1) Why did I decide to work with marine mammals? Actually, they found me.
I saw a humpback whale breach from land in 1980 and that sent me to a small
research institution, where I volunteered for a while, then became a
professional in the field.
2) You have to careful around whales since a bump to them may be broken
bones for you. But humpback whales are amazingly good at not making
mistakes; I have never felt threatened or in danger around them, even close
3) Mentor: not really. But there are some scientists who were in the field
long before me who I very much admire: Roger Payne, Ken Norris, Bob
Brownell, Jim Mead.
4) See 1!
5) Whale hunting is practised (commercially) by Norway and japan, and
aboriginally by others. The biggest threats to whales today? Well, really
we're talking about the most endangered populations, which are: all
northern right whales, Atlantic bowhead whales, western Pacific gray whales
and most blue whale populations. For right whales and perhaps western
grays it is either ship collision and/or fishing gear entanglements. For
the other probably just their very small population sizes.
6) The future is good for most whales, which are making a strong comeback
from whaling. But the populations above are all critically endangered and
their future may not be as secure. It is hard to know what the impact of
pollution, overfishing, climate change etc is, but personally I think
climate change may affect some animals more than anything else. It's a
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