SEA SHEPHERD: My Fight for Whales and Seals by Paul with Warren Rogers Watson

SEA SHEPHERD: My Fight for Whales and Seals

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Watson became interested in animals as a child, when he sat in the Toronto zoo with his artist grandfather who drew them. As a founder of Greenpeace he demonstrated against nuclear testing, then tore off to Wounded Knee to stand with the Indians. Initiated into the Oglala Sioux tribe for his part in the confrontation, he was visited in his sweat-lodge vision by a buffalo who told him to concentrate his commitment on saving the mammals of the sea, ""especially whales."" And so, with friends and allies, Watson now positions himself between whales and harpoons, or hops about on ice floes between the seal-skinners' clubs, determined to harass Canadian and Norwegian sealers or spray-paint the young white seals to spoil the value of their pelts. He tells of handcuffing his belt to a seal-ship's cable, thinking to prevent the hoisting of seals and instead being dragged and hoisted along, dunked several times ""like a mouse on a string,"" and then left in the water when his belt gives way. On another occasion he is kicked and beaten by Canadian Mounties and Fisheries officials and chased by a murderous mob of islanders when en route from jail to the helicopter sent by Cleveland Amory. Amory's Fund for Animals also purchased the Sea Shepherd, the ship with which Watson--now ousted from Greenpeace for excessive activism--pursues, rams, and wrecks the pirate whaler Sierra, a Japanese-owned vessel registered in Liechtenstein, flying the flag of Somalia, with a Norwegian captain and a South African crew. Detained by the Portuguese, the group finally sinks the Sea Shepherd to prevent its being turned into a whaler. Watson recognizes that his escapades have not directly saved the lives of many baby seals, but they have ""kicked up a hell of a row"" and aroused quite a few Canadians and others against the annual massacre. His kamikaze adventures should also dispel the bird-watcher image of conservationists for those who prefer a mix of cause and confrontation.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1982
ISBN: 0393335801
Publisher: Norton