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A Compelling Chronicle of Our Fraught Relationship with the Polar Bear – March 3, 2017

In Review: Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon

Instead of a “natural history” of the iconic polar bear, anthropologist, wilderness guide and author Michael Engelhard has written a cultural history, showing the evolution of the polar bear as an icon through the ages, meaning something different to different generations and cultures. This is a book about human perceptions, dreams and experiences of the polar bear more than about the Ursus maritimus itself.

three polar bears sitting on icePhoto by Cheryl StrahlIce Bear shows how the lure of the unknown, the exotic, is a recurrent theme in human experiences of the polar bear.

With meticulous details and stories pulled from a… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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Will Japan Stop Whaling and Killing Dolphins in Time for the Tokyo Olympics? – September 13, 2016

The Olympics are all about cooperation and celebration, the slaughter of marine mammals are anything but.

Since the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect in 1986, Japan has repeatedly flaunted the will of the IWC by issuing hundreds of scientific permits to Japan whalers for "research whaling." The scam has been repeatedly denounced by the IWC, by other nations, and was deemed illegal by the World Court in The Hague. Much of the killing, in addition to violating the moratorium, was conducted in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, designated by the IWC as a protected zone for whales.

Japanese Wavesphoto by Taymaz Valley/FlickrJapan has repeatedly flaunted the will of the International Whaling Commission by issuing… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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SeaWorld Drops Lawsuit Against CA Coastal Commission Over Breeding Ban – August 4, 2016

Move spells an end to captive orca breeding in California

Last week SeaWorld dropped a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission that challenged the agency’s right to impose a ban on breeding killer whales in exchange for approving the expansion of SeaWorld San Diego’s orca tank.

photo of SeaWorldphoto by Tammy LoSeaWorld has dropped a lawsuit against the California Coastal Commission challenging the agency's right to impose a ban on breeding orcas.

SeaWorld has since dropped the expansion plan, and in March it had announced that it would no longer breed its captive orcas in any of its three parks in the US. But for some reason it had persisted with the lawsuit,… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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Preserving Half the Earth – May 6, 2016

In Review: Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life
By Edward O. Wilson
W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, 259 pages

Biologist and prolific writer Edward O. Wilson, professor emeritus of Harvard University, has thrown down a challenge to humankind. In order to preserve the biological diversity of the Earth — all the plant and animal species that share our planet — we should set aside half the surface of the Earth in the form of biological preserves, with the remaining half devoted to human needs and resources.

Photo of Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life Book Cover

A tall order!

In fact, several reviewers have objected to his new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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Taiji Whale Museum Convicted of Discrimination Against Westerners – March 25, 2016

Japanese court finds museum at fault for blocking entry of Australian anti-dolphin hunt activists

In a major blow to the Taiji dolphin slaughter, a Japanese court in Wakayama Prefecture has ruled that the Taiji Whale Museum, owned and operated by the town government of Taiji, discriminated against Westerners by denying them entry to the museum. Western supporters of ending the annual Taiji dolphin slaughter, made famous by the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, have sought entry to the museum to assess the status of captive dolphins held there that are caught in conjunction with the bloody drive hunts.

Photo of Angel at Taiji Whale MuseumPhoto by Angel Melody Angel is one of the dolphins on display at the Taiji… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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