Subject: Why Save The Whales?

Phillip Colla (oceanlight@oceanlight.com)
Wed, 09 Jun 1999 08:36:11 -0700

>    I'm a student doing a project about humpback whales.
>    Why do we have to save the whales?
>    Thank you very much for your help.

Whale conservation is a huge area of study, and a politically
sensitive one at that.  Some people want to hunt whales, some
people don't care that human actions affect whales in a negative
way (e.g., pollution), and other people are strongly opposed to
human actions that harm whales.  These opinions set the stage for
serious conflict and struggle between the parties that have an
interest in whales, whaling and environmental conservation.

I am involved primarily in the study of
humpback whale behavior, and prefer not to comment too much on
conservation and saving the whales.

Your question has to do with what value we place on whales,
and also what value whales have in and of themselves without
regard to human feelings about them.  Do they have a right to
exist?  Do we have a right to hunt them?  Do we have a right to
alter the environment in which they live in such a way as to
endanger their survival?  What would the world be like if there
were no whales left?  How would the absence of whales affect other
aspects of the environment, ecology, the food chain, etc.?

Your question is more about philosophy, ethics, conservation and
sustainability, so rather than try to answer it myself I will
point you to a few web sites that may help.  In general, the
conservation sites have mission statements that eloquently describe
"why we should save whales".

Conservation:

http://www.greenpeace.org/

http://www.wdcs.org/

http://www.wwf.org/

http://www.earthtrust.org/

http://elfnet1a.elfi.com/csihome.html

http://www2.seashepherd.org/orgs/sscs/

http://www.cousteau.org/

Hunting:

http://www.highnorth.no/

There are also links to conservation groups on:

http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/interwhale.html

Some past Whalenet communications on whale conservation
include:

http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/ask97/0138.html

http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/ask96/0060.html

http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/ask97/0201.html

http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/ask98/0284.html

http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/ask98/0347.html