Info: Festival of Whales, Washington (state)

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 1 May 1995 08:31:01

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Date: Mon, 01 May 1995 08:29:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Festival of Whales, Washington (state)
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Subject:      Festival of Whales
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      Debate will address ethical issues of captivity vs. release for
whales and dolphins.
Dr. David Bain, a representative of Marine World Foundation,
will debate Benjamin White, Pacific director of Friends of
Animals, on the question of the ethics of captivity for whales
and dolphins, and whether captive cetaceans should be released.
The debate will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 11,
1995, at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. Dr. Bain, a
Friday Harbor resident, is a member of the International Marine
Animal Trainers Association with a degree in behavioral
biology, and has been vocal in his opposition to the release of
orcas back to their natural environments. Mr. White has
coordinated efforts to implement release plans for whales and
dolphins, and has conducted publicity-generating events to
garner public support for release efforts. A panel discussion with
audience participation will follow the debate. The debate will be
the highlight of the week-long Festival of Whales, May 5-14, in
Friday Harbor and around San Juan Island.
The question of release for captive whales is rapidly becoming a
provocative topic of discussion, partly as a result of the message
of the film Free Willy, and the ensuing hotly debated release
plans for its star, Keiko, an Icelandic orca. The issue is also
being catapulted into public consciousness in the Puget Sound
area with the well-publicized Lolita Project. With the support of
Washington Governor Mike Lowry and Sec. of State Ralph
Munro, the Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island hopes
to return Lolita, the last surviving whale captured from Puget
Sound, to her family and natural habitat. The future of the
billion dollar a year marine theme park industry will depend on
the outcome of society's deliberation of this ethical question.
Also included in the week-long Festival will be talks by J.
Michael Williamson of Massachusetts on how whale watches
can be more educational for children, and the use of the internet
for whale education. Williamson is also scheduled to talk about
the whales of New England, the history of whaling, and a
workshop on creating a life-size inflatable fin whale. Other
lectures during the festival will discuss the proposed Northwest
Straits Marine Sanctuary, led by Aaron Tinker; Kelley Balcomb
will talk about growing up with whales; and Howard Garrett will
give an update on the Lolita Project. There will also be
workshops on whale photography with whale photographer Fred
Felleman; individual whale identification on board whale watch
vessels and at Whale Watch Park on San Juan Island, a kayaking
workshop, a children's slide show and an opportunity for
children to sleep overnight at The Whale Museum. On the
evening of May 10th, Dr. Bain will describe his rescue of seven
killer whales from a stranding event in Alaska. The interweaving
rhythms and harmonies of the marimba band "Musasa" will
incite dancing to inaugurate the Festival on Friday evening, May