The New York Whale and Dolphin Action League Presents
WHALES AND THE QUEST FOR SURVIVAL
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Pace University-Pleasantville: Gottesman Room, Kessel Campus Center
Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 5:30 pm
What is it about whales and dolphins that is so intriguing?
Why are we drawn to them, why are we so eager to watch and
understand them? They live in what is to us a cold and hostile
ocean environment; our perception of the hazards they face is
dimmed by our physical intolerance of their habitat. We can't
travel with them, to see what they see and know what they know.
Still we wonder. Just what are whales facing in the 21st
century? Are their perils linked to human activity? If so, what
can we do about it?
Despite our fascination with these top of the food chain
marine mammals, we must confront a sobering truth: that today,
paralleling the rate of extinction in other habitats both on
land and sea, many species and populations of cetaceans are
poised to disappear forever from the earth. Close to home,
there are less than 350 North Atlantic Right Whales remaining,
while there are fewer than 100 Western Pacific Gray Whales.
(NOAA) Things are even grimmer for many species of river
dolphins, including the famous Yangtzee or Chinese River
dolphin, with just a few dozen left. (IUCN) Notwithstanding
these troubling numbers, whale watching has become big business
and a welcome economic boost to developing nations, and
understanding whale intelligence and behavior has never before
seemed so captivating. Still, tens of thousands of whales have
been slaughtered since the ban on commercial whaling was put in
place by the International Whaling Commission in the late
1980's. A host of other problems beset cetaceans today, from
acoustic pollution and oil production to the mindless disposal
of food packaging material, balloons and plastics in the marine
environment. The great whales: blue, sei, fin and sperm whales,
are endangered, many others like the playful humpback whales
that entertain us on east coast whale watch trips, are
threatened or depleted.
Public concern along with population statistics support
efforts to protect, and ways to achieve this are rooted in
commitment and even creativity. Solutions to huge problems are
close at hand, but can we implement these in time to save these
wondrous leviathans, our oceanic cousins?
Join the New York Whale and Dolphin Action League for a
discussion of the survival of whales in the 21st century in
Pleasantville, NY, at PACE UNIVERSITY's Gottesman Room at the
Kessel Campus Center. For more information contact us at
or 914-793-9186. For directions visit