Human and Whale interactions - a growing sign of cooperation and appreciation?

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Human and Whale interactions - a growing sign of cooperation and appreciation?

A great article on the relationships between friendly whales and humans.

Whales, we now know, teach and learn. They scheme. They cooperate, and they grieve. They recognize themselves and their friends. They know and fight back against their enemies. And perhaps most stunningly, given all of our transgressions against them, they may even, in certain circumstances, have learned to trust us again.

Whale! Two o’clock!” our boatman and guide, Ranulfo Mayoral, shouted one morning in March, steering toward a distant spout of vapor above the clear blue waters of western Baja’s Laguna San Ignacio, where I’d gone in hopes of experiencing firsthand this ever-evolving relationship between humans and whales.

We had been out in Mayoral’s 18-foot fishing skiff, or panga, the Dolphin II, for less than 20 minutes — myself, a marine mammal behavioralist named Toni Frohoff and a group of three other whale watchers — and already we had a number of gray whales in our sights, yet another exhalation appearing now along the Pacific’s horizon, followed, in turn, by the balletic, sun-glistened flourish of a suddenly upraised tail, or fluke.

They largely elude us, whales, thus their deep allure. The earth’s most massive creatures, they nevertheless spend the bulk of their lives off in their own element, beyond our ken, about as close as fellow mammals can get to being extraterrestrials.

Other than the occasional disoriented stray or the victims of strandings, whales typically visit us only fleetingly, to grab a passing breath of air or, rarer still, when they’re breaching: spectacular, body-long heaves, the impetus for which still baffles scientists, who have attributed them to everything from sheer exuberance to attempts to shake off body lice. And yet for all of their inherent elusiveness, the gray whales of Baja baffle scientists for the opposite reason: They can’t seem to get enough of us humans.

Read the whole article (its worth the time) http://www.nytimes.com/2009...
By netchicken: posted on 12-7-2009








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