Song of the Whale

Rex Weyler, Author Doubleday Books $16.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-385-19938-4
It all started in 1967 when Paul Spong, Ph.D., was hired by the University of British Columbia to perform behavioral research on a newly acquired killer whale, Shana, at the Vancouver Public Aquarium. Approaching the study from a strictly scientific viewpoint, he was so impressed with the animal's intelligence that he became emotionally involved and lost his job. He took his family to isolated Hanson Island (between northern Vancouver Island and the mainland), where he could observe killer whales in their natural environment. His special interest was in their vocalizations and communication. The next phase in Spong's career was a crusade not only to save whales, but to ban their capture (with success in Canada, 1975). He became a leader in Greenpeace and lobbied to ban whaling before the International Whaling Commission. Periodically, he returned to Hanson to be with his wild whales. Weyler, author of Blood of the Land, worked closely with Spong for five years and sailed with him on Greenpeace expeditions. His account of Spong is tinged with hero-worship, but he gives us an excellent understanding of both whales and why people risk their lives to save them. (October 10)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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