why whales?

From: Kim Marshall (kimm@oceanalliance.org)
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 11:09:48 EST


>Question:
I am writing to you to see if you can help me understand why it is so
>important to save whales. Since they are at the top of the food chain and
>not dependent on for food. What affects would it have on aquatic ecosystems
>if they did not exist?
>
Reply:
Dear Angela, your question is a good one. To attempt to answer you I have
quoted a section of a book written by the president of my organization, Dr.
Roger Payne. The book is called "Among Whales" and I suggest that you read
it to learn more general information about the important role whales play
on earth.
The passage is from Page 31: "The irreducible minimum ecosytem is a food
pyramid with a single pair of predators on top. But it is a doomed
ecosystem unless enough such pyramids are preserved to ensure the
perpetuity of the predator species. In this sense a whale does not exist
part from its pyramid...it is one with its pyramid....it is the
pyramid....."

Referring to the health of environmental ecosystems we view whales as
wide-ranging marine animals that feed in the same food web as commercially
important fish species, they make excellent indicators of the health of
that web, and thus of the health risks that all animals, including humans,
face by eating food from the seas.

I hope this answers your question - please refer to WhaleNet's web site
pages for more information and our web site at www.oceanalliance.org.
Thanks! Kim

Whale Conservation Institute/Ocean Alliance
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA
(781) 259-0423
www.oceanalliance.org



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