The North Atlantic Right Whale: Our Urban Leviathan

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Breaching North Atlantic Right Whale

Photo: courtesy US Marine Mammal Commission

The endangered North Atlantic Right Whale is probably our closest cetacean neighbor. There are only about 350 of them in total, and they live precariously near to shore, along the Eastern seaboard, in a horrendously busy commercial shipping corridor that stretches from Nova Scotia to Florida.  Scott Kraus, the vice president for research at Boston’s New England Aquarium, and the head of its right whale research project, has studied these whales for decades, and the aquarium’s efforts on their behalf have led to dramatic improvements in right whale habitat.

Fargo Meets Right Whale Calf

Courtesy Rosalind Rolland/New England Aquarium

But they remain nonetheless threatened — primarily by us humans.  ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh met with Kraus at the New England Aquarium recently, to discuss his latest book, which he co-edited with his colleague Rosalind Rolland, called The Urban Whale.

Click here (20 minutes) to listen!

And click here (4 minutes) to hear Scott Kraus read a poignant passage he wrote (about a baby whale) from The Urban Whale.

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