Summer 2002

Photographer Flip Nicklin
Volume
51
Number
3
About the Cover
Sighted off the Azores in the North Atlantic, an extremely rare 13-foot-long white sperm whale calf swims with his mother. Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales- adult males can be fifty feet long and weigh forty tons. Photographer Flip Nicklin could not determine whether this real-life baby "Moby Dick's" eyes were pink, but the calf appears to be a pure albino. Despite his dolphin smile he's in grave danger from his mother's milk, which may be contaminated by absorbed chemicals, heavy metals, and other noxious substances, as a result of ocean pollution. Other threats come from ship strikes, being caught in entangling fishing nets, and whaling. The Japanese kill sperm whales today under the guise of "scientific research," but whale meat and oil end up for sale in Japan. In May 2002, Japan hosted a remarkably contentious meeting of the International Whaling Commission, established in 1946 to regulate commercial whaling. (See story pages 4-5.)