October 28, 2009
Whales and whalers face unknown future in southeast Asia

Residents of the Indonesian island of Flores are among the world’s whalers. However, plans for a new marine sanctuary may put an end to a way of life going back 500 years.

Daljit Dhaliwal talks about the fate of the world’s whales with Michael Novacek, the provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History.

Novacek discusses the effects regulation has had on the whale population. He also speaks about the impact that the marine sanctuary may have on indigenous Indonesian populations.

To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9
or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.

bookmark    print    Email

Comments

3 comments

#3

Thanks to the Indonesian government for establishing this sanctuary. This report and the interview that followed were utterly flaccid. The logical inconsistency that Michael Schanno noted bothered me too. It does leave open the possibility that “[p]rohibitting this small scale whaling might actually increase the environmental stressors on other sea life and frustrate the environmental aims of conservationists.” But the inconsistency does not give us positive evidence in favor of that thesis. The problem, of course, is not this small group of islanders, but Norway, Japan, and the other whaling nations. They need to stop killing whales.

#2

In the Northern artic native Eskimos cannot be chastised for killing salmon and other fish species, but in the tropics the killing of animals cannot be supported. [The fact that we should try to live in such a was as to cause the least amount of pain and suffering to other living beings is a point of morality that has not yet been accepted by humanity] however, the killing of advanced beings like whales should be immediately condemned by all civilized humans. It may be had on the islanders, but sometimes life is hard as we grow on the learning curve.

#1

There is a logical inconsistency in the original report and repeated by the Michael Novacek in the follow up interview: one reason for establishing the sanctuary and forbidding whaling by the indigenous people is given as protecting the sea life on which the whales feed. However, whaling as practiced by the native residents doesn’t threaten other sea life. Indeed, one could argue that continued whaling on the limited scale noted (approximately 30 whales per year) would reduce predation on other threatened species. Prohibitting this small scale whaling might actually increase the environmental stressors on other sea life and frustrate the environmental aims of conservationists.

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2014 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television