CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Hoyt, Erich.

Camden East (Ont.), Carnden House Publishing, c1984. 287pp, paper, $12,95, ISBN 0-920656-29-3. Distributed by Firefly. CIP

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Hugh Cook

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

In 1973, Erich Hoyt accepted the position as sound man on a crew whose job it was to make a movie about the killer whale. Hoyt was to create a soundtrack of the killer's "whistles" and by use of a synthesizer attempt to have the whales respond to man-made "whistles."

At this point in time very little was known about killer whales. They were believed to be fearless and ferocious flesh eaters. A few had been captured and were held in large aquariums, where they had become somewhat tame, but how would they react to man in the open sea? The slaughter, by some fishermen, who blamed the orca for poor salmon catches off the B.C. coast, and the large numbers that were being caught by aquarium entrepreneurs had caused some people to become concerned about whether the orca was becoming an endangered species.

For the next ten summers, Hoyt and a number of cameramen and conservationists searched the waters between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland for the orca pods. The team recorded the orcas' daily activities and their seasonal habits, as much as the time, weather and finances would permit. They discovered that these orca had no natural enemies, other than man; in this area primarily devoured salmon and other fish such as herring; neither feared nor were hostile to man; would eventually permit some men to witness their mating at the rubbing stones, Hoyt also came to the realization that the orca could become too trustworthy of man and readily become the victims of boat propeller blades or gun-toting men.

The book contains six coloured photographs and several black and white illustrations. There are charts on the orcas' known prey, orca pods, orca names, dates and numbers of orcas caught dead and alive, orcas held in captivity and by whom, historical accounts of orca sitings and activities. In addition, the book contains a table of contents, bibliography and index.

It is certainly a book well worth reading and would most probably influence its readers to become more tolerant of and protective toward the orca.

Hugh Cook, Calico P.S., North York, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works