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Seasons of the whales

Seasons of the whales.

IN SEASONS OF THE WHALE, award winning science writer and veteran whale watcher Erich Hoyt offers a remarkable chronicle of a year in the life of about a dozen humpback, right, and blue whales. Moving through their migration cycles in the North Atlantic Ocean, the whales-Comet, Beltane, Talon, Stripe, June, and their companions-sing, fight, play, mate, and feed. In their travels, they meet many other animals, predators and prey, each of which plays a role in the ocean ecosystem. They also encounter toxic waste, oil slicks, and "ghost" fishing nets, and at times, their prey is contaminated. Many of the whales' activities are recorded in more than 75 color photographs by some of the world's finest marine photographers.

This is life at its grandest, for whales are the largest creatures ever to exist on Earth. Fierce fighters, they are survivors of centuries of carnage that eliminated more than 90 percent of the population of most species. Today, however, they fire the imagination of millions of whale watchers, and there are signs that they may return from the brink of extinction. But that will depend chiefly on the health of the seas. Researchers are learning that to save the whales, they must protect the ocean. If they can protect the whales' habitat in the North Atlantic, once the scene of death by harpoon and now the dump for the world's most industrial cities, that ocean may one day become a special place, "a hallowed sea where humans and whales can meet."

By Erich Hoyt.

Engelstalig, kleurenfoto's.

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