A search for the endangered beluga whales of Cook Inlet, Alaska, becomes a personal journey and an expose of the forces arrayed against this fascinating--and troubled--species Living in waters adjacent to Anchorage, Alaska, the beluga whales of Cook Inlet are an isolated and genetically distinct population. Thought to number more than 1000 in the early 1990s, a sharp population decline has brought them near extinction. Original in approach and incisive in its questions, Beluga Days explores how conservation laws, management policies, and human behaviors have affected the shrinking beluga population. From hunters, regulators, environmentalists, researchers, and businesspeople to whale enthusiasts, Lord encounters an ongoing debate wrestling with the immediate need to protect the whales, as well as a respect for the centuries-old tradition of Native subsistence hunting. Beyond its compelling characters and particulars, Lord’s story offers readers a deeper understanding of the often uncomfortable, often rewarding, juxtaposition of humans and the natural world.
Animal communication expert Jim Nollman has sung with orcas, plucked a Jew''s harp in waters teeming with humpback whales, and shaken rattles in the company of bottlenose dolphins. Now, in this heartfelt and quirky true adventure story, Nollman and two artist friends set out for Canada''s vast Mackenzie Delta, electric guitar and underwater sound equipment in tow, to make music with belugas--the elusive white whales of the Arctic. Traveling the expanses of this beautiful northern land, the three friends unwittingly find themselves at the center of a heated controversy over the Beaufort Sea belugas: Why have the whales stopped coming into the Mackenzie Delta, possibly jeopardizing their own calves, who live the first part of their lives in these shallow, warm waters? As they attempt to unravel the mystery, they encounter various intriguing characters now laying claim to the resources of the Mackenzie Delta region--Native people (who are allowed to hunt the whales), wildlife officials, and oil company engineers--all vividly described by Nollman. Along the way, he also conveys both the wonders and the realities of being deep in the wilderness--experiencing the connectedness of all living things while scratching the bites of the world''s most fearsome mosquitos.With its rich and passionate nature writing evoking lovely and remote landscapes, The Beluga Café suggests profound metaphors for our time about animal rights and animal intelligence, the role of science in conservation, the politics of extinction, and the place of art in the epic struggle to save the natural world.
Has anyone read either of these?