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Whales and Dolphins: Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions
Whales and Dolphins: Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions
by Philippa Brakes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding why whales and dolphins need our protection, 11 May 2011
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. It is unthinkable that with the evidence we now have at our fingertips, human beings will continue to allow the deliberate killing or captivity of whales and dolphins. Perhaps we can dare to hope for more. Could human perceptions of this group of animals change for the better and our respect for them grow? This book has provided a brilliant platform for further discussion about the potential for a shift in thinking about how we relate to higher order animals such as whales and dolphins.

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