Right whales entangled by politics
To researchers’ chagrin, measures that might save more of the rare animals have been held up by the White House.
By Colin S. Woodard| August 26, 2008 edition
Correspondent Colin Woodard has encountered many sea species in his reporting career, but he’s never met the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered species on the planet.
Correspondent Colin S. Woodard
SAINT JOHN, N.B., CANADAAt the New Brunswick Museum, the right whale skeleton is a hit. Children gaze up in awe at the 40-foot-long assembly, which hangs from the ceiling with dinosaurlike grandeur. One boy points out to his mother that she could fit the family car inside its ribcage.
But for right whale researchers, this is more than a skeleton: It’s the remains of Delilah, a female whale they’d studied for more than a decade, observing her courtships, the parenting of her first calf, and, sadly, her death in 1993 off Grand Manan Island, 50 miles southwest of here.
“When you study these animals, it definitely gets personal,” says Laurie Murison of the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station. She saw the whale with her calf two weeks before she was struck by a passing ship. “You lose too many that just shouldn’t die,” she says. More ...