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SeaWorld’s in Deep Water

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Behind Blackfish
by John Hargrove with Howard Chua-Eoan
Palgrave MacMillan, 2015, 264 pages

On its website, the marine-park conglomerate SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment says that it is a “leading theme park and entertainment company that blends imagination with nature.” Parse the sentence, and you’ll see that this is little more than marketing-speak for saying that the company offers its visitors a kind of fantasy. Captive marine mammals frolicking and doing tricks for crowds of humans – it’s a make-believe vision of what the ocean might…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Summer 2015

Earth Island Advances New SeaWorld Lawsuit

International Marine Mammal Project

On April 13, two former visitors to SeaWorld who paid to attend the marine park in San Diego, CA filed suit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on the basis of false and misleading claims made by SeaWorld about the health and welfare of captive orca whales. The plaintiffs are represented by Covington & Burling LLP, which is being assisted by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project. As one of the world’s leading…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Summer 2015

Former Orca Trainer John Hargrove on the SeaWorld ‘Facade’

Blackfish star slams the marine entertainment giant for ‘disgusting’ treatment of whales

During his 12 years as an orca trainer at SeaWorld, John Hargrove became increasingly concerned about the impacts of captivity on the whales he cared for. After leaving his job at SeaWorld, Hargrove became a powerful force in the campaign against whale captivity…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – April 23, 2015

Is the Taiji Slaughter Wiping Out Japan’s Bottlenose Dolphins?

Prized dolphin catch at the notorious "Cove" declined by 80% this hunting season

Another season of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, reached its end in February, although some dolphins, notably the pilot whales, will continue to be harpooned offshore through March at least. The gory hunt season, made notoriously famous by the award-winning documentary The…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – March 19, 2015

Creatures of Chance

The Meaning of Human Existence
By Edward O. Wilson
W.W. Norton & Co., 2014, 208 pages

With his copy of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species firmly in hand, biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson sets out in his new book to answer the loaded question posed by the title – The Meaning of Human Existence. In this slim volume, the veteran scientist (who is now 85) offers a thought-provoking treatise on the age-old question and other related issues – like super-organisms, religion, and free…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Spring 2015

Major Disease Outbreaks are Inevitable in Our Increasingly Connected World

In Review: Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

The next big human epidemic may not come from your neighbor’s sniffles – it may come from a cave, a tree in a tropical forest, or a duck pond. Spillover poses this unique quandary: Diseases in wildlife are now able to spread…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – January 16, 2015

Blue Whale Recovery Report Leaves Room for Caution

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…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – September 12, 2014

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