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Whales and Dolphins: Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions [Paperback]

Philippa Brakes , Mark Peter Simmonds
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 April 2011

Whales and dolphins are icons for the conservation movement. They are the most conspicuous ambassadors for entire marine ecosystems and possibly even for the biosphere as a whole. Concurrent with our realisation of impending threats to their environment is a growing scientific understanding of the social and cognitive complexity of many of these species.

This book brings together experts in the relevant diverse fields of cetacean research, to provide authoritative descriptions of our current knowledge of the complex behaviour and social organization of whales and dolphins. The authors consider this new information in the context of how different human cultures from around the world view cetaceans and their protection, including attitudes to whaling. They show how new information on issues such as cetacean intelligence, culture and the ability to suffer, warrants a significant shift in global perceptions of this group of animals and how these changes might be facilitated to improve conservation and welfare approaches.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (30 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849712255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849712255
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Whales and Dolphins: Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions is a very important book. It makes a compelling case for scientists, conservationists and animal welfare groups to combine to develop a new approach to the conservation of cetaceans." – Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute (www.janegoodall.org), UN Messenger of Peace

"I will be making several chapters required reading for my upper level undergraduate course in Cetacean Behavior and Behavioral Ecology." - Burnd Wursig, Texas A&M University, in Marine Mammal Science (April 2013)

"This book makes persuasive arguments for the uniqueness of whales and dolphins, and for their conservation. It will make compelling reading for anyone with an interest in these creatures." –  Bulletin of the British Ecological Society

About the Author

Philippa Brakes is a marine biologist, specialising in marine mammal welfare and the ethical issues associated with our interactions with cetaceans and their environments. She has served as an expert on cetacean welfare issues and whaling policy with the New Zealand Government delegation to the International Whaling Commission, as well as serving as an informal adviser to other Government and non-Government delegations; as a lecturer in Zoological Conservation Management; as Marine Advisor to the RSCPA; and as the Curator of a British Zoological Gardens. 

Mark Peter Simmonds is an environmental scientist specialising in the problems facing marine mammals in the 21st century. He is currently the International Director of Science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is written by experts from the world of whales and dolphins. It brings to life the fast-moving developments related to these animals in a variety of fields including science, ethics, philosophy and animal welfare. The evidence presented leaves the reader in no doubt that whales and dolphins are sentient, self aware animals with complex social structures and strong family bonds. All the most recent discoveries about whales and dolphins are explored and new insights offered about their behaviour, communication, culture and intelligence. One author considers what it might be like to be a dolphin.

The book demonstrates that whales and dolphins are clever and use languages we don't fully understand. They care for one another and have shown acts of incredible generosity to people in trouble. In some cases they have life spans comparable to our own and pass on culture through the generations.
Sadly, like us, whales and dolphins also feel pain, and have the ability to suffer and grieve. An increased understanding of the various welfare issues that affect individual animals, as well as the increasing threats that are wiping out whole populations of whales and dolphins, challenges the reader to consider whether these animals merit our special consideration. Without doubt, if we want to share our planet with healthy and happy whales and dolphins we will need to significantly step up our efforts to protect them from causes of pain, suffering and loss.

This is a fascinating, thought-provoking, and very readable book. It makes a compelling case for protecting and celebrating these truly remarkable animals. A better understanding of them, their abilities and the way they live their lives is presented here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Full disclosure: I helped to write one of the chapters of this book but I don't have a monetary interest. It was an honour and a great learning experience to be involved in this well-structured, well-edited, multi-authored volume which seeks to understand what various cultures think about whales as well as exploring the arguments for whale intelligence, whale culture and whale rights. Read it as a ground-breaking work that provides a new and powerful slant on whale conservation. It's easy to read or dip into. Highly recommended. -- Erich Hoyt
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and inspiring! 30 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Despite the differences in our physiology and habitat, we share many traits with whale and dolphins. Like us, most species are highly intelligent, long-lived, with relatively slow reproduction rates and a need for intense training until they become responsible and successful adults. Like us, they have complex social lives and belong to different cultures, which even if the same species make each group unique. Moreover, not only are the individuals all different with their very own character traits, but they also have a sense of self - they are persons, just like us. Each is unique and irreplacable.

For centuries, these animals have fascinated humans and even in very early history, many realised that whales and dolphins are unlike most other species inhabiting this planet. In recent years, cetacean science has made quantum leaps. We now have a multitude of scientific facts at our fingertips that show clearly that with cetaceans we are not dealing with animals like any others.

All this has - or should have - an impact on the way not only how we view them, but also how we go about their protection and that of their habitat. This book makes a strong case in this regard and stresses compellingly that conserving a species is not enough - as with humans, the individual, the social unit and the cultural group are valuable and need to be protected.

This book is a must-read for all who love whales and dolphins - and an eye-opener for those who think they are not really very special and can be exploited like any other resource.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous 2 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great insight into cetacean cognition relationships and culture

fantastic for beginners to the most cetacean educated

NO MORE CETACEANS IN CAPTIVITY PLEASE
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ground-breaking work provides new arguments for whale conservation 25 July 2011
By Erich Hoyt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Full disclosure: I helped to write one of the chapters of this book but I don't have a monetary interest. It was an honour and a great learning experience to be involved in this well-structured, well-edited, multi-authored volume which seeks to understand what various cultures think about whales as well as exploring the arguments for whale intelligence, whale culture and whale rights. Read it as a ground-breaking work that provides a new and powerful slant on whale conservation. It's easy to read or dip into. Highly recommended. -- Erich Hoyt
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rights for Cetaceans A Bit Over the Top! 15 Aug 2012
By Bob Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Whales and Dolphins: Cognition, Culture, Conservation, and Human Perceptions" is an excellent collection of essays by different authors about whales and whaling on an international basis. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read and the authors put forth thought-provoking commentaries on whale cognition and conservation. However, the central theme of the book is that, like humans, whales are a very special lifeform and are deserving of the legal rights and privileges afforded to humans. Legal rights for cetaceans (whales, porpoises, dolphins) are a bit over the top in my opinion! I have much admiration and respect for all living creatures, and I believe all animals should be treated humanely. I also believe that those who wantonly torture, maim, and kill animals for some perverted form of pleasure should be incarcerated. Certain species should be afforded protections when extinction is threatened. But legal rights, as opposed to legal protections, even for animals as intelligent as cetaceans, is a dangerous path to persue. Can a whale that has been unintentionally impacted by a ship sue the skipper or the shipping company through a legal advocate? As an ichthyologist and someone who also also finds great interest in the science of cetology, I found "whales and Dolphins" to be the kind of a book that makes the reader stop and think about the subject matter presented. For this reason alone it's worth the purchase.
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