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Wildlife Whispers...

Gray Whales in Waiting
by Dee Walmsley

The other day my friend asked "How come it's against the law to shoot a crow, but we can kill whales?"

I didn't have an answer. 

You and I can't kill a whale but it may be only a matter of time until the industry is opened and these gentle giants, the delight of thousands of whale watchers will once again feel the pain of the harpoon and the indignity of sushi bars. The Norwegians and Japanese want the industry re-opened. They are encouraging other nations to demand their ceremonial rites in order to convince the world that whaling is just part of a fishing tradition owned by humans for their consumption and use.

To commemorate Earth Day
Image credit: John Walmsley

Will we never learn? The gray whale is just back from the brink of extinction and now instead of rejoicing we begin the killing spree all over again. Some might say that we must manage the oceans of the world. I say leave them alone: we have managed this planet to death. Daily, plants and animals are becoming extinct due to our mismanagement. Human population, habitat loss, deforestation, fragmentation, are all today's buzz words for the damage we are inflicting on our world.

A few years ago, I was invited to go whale watching on a research vessel. I would be spending a week aboard a sailboat amongst the gentle gray whales.

I never made the journey, and now I wonder if my window of opportunity to view these creatures of the sea is closing. A trust is being broken. An unspoken pact ripped apart by the searing pain of the Makah's harpoon, and the explosion of .50 caliber rifle bullets blowing blubber and brains into the waters of Neah Bay.

These shots will be heard around the world.

Reactions will be mixed, the media will have their day as will the Makah tribe, then all will be quiet until the next whale is sacrificed on the ceremonial slaughter grounds of Washington State.

Will the whales retaliate? Will they communicate amongst themselves that the sacred treaty has been broken? Or, will they continue to approach humans to be held in awe by some and abused by others, as is the way of the human race in its dominance over all.

Dee Walmsley is Clever's nature writer. She would love to hear from you.

To contact Dee: deew74@shaw.ca
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