MadSci Network: Environment

Re: What are your personal views on whale hunting?

Date: Fri Sep 5 15:07:18 2008
Posted By: David Richman, Staff, Entomology
Area of science: Environment
ID: 1220629045.En

This is a bit of an odd question for a physics class! However I will try to answer it. I am first of all an arachnologist (I study spiders) and an entomologist (insects) and not a mammalogist or marine biologist, so I am not as qualified to answer questions on these subjects. I can answer it as a professional biologist, however.

I find whales to be fascinating organisms. I have in fact been on three whale-watch trips, two successful and one unsuccessful. In the first, off Ensenada, Baja California, we saw about two dozen gray whales in three or four pods; in the second off Yakina Head, Oregon, we saw no whales; and this year off the San Juan Islands near Vancouver, British Columbia, we saw two pods of orcas (killer whales). Smaller cetaceans seen include Pacific white-sided dolphins, bottle-nosed dolphins (off Cedar Key, Florida) and a harbor porpoise.

Because I like seeing living whales and porpoises I really don't like to have them killed. They are intelligent and curious, as well as being interesting to observe. In a world where it is usually unnecessary to kill such wild animals (exceptions might be for native peoples who have normally hunted some whales), I see no real reason to hunt them. This is especially true because many are rare and some endangered. If they disappeared, the world would be much the poorer for it in my opinion.

See: Wikipedia - Whale at

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