Tag Archives: Whales

WDCS Species Guide

WDCS, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has just launched a comprehensive on-line guide to whales and dolphins. This species guide provides interesting and easy to use insights into their habitats and behavior.  In it you will find information on the 85 currently recognized species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively known as ‘cetaceans’.

The guide, which is of particular use to students, researchers, the tourist trade, and journalists, comes in three languages, and provides interesting and easy to use insights into the creature’s habitats, behaviour, and where to find them. It also features 80 maps, over 400 images, a threat index (which highlights the level of danger facing each species).

click on this image to get to the database

Philip Hoare on NPR’s “OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook”

Author Philip Hoare is interviewed by on NPR’s “OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook”. He’s author of “The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea” and writer and presenter of the BBC documentary “The Hunt for Moby-Dick.”

Listen to the Tom Ashbrook interview Philip Hoare, callers to the program, and whale songs at wbur.org

Dyer, Mayo Kick off Museum Lecture Series

The Man and Whales: Changing Views Through Time lecture series returns for its second season, starting on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 7:30 pm, with a reception at 6:30 pm in the Jacobs Family Gallery.  Join us in the New Bedford Whaling Museum theater for this series that blends science and history as our speakers examine historical and current aspects of a variety of whale-related topics.

All Tied Up

In the days of Yankee whaling, staying connected to the whale you harpooned was critical if you were going to turn that animal into the products that made money for the ship owners and crew.  A vital part of the capture operation was the rope that ran from harpoon to whale boat.  That rope linked you to the whale, and ultimately to the success of your hunt.

In recent decades, the opposite is true.  Maximum effort is made to disconnect any lines that are found attached to whales.  Disentanglement teams, sinking ropes, cooperation among a variety of resource users and new legislation comprise the current, ongoing efforts to keep the ropes away from the whales.

Michael Dyer, Maritime Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum has devoted a great deal of his research efforts to thoroughly understanding the process of the boat-based whale hunt.  Mike’s presentation will guide you through the process of getting fast to, staying with, and bringing to ship’s starboard staging, the whales targeted by our ships.

Charles ‘Stormy’ Mayo, Senior Scientist, Director of the Right Whale Habitat Studies program at Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies has over two decades of experience in the risky but often rewarding field of whale disentanglement.  He will share several experiences of the vital work that he and the staff at PCCS, in conjunction with a variety of federal and state agencies and university programs, lead along the East Coast to free whales from the lines that restrict movement and endanger survival.

Man and Whales will continue on March 31, April 14 and May 19, each night at 7:30 pm in the New Bedford Whaling Museum theater.  Admission is free for all presentations.  Man and Whales: Changing Views Through Time is sponsored through ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations) a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement.

New Exhibit: From Pursuit to Preservation

The New Bedford Whaling Museum announces the opening of an exciting new permanent exhibition, From Pursuit to Preservation: The History of Human Interaction with Whales, which explains and explores the human fascination with whales and the history of whaling in New Bedford in a global context.

A humpback whale caught at Icy Cape in August 1912 with the crew who made the strike.

A humpback whale caught at Icy Cape in August 1912 with the crew who made the strike.

This comprehensive multimedia presentation, developed with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ECHO (Education Through Cultural and Historical Organizations) funding, and the generous contributions of Museum supporters, forms a new focal point for visitors experiencing the Whaling Museum. From Pursuit to Preservation guides visitors through the story of humankind’s evolving relationship with whales, from the whale as a source of survival and symbolic power, through to its exploitation for commercial wealth, to the first gropings toward scientific inquiry and contemporary methods of observation and study.

Whalebone processing in the yard of Pacific Steam Whaling Company

Whalebone processing in the yard of Pacific Steam Whaling Company

From ancient times, people have used the meat, oil, and bone of whales as important resources for their communities. The whale’s importance to humans’ physical well-being often fostered a symbolic cultural connection, a relationship that took many forms throughout the centuries and continues to evolve in contemporary art, literature, and popular culture. In From Pursuit to Preservation, the Whaling Museum takes visitors on a journey across time and around the world, using many items from its vast collection including unique maritime artifacts and art, photographs and whale skeletons as well as a listening station, digital picture frames, and thought-provoking interpretive signs to involve visitors in the discovery of the symbolic, spiritual, and cultural connections we share with these majestic and increasingly endangered animals.


Floating-Factory Ship THORSHAMMER with whales along side, circa 1928

Humans’ complex relationship with whales is told from the early harvesting of beached whales to the development of watercraft and weapons specifically to pursue the animals at sea. Once demand grew, an industry was born to hunt and process whales for the oil that would light the world for three centuries and the baleen that was the plastic of that age. While the Dutch and English led the way in the creation of this industry, by the early 19th century, the United States, led by New Bedford, had the most productive whaling industry in the world. As the success of the industry began to threaten the survival of whales, new technologies made their oil less vital. And while whaling left New Bedford, the pursuit of whales continued in Europe and Asia at new levels of efficient slaughter hunting that enabled the harvest in one year to outstrip that of the previous decade in total. The move toward preserving whales came as humans hunters become so good at killing that international regulation was needed to keep whales from extermination.


National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration off the South Carolina coast working to free a young endangered right whale entangled in ropes and buoys

Visitors to the New Bedford Whaling Museum experience come away with a new concept of the power of the whale in the human imagination — representing nature’s power, the lure of the unknown, a monstrous foe, and a once abundant resource. And the Whaling Museum exhibition also creates a bridge of understanding about how the whale has come now to symbolize our emerging understanding of our place in the natural world and how profound our impact upon it can be. Our hunt now is for knowledge: the better to apply the lessons of the past to the challenges of the future.

The exhibition was designed by The PRD Group, Ltd. of Chantilly, Virginia, and fabricated by Color-Ad, of Manassas, Virginia. The Museum is grateful for their enthusiasm, hard work, and dedication to the quality of the finished product.

Member’s Preview and Curator’s Tour:
Thursday July 2, 2009 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Open to NBWM Members only
RSVP to 508-997-0046 ext. 188

To view photos of the installation visit our Flickr site.

Pressing Issue: Are our children learning enough about whales??

Check out this “In the Know” story from The Onion.