Re: whaling

From: Greg Early (gearly1@earthlink.net)
Date: Mon Oct 20 2003 - 11:11:24 EDT

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    Yikes ...

    I - and a lot of other people - wish they had a good answer to this one. The problem is that we just do not know and even scientists can not agree exactly on either one of these questions. We know for certain that hunting in the past has reduced the number of whales (in some cases dramatically). In some cases the populations appear to have recovered (gray whales) and in some cases they appear to have not (north Atlantic right whales). The ecosystems the whales live in have changed over time as well, so it is hard to say just how whale populations will do (if they are hunted or not in the future).

    Recently a group of scientists calculated how many whales they thought were in the ocean before hunting. This had been done before by other scientists, but, this estimate was a LOT higher than anyone expected (or anyone imagined before). The scientists based their calculations on genetic evidence, but even so, the study raised big questions about what we know (or thought we knew) about populations before whaling. For example, North Atlantic humpback whales (a population that has been very well studied and you would think we knew a lot about) is estimated to be about 12,000 whales today. Prior to this recent study the best guess at the pre-whaling population was about 40,000 whales. That is not great, but it is not a bad recovery either. The new study however says that there were about 240,000 whales in that population before hunting. It would mean that recovery has not been that good. It also means that someone's estimates are very wrong. So far not a lot of scientists think the new estimates are an
    y where close to right, but it does make you think ...

    ge

    -----Original Message-----
    From: NICKYWHT@aol.com
    Sent: Oct 17, 2003 3:25 PM
    To: gearly1@earthlink.net, pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: whaling

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    <DIV><EM><FONT face=Home>what are the effects on whaling today? how many whales were killed and how many remain now? </font></em></div>
    <DIV><EM><FONT face=Home>megan simmons</font></em></div></body></html>



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