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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

We dip into the Living on Earth mailbag to hear what listeners have to say.


CURWOOD: Time now for your comments from you, our listeners.


CURWOOD: Our mailbox was stuffed this week with responses to our recent story about the unhealthy and dangerous conditions suffered by marine mammals at some sea parks. Some listeners said that by focusing on reports of animal abuse at parks without examining the case for non-capture, we were thinking too much inside the box.

“I wish there had been more commentary on the fact that marine mammals suffer horribly in captivity, not just physically, but socially,” writes Maggie Rufo, who listens to Living on Earth on KQED in San Francisco. Ms. Rufo was also disturbed by our interview with a former whale hunter who profited by capturing sea stars. “Rarely have I had a physical reaction to something on the radio,” she writes, “but I actually felt my stomach hurt while I listened to this man.”

Marilee Menard, executive director for the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, had a different take. She defends the care of animals at accredited marine parks and says park-based scientific research has filled critical gaps in our understanding of various species.

“Much of what we know today about dolphins and whales was learned from animals in marine life parks,” writes Ms.Menard, who hears us in Washington, D.C. “This information not only helps improve quality of life for animals in marine parks, but also helps save many wild dolphins, whales, sea lions and other marine mammals that are stranded, rehabilitated and released back into the wild each year.”

And finally, a correction. We identified Ted Griffin, the former whale collector we talked with, as the founder of the Seattle Aquarium in Washington. But according to Tom Schaefer of the Seattle Aquarium, Mr. Griffin founded the Seattle Marine Aquarium.

“The Seattle Marine Aquarium that opened in 1962 and displayed two killer whales was Ted Griffin’s private enterprise,” writes Mr. Schaefer, who tunes in to Living on Earth on KUOW. “The present Seattle Aquarium opened in 1977 after the closure of Griffin’s aquarium, and is owned and operated by the City of Seattle. The present aquarium has never had whales or dolphins.”

Your comments on our program are always welcome. Call our listener line anytime at 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-99-88. Or write us at 20 Holland Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144. Our e-mail address is comments at l-o-e dot org. Once again, comments at l-o-e dot o-r-g. And you can hear our program anytime on our web site, Living on Earth dot org. That's Living on Earth dot o-r-g.




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