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Blue Whale Recovery Report Leaves Room for Caution – September 12, 2014

New study only relevant to the Eastern Pacific Ocean; other blue whale populations around the world remain severely depressed

A recent report that the blue whales along the California coast in the Eastern Pacific Ocean have recovered from the severe damage done to the population by commercial whaling, which continued up until the mid-1960s on these giants, has gone viral on the Internet. While the story is a positive one, there is room for some caution.

Blue Whale off Redondo BeachPhoto by millerm217/FlickrBlue Whale spotted near Redondo Beach, CA. Of continuing concern is the fact that the seas the blue whales are swimming in are still in peril.

The headlines imply more scientific certainty about the findings than may be warranted, and… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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In Review: War of the Whales – August 1, 2014

A gripping tale of how two environmentalists took on the US Navy to save our ocean’s giants

Joshua Horwitz has come up with an outstanding book about whales, the environment, and the clash between whales and the US Navy. Deeply researched over six years, this well paced and exciting book is both an education in whale and acoustic science and in how environmental issues grow from relative obscurity to become front-page news.

photo of a beached whale, two people examining it showing the scalephoto by Aleria Jensen, NOAA/NMFS/AKFSC (Wikimedia Commons)Whales rely on their acute and highly specialized hearing for communication, navigation, and detecting predators. Underwater sonar pulses used in during Naval exercises disorients and sometimes leads to their death.

War of the… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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The Decision to Wage Nuclear War Should Rest With the Body Politic, Argues Author – May 23, 2014

Book Review: Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom

Elaine Scarry has written a clarion call for action against nuclear weapons that deserves to be heard. Not since Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth has a book come along that lays out the case against such weapons, from a legal and democratic ethics position.  (Schell died in March, a great loss of an excellent writer.  I highly recommend his book.)

Santa Rita MountainsPhoto courtesy the US GovernmentA 15-megaton thermonuclear device was detonated at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1952. Elaine Scarry says that the power of only a few people in our government to go to war with atomic weapons is… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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Activists Sue Taiji Whaling Museum to Save Albino ‘Angel’ – May 16, 2014

Suit addresses conditions of captive dolphins and takes aim at the notorious dolphin hunts in Japan

Ric O’Barry, director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project, and Sarah Lucas, CEO of Australians for Dolphins, visited the notorious Taiji Whaling Museum in Japan with a special surprise yesterday — a writ for a lawsuit against the museum for keeping animals experts and Western activists out of the museum.

All for the sake of Angel.

Taiji Whaling MuseumPhoto by Mark J PalmerAngel is a baby albino dolphin who was caught in January during a Taiji dolphin hunt. She is kept on display at the Taiji Whale Museum shown above.

Angel is the baby albino dolphin that was caught in January during a… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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New California Bill Seeks to Ban Orcas in Captivity – March 12, 2014

If passed, legislation will mean an end to killer whale shows at SeaWorld, San Diego

A new bill has just been introduced in California that would phase out orcas captivity in the state. Assembly Bill 2140 (pdf), introduced by Assemblymember Richard Bloom last week, seeks a ban on keeping killer whales in captivity for human entertainment and retire all captive orcas to sea pens.

Orca at SeaWorldPhoto by Jesse MeansAn orca performs a flip during a "Shamu - Believe" show at Seaworld, San Diego. Depite growing evidence, SeaWorld rejects claims that forcing killer whales to perform is dangerous to both orcas and trainers.

While the proposed legislation, dubbed the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, doesn’t specifically name… more

by: Mark J. Palmer

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