Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. V No. 4 October 1996


By William Rossiter

Five superb, superior and softbound books CSI recommends:

Down Under Dolphin is much more than a marvelously complete book about the diminutive Hector's dolphin of New Zealand. Written by Dr. Elizabeth Slooten and Dr. Steve Dawson, the two experts in the world who know these dolphins best. It is also an expressive, compassionate example of how much scientists can do for the creatures they study. With their exceptional talents and energy Liz and Steve's pioneering research in the 80's proved how the Hector's dolphin was exceptionally vulnerable to human fisheries. Now their students carry on work in the Sanctuary that they helped create to protect New Zealand's own dolphin. Yes, this book can tell the general reader almost everything about this dolphin and its cousins, but more, it will show how superb science can be when done by experts who really care. 1996, Canterbury University Press, 60 pages, superb photographs.

Baleias e Golfinos is the first modern cetacean book written in Portuguese for the general reader, and with it Marcos CÚsar de Olivera Santos has reached out to millions in Brazil and elsewhere where there was nothing effective before. Marcos has demonstrated extraordinary maturity and skill at a young age, and his book is excellent science written as a work of art, a culturally astute description of creatures he knows well and cares deeply about, and a remedial and certain influence on public attitudes for the future. You can't read Portuguese? Then buy this book to send to some of the millions who do. What a gift! 1996, SÚrie Investigando, Editora Atica S.A., Sao Paulo, Brazil, 60 pages. (contact CSI and we'll work on it).

Humpback Whales is a book to be loved; it's about the humpback whales we all love, and it's written by Dr Philip Clapham, who's been studying them lovingly at least 15 years. Phil put his heart into a flowing, evocative and thorough narrative of current scientific knowledge on this well-studied species from the perspective of a world authority, personalizing it with his experiences with Salt, Thalassa, and others. His book is designed to reach people who hate to read science and Phil will show you almost all that we know about humpbacks, and why we should care to know more. 1996, Voyageur Press, 72 pages, over 50 incredible photos by many famous friends.

Orcas in Our Midst brings us the richness of the orca clans of the Salish Sea, from Puget Sound north to the Georgia Straits. These are the best studied and most revered orcas in the world, with remarkably complete family histories and personalities. Howard Garrtett's writing and many Kelley Balcomb-Bartok's illustrations and photos make this booklet glow with scientific facts and personal experiences, and the message is one of respect, admiration, and celebration for a creature far more awesome in reality than it is in myth. 1995, Center for Whale Research, 32 pages, many illustrations and photos.

Whales and Dolphins Inside and Out by Nathalie Ward and Carole Carlson, with illustrations by Tessa Morgan, is another in the brilliant array that includes Wet, Wild and Rare, Do Whales Ever...? and Jump With Whales. All are certain to get children enthralled with whales and dolphins. "An activities book about whales and dolphins of the Caribbean", this bouncy book can work on kids anywhere, and is absolutely guaranteed to make any teacher's life much easier. Supporting the big puzzles and crayon-inviting pages are sophisticated facts and drawings that make much more expensive educational efforts pale by comparison. 1996, International Fund for Animal Welfare, 34 pages, crammed with stuff to do and learn.

Humpback whale photo

Humpback whale "Badge" off the coast of Rye,
New Hampshire (past Isles of Shoals).
Photo by Valerie Barnes, 5 August 1996

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