Threats to whale populations are abundant, but there are many human allies working together around the world to protect their fragile populations.
Young explores how cetologists, researchers, and citizen scientists work individually and cooperatively to protect whales from such hazards as climate change, commercial fishing and shipping, water and noise pollution, and unregulated whale-watching tourism. Before going into specifics about conservation efforts, Young explains the evolution and nature of cetaceans, how the whaling industry brought many species to the brink of extinction, and early conservation efforts that resulted in the establishment of the International Whaling Commission. She also notes how popular films such as Free Willy and Whale Rider and award-winning documentaries like Blackfish and Dolphin Cove have helped spread appreciation for cetaceans and raised public consciousness about conservation issues. One chapter explores the controversy of whale captivity, with Sea World at the center of a widespread public backlash against the practice. For those with a taste for the icky and gross, Young explores how much researchers can learn from whale feces and snot. A closing guide to whale species offers a sobering reminder of the terrible toll taken on whales by humans. The blue whale population, for example, is estimated now at 5,000, down from a pre-hunting population of 200,000.
An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth’s largest mammals. (maps, photos, source notes, glossary, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12-16)