Monday Night Speaker Series – 4 March 2013

Every Monday we are treated to a speaker and a catered dinner, by the talented  Chef Stacy. This week’s speaker was Sue Rocca from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDC); her presentation was supported by Scott Leonard of the Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program, and Captain Blair Perkins of Explore Nantucket. Scott led of the discussion with this passage from Moby Dick: “…and as human infants while suckling will calmly and fixedly gaze away from the breast, as if leading two different lives at the time; and while yet drawing mortal nourishment, be still spiritually feasting upon some unearthly reminiscence; even so did the young of these whales seem looking up towards us…”  The quote illustrates an essential point about how humans should view the other species of animals, specifically mammals, in context of the environment; We are not distantly related, but are remarkably close! Animals, specifically whales, experience emotions and have complex and nuanced social interactions just as we do. They just have a different situation on the planet than we do. Sue’s presentation focused on the successes of the WDC as well as the challenges the organization experiences dealing with legally conserving the mostly coastal habitat of Right Whales. Since the collapse of whale populations in the Atlantic after the advent of Whaling, populations have not recovered well. Only recently have developments in research methods allowed a deeper study into what is left of whales, globally but, specifically in the Atlantic. WDC is doing great work advocating for all species of Whales and Dolphins and it was extremely informative and inspiring to be reminded of the tough reality faced by othe rspecies of animals around the planet.

Please check out WDC’s website @ http://www.wdcs.org

And be sure to check out the local, Nantucket initiative  @ http://www.nantucketmarinemammals.org

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