Subject: Case Study: So. Right Whale & $$

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Mon, 11 Nov 1994 14:50:36

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Date: Fri, 11 Nov 1994 14:52:34 -0500 (EST)
From: WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org
Subject: Case Study: So. Right Whale & $$
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 11-NOV-1994 14:10:40.93
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Subj:	Southern right whales too
 
Date:         Fri, 11 Nov 1994 03:29:00 UTC
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
Subject:      Southern right whales too
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Southern right whales too popular in Argentina
 
BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) (11/10/94) - Southern right whales, which will
attract some 40,000 visitors to the Valdes peninsula on
Argentina's South Atlantic coast by December, are threatened by
the growth of tourism, a conservation group said Thursday.
     The southern right whale is an endangered species whose
catch has been banned by the International Whaling Commission.
Around 500 of the barely 3,000 still alive are drawn to the calm
waters around the Valdes peninsula every year to reproduce, wean
their calves and mate.
     The travel industry built around sightings of those whales
is expected to take in between $14 million and $20 million this
season. But the thousands of boat excursions that track the
whales are disrupting normal breeding habits and sightings could
become few and far between unless conservation rules are heeded,
the Argentine Wildlife Foundation (FVSA), an affiliate of the
Geneva-based World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said.
     "It's a critical time when reproduction coincides with
tourism," FVSA marine biologist Alejandro Vila said. He said
eight of every 10 tourist boats breach conservation standards
when they tour the area.
     "They chase the whales up against cliffs, track them in
tandem instead of individually and separate the calves from the
mothers," he said.
     Whale-watchers have shot up from 16,000 in 1991 to 33,000 in
1992 and about 40,000 this year. Among the measures successfully
applied to minimize their impact has been banning boats with
less than 20 passengers.
     Right whales reproduce only once every two or three years,
meaning protection of their breeding grounds on both sides of
the Atlantic is crucial, Vila said.