CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 1999
"The thrill of discovery has never left him and now Detective Darling is hot on the trail of another humpback."Humpback whales are the 'nomads of the sea,' traveling up to 5,000 miles every year in a migration from their northern feeding grounds to their southern breeding grounds. They are easily recognizable for their singing ability and their long pectoral fins which are usually white. Two out of every three humpbacks are killed by whalers. Only one generation ago, whales were hardly ever photographed and very little was known about them. Until the late 1960s and early 1970s, all scientific information about them was gathered via corpses. Dr. Jim Darling was one of the first scientists to study whales in their natural environment.
This video imparts a lot of information about these whales. It was not realized until 1979 that whales migrated. Dr. Darling compared photographs with a colleague from SE Alaska, and they realized that the photographs were of the same whales. Since Dr. Darling "migrates" from Vancouver Island to Hawaii alongside the whales he studies, there is ample opportunity for marvelous photography and learning opportunities. One of the more interesting elements of the humpback is its song which the video discusses at some length.
This is not always the easiest of videos to watch. One way conservationists brought attention to the plight of these whales was, in the fashion of Greenpeace, to place themselves between whalers and the whales and to film the results. The resulting footage of whaling is not pleasant, but it is very useful for educating the public and what could turn out to be the next generation of conservationists.
Betsy Fraser is a librarian with the Calgary Public Library.
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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.