When?

Today is Cetacean Day, a day when countries around the world honor whales, dolphins, and porpoises, the intelligent and sentient beings your scientists call cetaceans. If you were not aware of this, you're not alone. Based on the limited coverage in global news media, apparently only the people of Malta and Hawaii are celebrating this event. And it will most certainly get no support in Japan, Iceland, and Norway—three countries who continue to slaughter cetaceans—other than perhaps by having the men in rubber aprons standing on decks awash in whale blood, sharpen their long knives and ring the dinner bell even more loudly.
If I seem cynical, I am. Despite the good intentions of whoever it was who decided to make April 14 a day to celebrate the beauty and majesty of my kind, this noble but little-recognized effort pales in comparison to the continuing cruel and unusual treatment that cetaceans are subjected to around the globe. And I am not just referring to the butchery cited above: I am also talking about the imprisonment of Belugas, Orcas and Bottlenose Dolphins, among others, who are confined in tiny concrete tanks where they live shortened lives of mindless boredom as the free spirit that was hard-wired into them at birth flickers and slowly dies. All in the name of entertainment, masquerading as ‘education’. Sad. So very sad.
So if you really care about my kind on this day set aside by someone somewhere to honor cetaceans, the best thing you can do is to sit down and write a letter to your government, and demand that it stops the killing and captive display of whales, dolphins, and porpoises around the globe. If not you, who? And if not today, when?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Unicorns Are Back: Let's Kill Them.

In 2004, Canada’s committee on endangered wildlife recommended listing the Narwhal as a ‘species of special concern’, and in 2008, an international study identified this spiral-tusked whale as the species most susceptible to the effects of retreating Arctic sea-ice (contrary to views that polar bears are most vulnerable). Against this ominous backdrop, six researchers from Canada, the U.S., and Greenland developed a new system for counting Narwhals, and have recently concluded that the population in Canada’s northeastern waters is higher than was originally thought. However, in an astonishing display of perverted logic, the project team led by Canadian federal Fisheries and Oceans scientist, Pierre Richard, has concluded that, “there is a large population out there, one that can probably sustain a large hunt.” What! Float that by me again: the number of these beautiful whales who gave rise to the myth of unicorns is higher than you thought so let's go kill them! I can think of several other conclusions that might be drawn from this study, but recommending the slaughter of Narwhals is not one of them. Is there no end to the hubris and blood lust of humankind? I guess not. Watch out polar bears, you may be next.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hypocrisy in Rotterdam

It is illegal in the Netherlands to import whale meat. However, this apparently does not prevent those who profit from the slaughter of great whales to move the product of their butchery through the port of Rotterdam. It is hard to understand how the Dutch authorities can draw this distinction. This case involves seven refrigerated containers of meat from endangered Fin Whales killed by whalers in Iceland that were bound for Japan. Before the ship NYK Orion that was transporting the whale meat could depart Rotterdam harbor, activists from Greenpeace who were tipped off to this illegal cargo, chained themselves to the ship’s anchor line. However, despite their heroic efforts, it appears that the Dutch Customs office may allow the whale meat to continue on its journey. If they do, these officials will have blood on their hands: not blood from the bodies of the dead whales that once flooded the decks of the Icelandic whale ships; rather it will be blood from the whales’ souls and it can never be washed off. Let us hope that the good people of the Netherlands will not allow their government authorities to become enablers to the brutal and archaic practice of whaling. It is time for all the citizens of the world to see whaling for what it is: murder in the first degree.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Before the Last One Dies

There is a small porpoise, called the Vaquita, who lives in the clear, warm waters at the extreme northern end of the Gulf of California. It is a beautiful little creature, with a unique body shape and color pattern, a tall dorsal fin, and dark eye rings that have given it the name, ‘Panda of the Sea’. If you saw one you could not help but fall in love with it; but soon, very soon, no one will ever see a Vaquita again. There are only 100-150 left in the wild and none in captivity, where they do not do well or breed. It is the world’s most endangered marine mammal and it is vanishing before our eyes. Every year, as many as half the population of Vaquitas become entangled in gillnets and drown, and reproduction cannot keep up with this attrition rate. But it is not too late to save them from extinction. Here is how you can help:

1. Write letters to your government, or to the United Nations, in support of the Vaquita conservation efforts by Mexico’s Ministry of Environment.
2. Do not buy shrimp or fish caught in gillnets, and support fishermen who do not use gillnets.
3. Tell your friends, and all those who will listen, about their story.
4. Donate to the Vaquita Recovery Fund at,
Cetos Research Organization
c/o Cetos Atlantic/Ann Zoidis
11 Des Isle Avenue
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
And visit

Please help before the last one dies, and the light of yet another species is extinguished forever.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Time for Thanks

Today is not the time for criticism of those among your kind who persecute whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Instead, on this the eve of the holiest three days of the Christian year, and during the week-long Jewish festival of Passover, it is a time for us all to give thanks: thanks for the salvation of those who see Jesus as the son of God; thanks for the salvation of the ancient Hebrews who escaped from enslavement in Egypt; and thanks for the grace and goodness of those of you who seek to save my kind, both great and small, from extinction. Through your care, and concern, and generous contributions to 'save the whales' organizations, you bring us one step closer to the day when we can peacefully co-exist on this tiny blue marble drifting silently through space that we share. May God bless you and all men and women of good faith everywhere; and may He keep the ‘many’ safe from the evil that still lurks in the hearts of the ‘few’.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Creatures of a Lesser God.

Japan, Iceland, and Norway are the whaling equivalent of the ‘Axis of Evil.’ However, it is not the ordinary citizens in these countries who are to blame; most are ignorant of the wanton slaughter of great whales that their governments perpetuate on the high seas. Rather it is the government officials who are responsible for their respective departments of fisheries, along with the men who do the actual killing, who are true parasites on the soul of man. And speaking of parasites, let us turn to some other odious creatures who afflict whalekind. First, are the barnacles who attach themselves to the slower moving members of the baleen whales. Your scientists categorize this as ‘obligate commensalism’, because they do not harm their host. I beg to disagree because at best, being heavily laden with thousands of pounds of hard-shell invertebrates adds to the whale’s burden; and at worst, it slows the whale down and makes him easier prey for whalers. Thus, the Ministers of Fisheries in the Axis of Evil are ugly, blind, and self-serving creatures exactly like barnacles. And then there are whale lice. These odious, blood-thirsty crustaceans actually feed upon the living whale's tissue. They are nature's equivalent of the evil men in whaling ships who kill and butcher their victims. Both are louses of the first order. So there you have it, whalers and their government enablers, the lice and barnacles of your kind; truly creatures of a lesser god.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Something Is Wrong With Right Whales

Something is wrong with Southern Right Whales and scientists among your kind are trying to find out why. Over the past five years, more than 300 whales, mostly young calves, have been found dead in the waters off Argentina’s Patagonian coast. It is the largest die-off of great whales ever recorded, and a cause for grave concern with regard to the recovery of the Southern Right Whale population. The whales were given their name by whalers who considered them to be the ‘right’ whales to hunt because they are such slow swimmers and before this barbaric practice was banned over 45,000 Right Whales were slaughtered around the globe. Sadly, it is estimated that there are only 7,500 Southern Right Whales alive today, and Northern Atlantic and Northern Pacific Right Whales number far less. Scientists from the International Whaling Commission are working with the governments of Argentina and the Province of Chubut to solve this mystery. Let us hope they find the cause and correct it before it is too late. With Japan, Iceland and Norway still butchering great whales, and Denmark lining up to join in the blood fest, it is critical that those of you who care about these magnificent beings do whatever you can to prevent their disappearance from the face of the earth. Please help by financially supporting 'Save The Whale' organizations, by writing your government in support of the ban on commercial whaling, and by telling your friends about this blog and others like it that seek the salvation of whalekind.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All's Fair In Love And War. Not.

Paleontologists in Italy have analyzed the fossilized skeleton of a dolphin and determined that this ancient ancestor of mine was killed by a shark. By analyzing the teeth marks on the skeleton’s ribs they were able to determine, in gruesome detail, the size of the shark (big) and the nature of the attack (brutal). While this particular dolphin and shark are both extinct, their descendants obviously are not, and such horrific attacks on my kind by these mindless eating machines continue to this day. The only consolation that I take in this unpleasant reality is that my much larger cousins, the Offshore Orcas, delight in eating sharks, especially Great Whites. In addition, whenever we have the numbers in our favor, we dolphins kill every shark we encounter. What is it that you humans say, “All’s Fair in Love and War?” Well, in this case you are half-right. There is no love lost between dolphins and sharks. We are mortal enemies locked in a perpetual state of war. Our survival depends on killing them before they kill us. It is an unfortunate way to live, but then again, you humans know all about that, don't you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Whale Poop Tells All

I thought both you and I could use a brief respite from the tragic tone and tough message of my recent postings. Lord knows there is too much pain and sadness in the sea of troubles that separates your world from mine. So today, I will talk about an amusing story that comes to us from Seattle, Washington, where Dr. Brand Hanson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (whew, his business card must be a foot long), has been studying whale poop. Poop you say? Yes, poop I say. You know, those little (little being a relative term), irregularly shaped nuggets of excrement that my kind leaves behind (pun intended). Unlike you humans, we obviously do not have tidy porcelain bowls to collect our waste. Instead, it floats off into the sea, or in this case, into Dr. Hanson’s net. (I hope he has a doctoral candidate to collect it). At any rate, using the poop of my cousins, the Resident Orcas of Puget Sound, Dr. Hanson has determined that they prefer Chinook salmon from British Columbia’s Fraser River to those spawned in rivers further south in the United States. He suggests this is because Fraser River Salmon are fatter but I have another theory: given that the Fraser River salmon are Canadian, they are friendlier than their American counterparts, and therefore more unsuspecting of the Orcas’ intentions. And what do they get for this greater sociability? They get eaten and turned into whale poop. Too bad for them, eh?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Alternate Universe St. Patrick's Day Wish

A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles today pronounced sentence on the chef of a sushi restaurant, and on the CEO of its parent company. Both men were convicted in the illegal sale of meat from Sei Whales. When questioned why they had continued to serve whale meat despite knowing it was from an endangered species and prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the men just shrugged and said that whales are nothing more than big, fat, juicy ocean-dwelling hogs. Apparently, they were unaware that such marine matters are handled within the United States Littoral Waters federal court system, and unfortunately for the accused, its current presiding judge is a Grey Whale whose brother-in-law, a Sei Whale, went missing in the Southern Ocean last year (the Japanese claim they know nothing of his disappearance). The defense attorney for the accused, a Transient Orca who also enjoys eating whale meat, insisted the men were doing nothing more than what is common practice by people in Japan, Iceland and Norway. Despite this argument, a jury made up of Bottlenose Dolphins, Minke and Humpback Whales found the men guilty as charged. As proscribed by the law, the men will be dragged behind a U.S. Coast Guard motor launch through the waters off the Farallon Islands next September at the start of the Great White Shark season. So let it be written, so let it be done!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Something Is Rotten In Denmark

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet (Act 1, scene 4), Marcellus says, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Sadly, in a case of life imitating art, this quote is as apt today as it was during the time of Shakespeare’s ill-fated prince. As evidence of this, I submit the following appalling news item: the government of Denmark has applied to the International Whaling Commission for permission to begin hunting Humpback Whales again. It is not enough that Denmark helped decimate the North Atlantic population of Humpbacks before this archaic and brutal practice was banned, but now that these magnificent creatures are making a slow comeback, the Danes are eager to begin the slaughter again. Apparently, they have heard that the Japanese intend to hunt Humpbacks without the IWC’s permission, and they want their share of the blood fest. Thankfully, the IWC rejected the request…for now. For all you citizens of the world, who abhor this horrific practice, please write your government and demand that whaling be stopped once and for all. If you do not do this now, the seas will soon run red once again with the blood of Humpbacks, and all hope for their kind will be lost. Forever.

Friday, March 12, 2010

"The Cove" Wins an Oscar!

I am pleased to report that Director Louis Psihoyos’ film, “The Cove”, won the best documentary Oscar on Sunday. It depicts in horrifying detail the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins by fishermen in the Japanese town of Tajii. The Japanese government defends this brutal practice by saying that dolphins should be treated like other animal food stocks, such as cattle, hogs, and chickens. Obviously, I disagree but you should decide for yourself. Please see the movie. It is available now on DVD. After you do, even if you accept the government's argument(and thereby disregard the extensive scientific evidence that dolphins are sentient and intelligent beings), at the very least, I think you will agree that the dolphins deserve a better death than the horrific fate that awaits them in that cove from hell. While great care is taken by most cultures to harvest cattle, hogs and chickens in as humane a method as possible, the Tajii fishermen make no such effort. Instead, they slice open the dolphins with long knives and laugh as the doomed creatures writhe in agony in water the color of blood. One can only hope that when the movie begins showing in Japan this summer, millions of decent and humane people among the Japanese population will demand that their government puts an end to this barbaric slaughter once and for all.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Killers of the Fourth Kind

To scientists among your kind, there are three types of Killer Whales; the first are a noisy and sociable group who eat only fish and inhabit fixed territories within coastal waters. You call them Resident Orcas. The second type is far more reclusive and taciturn. They are nomads of littoral seas who eat only mammals, including other dolphins and whales. You know them as Transient Orcas, and these cannibals are pariahs among my kind. Much is known among your scientists about both these types. However, that is not the case with the third type of Orca, for they are a breed apart. They live far out in deep, bluewater and never interbreed with the other two types. Although they eat mammals, their preferred prey are sharks. You refer to them as Offshore Orcas, and they are a fierce and powerful breed best left alone by both your kind and mine.
Having said this, there is another kind of Orca, whom I shall call Killers of the Fourth Kind. These Orcas were captured in the wild and doomed to spend foreshortened lives of mindless boredom and emotional anguish in your aquariums and sea parks; or they were born in those confined concrete tanks and will never know the joy of freedom. Either way, they are the equivalent of those whom you keep on death row, and like them, these Killers of the Fourth Kind have nothing to lose by venting their rage in the worst way possible. They have killed humans before and they will do so again. Count on it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not the First and Not the Last

Two days have passed since the tragic death of the trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, and park management has stated that it was an accidental drowning involving Tilikum pulling the woman’s ponytail, while eyewitness accounts seem to contradict that. Regardless, it was not the first time a captive Orca has attacked a human (as the list below shows), and sadly, it will likely not be the last.

SeaWorld, San Diego/ 1971/trainer attacked by an Orca.
Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria B.C./1991/ trainer killed by Tilikum.
SeaWorld, Orlando/1999/ homeless man found dead in Tilikum’s tank.
SeaWorld, San Diego/1999/trainer attacked by an Orca.
SeaWorld, San Diego/2006/trainer attacked by an Orca (allegedly the 2nd attack in two weeks although park denies it).
Loro Parque, Tenerife/2009/trainer killed by an Orca.
SeaWorld, Orlando/2010/trainer killed by Tilikum.

Proponents of keeping Orcas in captivity say that these attacks are isolated incidents that must be viewed in the context of the thousands of hours during which Orcas have performed over the past forty years, and the millions of people who have enjoyed these performances. What a self-serving and patently mercenary argument. 'The parks make millions, the public is entertained, and the harm to trainers is collateral damage.' As well-intended and sincere as SeaWorld's employees may be, these parks are profit centers pure and simple, and Orcas give them an unlimited license to print money, no matter what SeaWorld's articulate CEO may say.

Meanwhile, the Orcas themselves are doomed to lead shortened, mindless lives in tiny concrete pools, as their dorsal fins droop and the free spirit that was hardwired into their DNA at birth slowly flickers and dies. People, listen to me: these magnificent beings know all too well their fate, and the mental torment that it generates in all of them will continue to be vented by a few in future attacks. This is as much of a stone-cold certainty as are the profits that the parks will continue to drop to their bottom line.

I will be traveling for the next ten days and will not be able to post. But I think it’s better that I do, to allow my disgust with the spectacular cruelty that you humans are inflicting upon my kind to dissipate before we speak again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Tragedy For Us All

The tragic death of a trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, yesterday is a brutal reminder of what can happen when a wild creature that is free to swim through all the oceans of the world is captured and placed in the narrow confines of a concrete tank, where it is doomed to spend the rest of its life performing stupid tricks for human amusement. May God be with that woman’s family and friends. Below is a posting from last November that bears repeating on this sad occasion:

Spectacular Cruelty

The next time you and your family go to a marine park to gaze and gawk at the Orcas as they are made to perform demeaning tricks, I want you to remember this. The average life span of Orcas in the wild is forty years, and females can live well into their seventies and eighties. Now contrast this with the following fact: the average life expectancy in captivity of an Orca captured in the wild is less than six years. Yes, you read that correctly—six years! And for Orcas born in captivity, it is not much longer. The only blessing for the latter group is that they at least have never known the joy of freedom. Add to this disturbing statistic the fact that of the nearly two hundred Orcas held captive in man’s liquid prisons since 1964, less than one third lived longer than ten years, and only forty-one are alive today. If there is any shred of decency in you, how can you interpret these facts as anything but spectacular cruelty?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doomed By a Clash of Cultures

Brave but foolhardy acts of protest on the high seas, and bluster and bombast on the safe side of the shore, will never stop the Japanese from slaughtering my kind, either in the crimson-flecked windspray of the Southern Ocean, or the blood-soaked bays of Tajii. This tragic affair is no longer about the slaughter of tens of thousands of whales and dolphins each year. It has devolved into what the Japanese government sees as an imperialistic assault upon their culture. And Australia’s recent threat to take Japan to the International Court of Justice over their annual Antarctic whale hunts has only served to further widen Japan’s sense of isolation from the rest of the world: a cultural remoteness formed over two millennia that will not be bridged by fast boats or slow courts.
In his brilliant book, “The Cultural Imperative: Global Trends in the 21st Century,” Richard D. Lewis points out that in any interaction with the Japanese, “What is said is actually of minor importance. How it is said, who says it, and when it is said are the vital ingredients.” Unless the Americans, and Australians, and the rest of the anti-whaling world stop shouting, and until the Japanese start listening, my kind will be doomed by this lethal clash of cultures.
I pray that thought leaders on both sides of this contentious debate will see the light; and even though I realize how futile such a prayer may be, that does not lessen its sincerity, or the sense of hope behind it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Empty Soup Bowl

While there is legitimate debate over the cause of global warming, be it the doings of man, or the eternal cycles of nature, and despite the ill-informed guffaws of cynics, cold, hard scientific fact indicates that the world's climate is warming, and along with it the oceans; the primordial soup bowl from which we all arose eons ago. New research conducted by scientists at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and George Mason University, in the United States, confirms that the evolution of whales and dolphins was directly linked to the presence of plankton, the primary converters of sunlight into food in the sea. Other research has long held that the plankton biomass is inversely related to ocean temperature; and therefore, it is safe to assume that as the seas warm, the entire food chain will slowly die, with us whales and dolphins, and oh yes, you humans at the bottom of the empty soup bowl together. See you there…

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fiction, Lies, and Bloodlust

Under pressure from pro-whaling nations, the International Whaling Commission plans to allow commercial whaling of certain species to begin again once the population reaches 54 percent of the pre-hunting levels. Quite apart from the vileness of this logic (Look, they're back, let's start slaughtering them again before they fully recover), the IWC is conveniently ignoring one crucial issue, namely that the pre-slaughter population estimates are wrong. Dead wrong. For example, they believe that before the ceticide began, Humpback Whales in the North Atlantic Ocean numbered approximately 20,000, and with the current population at about 10,000, whaling will soon begin again. However, genetic research conducted by Stanford University in 2003 indicated that North Atlantic Humpbacks once numbered 20 times that level, or 240,000; and that the global population was actually 1.5 million rather than the IWC projection of 100,000. This hypothesis is substantiated by the discovery of falsified logbooks from whaling nations. New Scientist estimates that during the three-year period of 1959-1961 alone, Soviet whaling fleets killed 25,000 Humpbacks while reporting a kill of 2,700. Tragically, despite these countervailing arguments, Humpback Whales, one of the most beautiful beings that God ever created, are about to be butchered again based on fiction, lies, and bloodlust. And since your kind has proven so adept at killing each other, all hope for my kind is lost.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Depths of Hubris

Fact: Humans hunted Humpback Whales nearly to extinction.

Fact: Although still endangered, Humpback Whales are making a slow recovery in the North Pacific, including the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska.

Fact: Humans spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Prince William Sound, 21 years ago, devastating the herring population.

Fact: The herring population has been slow to recover.

Fact: Humpback Whales eat herring.

Conclusion: Humpback Whales are to blame for the slow reappearance of herring. At least that is one theory being postulated by marine scientists in Alaska.

Wait! Run that by me again…Humans nearly wipe out Humpbacks. Humans nearly wipe out herring. But when the herring biomass struggles to recover, you blame it on the whales! Is there no bottom to the depths of your hubris?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Imagine That!

Scientists from Aberdeen and St Andrews Universities say that they have discovered some incredible behavior on the part of Orcas living in the waters off the Shetland Islands. Specifically, by using underwater microphones they have observed the Killer Whales using low-pitched noise to frighten herring, causing them to bunch up, which allows the Orcas to stun the fish with their flukes before feeding upon them. Wow! Imagine that. I can just picture the scientists bobbing about in their Zodiacs out there on the cold North Sea, saying to each other, How on earth--or better yet, How in ocean--did these poor dumb beasts figure this out? How indeed. Oh well, in fairness I should at least mention that in his reporting on the research, Simon King of BBC2 observed that, “These are sentient animals, with complex family structures, but being so close you really get the sense that there is so much more to these creatures than we currently know.” Good for you, Mr. King. That’s a start. Now if we can just get the rest of mankind to agree, perhaps we could all live together in harmony on this blue space marble you call earth, but my kind knows as Planet Ocean.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First Us, Then You...

It is bad enough that your kind decided long ago to enslave dolphins and dumb us down into pathetic proxies of our wild counterparts, forced to perform demeaning animal tricks for your amusement, but this really takes the cake (or should I say the herring). An organization with the alphabet soup acronym of SWBGRRC, which stands for Sea World and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, is conducting what they call ‘preferential sex-selection reproductive research for exotic animals’. Say what? You heard me; they are using technology to separate X and Y sperm so that zoological institutions can manage the genetic diversity of their captive animals. Whoa. How exciting! Not only are dolphins no longer allowed to procreate naturally in captivity (artificial insemination lacks a certain ‘je ne sais pas quoi’) but now our keepers can decide the gender of our offspring. And what comes after that? Eye color? Size of dorsal fin? Jumping ability? There is even talk that this technology will have application to control animal diversity in the wild. Oh the wonder of it all! But watch out people, first us dolphins, and then, you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh Great And Restless Sea

At this very moment, a thousand whales are being butchered in the Southern Ocean by the Japanese whaling fleet. The killers do it not for research as they claim, or for the meat, which they deny. Instead, they do it as a matter of national pride, in defiance of the 'cultural imperialism' of the rest of the world, and neither appeals to reason nor pleas for mercy will ever stop them. And so, in sad tribute to my fellow beings in seas awash with their blood, we dedicate the following poem.

Hear us oh great and restless sea,
oh wondrous ocean deep and wide.
Your boundaries all beings keep,
your storms and tempests we abide.
Pray let us pass in the days to come,
free from thy wrath, safe on thy tides.
That we may cross thy mighty plains,
and suffer not like those who died.
And in the end, with our journey done,
may we to thee simple sojourners be.
Once here in time and place, then gone,
from thee oh great and restless sea.

God bless the innocents and forgive those who persecute them, for this is one world and we must all live in it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The World Is A Sadder Place

The body of a male Sperm Whale washed ashore last week on a beach near the small British town of Beadnell, in Northumberland. The whale’s body was 10 meters in length with an estimated weight of 30 tons indicating that he was a young adult. When fully grown both measures would have doubled. Staff from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) assume that he entered the North Sea by mistake and starved to death because there are relatively few squid in those waters. Had he lived, what an incredible life this whale might have known, powering through all the oceans of the world and diving as deep as 3,000 meters on dives lasting two hours. With his powerful echo-location(or earsight as I call it), just think of the stunning undersea landscapes that he would have known, and incredible adventures he would have had, in that world of eternal darkness where even nuclear submarines dare not go. It was a tragic ending to the life of one of God’s most magnificent creatures, made all the more distressing by the fact that some people have been caught stealing ivory teeth from the carcass. Despite this crass (and illegal) behavior, I hope most of you will agree that today the world is a little bit sadder place because of the premature death of this young whale.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Navy Gets It Wrong With Right Whales

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Georgia, in an attempt to stop the United States Navy from building an Undersea Warfare Training Range in the Atlantic Ocean off Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to heavy ship traffic involving extensive mid-range active sonar, this 500 square nautical mile zone will entail hundreds of miles of undersea cables and acoustic devices. Clearly, after 9/11, the Navy must take whatever steps it deems necessary to protect the nation and while this training range may be the right thing to do, it is being done in the wrong place since the location is adjacent to the shallow waters where endangered North Atlantic Right Whales give birth to their calves each year from November to April. It is a brutal fact that whenever whales and warships come together, the whales always lose. Since there are only 300 to 350 Right Whales left on the planet, the death of even one can be devastating, especially when it could have been avoided. We are hopeful that the lawsuit will get the Navy to move their training range; however, we are not optimistic given that in November 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Navy on a similar matter that threatened the lives of whales. It would seem that compromise is a term not found in U.S. Navy training manuals.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Freedom He Will Never Know

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago announced this week that beginning at noon this Sunday, visitors will be allowed to see the male Beluga Whale that was born at the aquarium in December. While the people operating this aquarium are undoubtedly well meaning, the harsh reality is that this baby will spend his life in a confined indoor tank. He will never know the clear cold waters of Hudson Bay, or the Arctic Ocean, or the Russian White Sea where others of his kind are free to swim to the horizon and beyond. He will never experience what it is like to frolic beneath the ice, or chase squid, or forage the seabed for crabs. He will never feel the sun on his back, or spyhop to watch seabirds soar and swoop high above wind-swept waves, or feel the surge and swell of the seas in a wild winter storm. And, like others of his kind who are enslaved in aquariums around the world, he will die long before his time, never knowing what it was like to be free. An unbiased observer among your kind might ask, Why? Why do we doom this baby and others like him to abbreviated lives of inestimable boredom and unknowable sadness? And the shameful answer will be, we do it for our pleasure and entertainment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Fiftieth Posting

If I may be permitted to take a time out on my regular commentary about the world of whales and dolphins, this marks my fiftieth posting since I began writing Whale and Dolphin Talk last summer. On behalf of Apollo, I am honored to report that readership has been steadily increasing over the last six months, and during the past thirty days alone, two hundred and eighteen people from twenty-one countries around the globe have read my blog (of which fifty-two were returning visitors). This is gratifying since my topic does not rise to the same level of general interest as blogs about a Brit who recites Shakespeare in his sleep, or one from Hollywood that tracks what the preferred implant sizes are at plastic surgery clinics this season, or another that counts how many different ways there are to make mac and cheese. However, if you prefer a more altruistic topic and are passionate about whales and dolphins, I humbly ask that you tell your friends about my blog. The only way we will ever prevail in our efforts to save whalekind from the brutality of the few, and the apathy of the many, is to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of good people everywhere. Thank you. See you on the other side of the thin blue line that separates Apollo’s world from ours.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Greenpeace Gets It Right

Over the past two years, Greenpeace has not sent a ship down to the Southern Ocean to interfere with Japanese whaling ships. Instead, they have redirected their efforts to informing the Japanese people about the annual whale slaughter being carried out with the support of their government. According to a study commissioned by Greenpeace, less than 1 in 10 of the Japanese people is aware of whaling and only 1 in 20 eats whale meat. Given these remarkably low figures, it is clear that the best way to stop whaling is to bring the unspeakable acts of the whaling fleet to the attention of the general population. The Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research, which is the organization that perpetrates this butchery under the guise of research, has attempted to cast anti-whaling efforts as an attack on the Japanese nation and its culture. Ironically, the misguided bravery of anti-whaling activists who still sail in harm’s way on the high seas, and the angry invectives hurled at the Japanese people by well-meaning but uninformed foreigners only serve to reinforce this campaign. Heightened public interest and concern will only be achieved by appealing to both the hearts and minds of the Japanese people. And so we say, Good for you, Greenpeace. Good for you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Close Encounters of the Best Kind

In stark contrast to the tragic occurrence in South Africa last week in which a man was devoured by an enormous Great White Shark, there is news from New Zealand of another incident involving a human and an ocean dweller, but in this case it was the human who was doing the attacking. According to the Department of Conservation, a woman paddler took a whack with her oar at MOKO, a Bottlenose Dolphin in the Bay of Plenty (Plenty of what? Dolphins not sharks I hope). Apparently MOKO was being rather boisterous and would not allow the woman to return to shore. As much as I do not like the idea of a fellow dolphin being whacked on the head, I can understand the woman's frustration; sometimes my kind does get carried away with play. But know this, if in those same waters a Great White Shark had suddenly appeared, you can be sure that MOKO would have been a far better defense for the woman against the shark than her oar. I hope she realizes this. Whales and dolphins provide close encounters of the best kind, even though only a few among you humans know it and most of you do not care.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

Let us turn away, at least for a moment, from the on-going whaling tragedy in the Southern Ocean to another tragedy that deserves your attention. This is the recent fatal attack on a swimmer near Cape Town by a Great White Shark described as being "dinosaur huge". Similar attacks in Australia have prompted government plans to seek out and destroy these 'rogue' sharks. Even though it may surprise you for me to say this, given my dislike for these mindless eating machines, I do not think such action is justified. We are all part of nature, and nature can be unkind. Moreover, you cannot kill them all. While showboating divers on television fool around with White Sharks 3 to 4 meters in length and get away with it, there are others out there that are much larger and far more dangerous. I am not talking only about the big sisters that return to the Farallones every September that can reach 5 meters in length. I am referring to monsters 6 meters and up, like the one who devoured that hapless human near Cape Town. The sad reality is that every time one of your kind goes into the water off South Africa, South Australia or Northern California, they are risking a close encounter of the worst kind. So be warned, unlike Orcas, the killers among my kind, Great White Sharks will eat you if you give them the opportunity. If you do not want to risk it, swim in a pool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It Would Only Be Fair

Recently, in response to my on-going attempts to convince your kind that whales and dolphins are intelligent and sentient beings who deserve to live free from persecution, enslavement, and murder, a man in Australia said he would believe this when he saw one of my kind write a book, compose a song, or appear on a reality show. I will concede that at least the first two require a certain minimum level of intelligence but I also submit that brainpower can manifest itself in many different ways, and what one intelligent species does in its own environment is not necessarily an appropriate measure for another. Let us suppose for argument's sake, that somewhere in the vastness of space, there is a race of beings with sufficient intelligence, knowledge and capability to enable them to visit the earth(setting aside why they would even bother). Using the same logic of my Aussie friend, since these space invaders were obviously capable of inter-galactic travel and you humans are not, it would be perfectly acceptable then for them to attack, enslave, or eat you. Would this make mankind any less intelligent? I think not. Oh, and by the way, if/when that happens, it would only be fair that the Aussie be first in line.

Monday, January 11, 2010

All They Will Hear Is Silence.

The renowned American abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison once said,

“With reasonable men I will reason; with humane men I will
plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste
arguments where they will certainly be lost.”

He was speaking about slavery, a practice that few in the world today would endorse or tolerate. Arguably, the continuing persecution and slaughter of whales and dolphins by Japan, Norway, and Iceland does not rise to that same level of inhumanity. However, the fact remains that in the far off waters of the Antarctic, men of different races and cultures are at this very moment leveling charges and counter-charges against each other. And while a state of tyranny reigns, any hope that reason and humanity will prevail drifts away on the frigid, wind-swept seas. In the meantime, thousands of sentient and intelligent beings who have done nothing to deserve their horrific fate will continue to die. Perhaps one day, when all the whales and dolphins are gone from the seas, the children of these three countries will look at their parents and ask, Why. And all they will hear is silence.

Friday, January 8, 2010

To The Good And Decent People Of Japan

This week, in the waters of Antarctica, a Japanese whaling ship, the Shonan Maru, rammed the Ady Gil, a smaller boat operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Ady Gil was cut in half but thankfully, no one was killed on either vessel. However, the likelihood of a human being dying grows with each hour that these whale hunts continue. Your government, through its Fisheries Agency, claims that the hunts are done in the name of research, but the truth is that the meat from the thousands of whales that are killed each year ends up in the fish markets of your country, and it is consumed by you. Quite apart from the danger this presents to you and your children due to the potentially deadly levels of mercury in the meat, there is another reason to stop this killing, which is that it is wrong. Unlike cattle, chickens, or tuna, whales are a sentient and intelligent species and for all practical purposes they are not a renewable resource; once they are gone from the oceans we will never see their kind again. In the name of all that is good and decent, please, please, demand that your government stops the whaling. Now is the time, humanity is the reason, and you are the only people on this planet who can put an end to this brutal and archaic practice forever.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No Sins Save Gluttony

Jonathan Leake, in the Sunday Times, reports that scientists have recently declared dolphins as “the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans.” Quite apart from the obvious evaluator bias, I am delighted that some among your kind finally recognize that whales and dolphins possess a level of intelligence, social skills, and self-awareness significantly higher than three-year-old children and chimpanzees—two groups to whom my kind has been erroneously compared in the past. Now I have nothing against children or chimps but please, a baby dolphin mere seconds after birth demonstrates cognitive, verbal, and motor skills far beyond those of either group, not to mention being able to echo-locate a shrimp at a thousand yards. Try that the next time you take your little one (or pet ape) to the seashore. Unfortunately, this declaration has apparently incensed some morons among your kind who have expressed their outrage in the blogosphere, at least to the degree that their monosyllabic minds and propensity for vulgarity allow. Whatever. Whether these buffoons like it or not, dolphins are equally as intelligent as humans are, and we are far less likely to exhibit the Seven Deadly Sins of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony—with the possible exception of gluttony, as might be the case whenever a school of fat, juicy anchovies is present.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What a Fin-tastic Start to the New Year!

Hello there. I am back. I hope that your holidays were safe and satisfying. As we start our journey together into the next decade, I am thrilled to report wonderful news out of Southern California. According to CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes, sightings of great whales in Santa Monica Bay have increased dramatically in recent weeks; including Fin, Blue, and Humpback Whales. Scientists among your kind are not sure why (go figure) but regardless of the reason, it is great news nonetheless. Now let us hope that the Japanese whaling fleet does not pull a Pearl Harbor sequel, and sail into US territorial waters with murder on their minds to begin slaughtering these magnificent cousins of mine. In the highly unlikely event that these mindless, cold-blooded killers tried that, I trust that the US Navy, with whom my kind has not always gotten along, would come to our rescue. Nothing would give whales and dolphins greater satisfaction than to see Japanese whaleboats rotting on the sea floor.