The Seagull or the Whale?

Seth Victor

Seagulls around Argentina have become too crafty for their own good. Exhibiting behavior straight out of a Hitchcock movie, the gulls have figured out that if they peck at the skin of breaching right whales, they can open wounds on the whales, and then feast every time the cetaceans surface. Apparently this started with a few gulls, but they have spread the word, and now the birds pose a serious threat to the whales’ livelihood, especially the calves. Citing the danger to the whales, the Argentine government is now permitting people to shoot the gulls, and recover their bodies before they are ingested, before the whales migrate to safer seas. Environmentalist are upset with the decision, claiming that is it not the fault of the birds, so much as it is the fault of the open landfills in the area that have attracted them in the first place. Clean up the trash, and the birds will naturally disperse. The issue is also an economic one, as whale watching makes up a significant part of tourism revenue. Continue reading

Alberto Kattan — Warrior for the Voiceless

Alberto Kattan was an attorney and an activist in Argentina on behalf of people, animals, and the environment.  During the 1970s, he was kidnapped and tortured by the military junta.  He survived thanks to the personal intervention of then President Carter.  Undaunted, he sued the military government in the 1980s on behalf of dolphins and then penguins.  He also successfully persuaded the courts of Argentina to ban the pesticides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (“Agent Orange”).

Kattan said:

· “When you open your eyes it is a commitment.  You can never close them again.”

Alberto Kattan died in 1993 but I just learned about him today.  And for that I thank Professor John Bonine, a pretty inspiring fellow in his own right.

David Cassuto