Whales loom large in the human imagination. From a history of animals being harpooned worldwide to today’s ecotourism operators and the work of marine biologists, whales have, for centuries, attracted myth, symbolism, significance, and exploitation.
But whales, and the waters they inhabit, are changing. Even as the international community draws closer to a ban on factory whaling, whales surface with disturbing news from the deep. Once-rare whale strandings, pollution and toxins accrued in whale bodies, plastics consumed by whales, the stress of exposure to industrial sound, and diseases contracted from livestock are direct results of human activity.