Sea Change for Whales

KENNAN WARD/CORBIS

VANISHING: Human activity threatens humpbacks' prey and habitat

The world is starting to look a bit safer for whales. While the largest inhabitants of the cetacean nation mind their own business in the oceans' depths, their human supporters are hailing the International Whaling Commission's shift toward a solidly conservationist agenda. At a Berlin conference last week, the IWC — once a bastion of an industry now worth only about $50 million (compared to whale-related tourism's estimated $1.5 billion) — agreed for the first time to establish a conservation committee. Its task: to advise the IWC on potential threats to marine mammals from pollution, sonar gear, ships, global warming —...

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