Nature: Helping Out Putu, Siku and Kanik

Three trapped whales attract an army of unlikely saviors to a desolate stretch of Alaskan ice

First there was Humphrey, the desultory humpback whale saved from starvation in California's Sacramento River in 1985 by an armada of whale lovers who successfully herded him out to sea. Last summer there was Henry, a young whale who made a wrong turn and ended up in New York's polluted harbor before regaining his bearings. Then last week the sight of three battered and bloodied gray whales gasping for breath at holes in a thickening Arctic ice pack caused Americans to forget, for a moment or two, both the World Series and the Bush-Dukakis race.

An unlikely, uneasy army of scientists,...

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