Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Haley Reading Group: Sarah Schweitzer’s “Chasing Bayla”



[Best American Science and Nature Writing]

By Brittany Tuggle

“Chasing Bayla” by Sarah Schweitzer is a harrowing tale about the subsequent deaths of whales caused by fishing ropes. Schweitzer explores the parallel journey between whale and doctor in order to capture the cruelness of the situation. Ultimately, the article relays an important rendering of the migration of right whales and humans (that often leads to whales “getting in the way” of fishing gear) for the purpose of convincing readers to help save the whales.

Schweitzer’s discussion of the horrors that right whales face was especially ensnaring. At one point, Schweitzer notes that “Right whale deaths from entanglement were on track to double between 2000 and 2014…” (235).

After reading the article, what was one point concerning the struggles of right whales that caught your attention? Please note the page numbers.

43 comments:

Aleeya Barrolle said...

“Chasing Bayla” an article from The Boston Globe discussed the reactions of right whales when ensnared in rope. The moment that concerned me the most was when Schweitzer said, “Once snagged, the whales frantically spin their bodies to get free, but their gyrations instead loop the ropes around flippers and flukes. Unlike weaker whale species, which tend to drown when entangled, right whales, which run to 50 feet and 60 tons or more, often have the strength to swim with the lacerating ropes for months, sometimes years” (228). That quotation caught my attention because it seemed so realistic.
After reading this article Schweitzer was able to make an everlasting impression. I do not think that I have ever thought about the struggles that whales go through. Right whales have a hard life.

-Aleeya B

Asher said...

"Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped." pg 242.
I think this quote really encapsulated the whole paper about the Right Whales and the fact that people aren't truly paying attention to these kinds of stories about other animals. This whole paper was a shocking and sad, especially learning at the end that all the efforts were not fast enough to save the whales. I think it's more important to preserve the animals that we have on earth over human's needs to fish and trap.

-Asher Denkyirah

Natasha said...

This is a very touch article for me. I have done a number of research projects on Sea World, Blackfish, Tilikum, Dawn Brancheau, etc. I firmly believe Sea World and places like it should be shut down. I also believe the poachers who do catch or entagle free-swimming whales should have strict consequences and hurting them in any way should be illegal. According to the article, right wales are highly endangered, which makes the whole article even more appalling. One thing in particular that caught my eye is, "Her back sloped alarmingly, a sign of emaciation from hauling rope more than 10 times her length, possibly for months. It was like she had been swimming with an open parachute." This, to me, shows a direct correlation to slavery. It is one hundred percent unacceptable that we allow this to happen.

Anonymous said...

One thing that caught my attention was on page 225 and 226, when he talked about the netting used to catch the whales. He goes on to describe how much strength and power these whales have but are completely defenseless to the netting. He described how the netting would cut right through the blubber as if it were cheese. This is horrifying and sad to read. This poor defenseless animals can't do anything to avoid be caught in them and once they are, they are basically tortured with pain either from the netting if they escaped the fishermen, or from the fishermen that caught them.
Sydney J.

Aja J said...

I found this article very interesting. One quote I found particularly interesting was about some of the fatalities that whales face. “Some had died from ship strikes or disease, but time and again he found the hulking carcasses tangled in fishing rope,” (233). I never knew about the struggle of whales.
-Aja J

Payton Bridegroom said...

One of the things that really caught my eye was on page 233 when Moore said "They are megaton creatures who could dive 600 feet, survive on food the size of the grain of rice, and bend their enormous selves to scratch their ears with their flukes-and yet they are regularly succumbing to something so prosaic as fishing rope". This really stuck out to me because I completely agree with what he is saying. I have done research papers on whales and it amazes me how such a huge and majestic creature can die from the ropes that humans use. It is sad to think that there are humans who do not care at all about what is happening to the whales.
-Payton B.

Payton Bridegroom said...

One of the things that really caught my eye was on page 233 when Moore said "They are megaton creatures who could dive 600 feet, survive on food the size of the grain of rice, and bend their enormous selves to scratch their ears with their flukes-and yet they are regularly succumbing to something so prosaic as fishing rope". This really stuck out to me because I completely agree with what he is saying. I have done research papers on whales and it amazes me how such a huge and majestic creature can die from the ropes that humans use. It is sad to think that there are humans who do not care at all about what is happening to the whales.
-Payton B.

Paris Smith said...

I think the quote "Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped." pg 242 was very interesting to me because I think that if this were to happen in a busy city, no one would notice. They would be too wrapped up in their lives and their conversations to even notice. We as a society do not concern ourselves with animals unless there is a story about a person involved. Take Harambe for instance, no one noticed that gorilla until a child climbed in the cage and it became an instant headline. We do not take the time to save animals or even appreciate them until they are involved in some headline or we happen to see them on our facebook feed, and so this paper tells me to appreciate animals more while they are living before they are dead.

Brandy Collier said...

This article is very informative about how whales react when they're caught. On page 228,it states,"Scientists have recorded an average of four such confirmed and presumed deaths per year since 2008, but they believe many more perish this way unrecorded". This quote was interesting to me because it underlines the major effect that human have on animals and that humans are endangering animals. I think this shows the dangers that these whales endure when people want to fish/hunt in the ocean.

Miya Evans said...

I think what we put animals through is horrific. It says on page 233, "some had died from ship strikes or disease, but time and time again he found the hulking carcasses tangled in fishing rope". The treatment of our wildlife needs to upgrade in standard. I love anmilas and to know that poachers will continue to prey on the endangered despite their status saddens me. I think it's unfortunate that we live in a world with those who lack empathy for the lives and well being of the many other life forms that inhabit this place with us.

Kaelyn Blunt said...

There was a lot in this article that caught my attention. Pretty much from 233 on. But if I had to choose a page it would be 233 because I know accidents happen and that there are people who will kill these whales for their own personal achievements, but it really surprised me to see it written. That people will hit whales with their boats whether it was an accident or not, they did not help the whale. Also that they captured them in nets. It just baffles me how humans can do things like that. I knew of horrible places like Sea World, but I don't know. This makes me very uncomfortable to think about.
-Kaelyn B

Tatyana Curtis said...

"Chasing Bayla" by Sarah Schweitzer was very intriguing article. A section that stood out the most to me was on page 228 when Schweitzer stated, “Once snagged, the whales frantically spin their bodies to get free, but their gyrations instead loop the ropes around flippers and flukes. Unlike weaker whale species, which tend to drown when entangled, right whales, which run to 50 feet and 60 tons or more, often have the strength to swim with the lacerating ropes for months, sometimes years”.This particular quote stood out to me because of that fact that I could vividly picture the narration. The thought that indent creatures are dying because of items humans put in to the water doesn't quite sit right with me.

Zuriah Harkins said...

After reading "Chasing Bayla," the one thing that caught my attention was how horrific the injuries that the ropes can leave were. On page 233, Scheweitzer stated, "...a gill net had sliced a 4.6 foot wide laceration across her back and carved off a swath of blubber as it sawed toward her tail. The gash exposed both of her shoulder blades." In addition to that, the ropes deformed her bones, changing the way that she swam, and the whale also was vomiting and bleeding as she was being chased by rescuers.

Just from reading and picturing this happen makes me sad and uneasy. No one should have to go through that type of torture, no matter whether it is a human or animal. So, it's really unbelievable that most right whales' lives end by the great damage caused by ropes being in the ocean.

-Zuriah H.

Kathryn Hatches said...

Sarah Schweitzer's "Chasing Bayla" is about the gross amount of right whale deaths at the expense of humans. One line that stuck with me was, "right whales were venturing into waters humans had claimed for fishing, and they were dying, like roadkill" (Pg 234). This quote in particular stood out to me because it notes how we've claimed both land and sea as our own without considering the negative effects it has for other wildlife. It simply shows how we have become ignorant to how much damage we can cause by our technological advances.
-Katie Hatches

Trevor Bosley said...

The most impactful part of the reading for me was learning that right whales ,"often ventured up to boats,rolled over,and eyed their prayers with peering curiosity,making for easy marking."(227) Learning that the whales trusted interacting with humans and humans taking advantage of this trust impacted me the most from the reading.

Joshua Jones said...

One piece in the essay that really evoked emotions within me is on page 227 where the narrator says, " Today...whales remain among the rarest animals on earth. Their pursuers are whale-watching boats and...scientists," who try to understand why their population is declining, knowing "...that it could be wiped out with one algal bloom." This is the reality of their lives as of today. It is truly sad to read about and It truly shows how mankind has ruined nature.

-Joshua J.

Simone Hall said...

On page 225, the author talked about how whales are taken out of the ocean. It was a very heartbreaking realization to me for many reasons. One reason, the biggest reason to me, would be the fact that they are said to be such strong creatures but they are defenseless against the nets that the monsters use to rip them out of their natural habitats. It's just very upsetting that their strength, at the end of the day, means nothing and they can just so easily be taken out of the only world they've ever known.

Kayla Daniels said...

I know it may seem small but I believe it proves a point. When they say, "Today right whales remain among the rarest animals on earth....a population so fragile that it could be wiped out with one algal bloom". To know that we are the cause of this whales endangerment is heartbreaking. This quote rings out to me because it stresses how we destroyed their species enough to where one breath from the earth would blow them away. Truly heartbreaking.

Marcus Barnes said...

While reading this, I was shocked and greatly appalled when I read about the right whale incident in 1999. "...A gill net had sliced a 4.6-foot-wide laceration across her back and carved off a swath of blubber as it sawed toward her tail. The gash exposed both her shoulder blades. Each flipper was incised down to the bone; the left flipper had a 5-inch deep cut and the right flipper had one 7 inches deep. X-rays showed the ropes had deformed her bones and altered the way she swam" (233). I knew that ropes and fishing nets were a problem for whales, but I never had a clue it was this bad. Whales should not have to suffer injuries or deaths because of fishing nets and ropes. This problem needs to be definitely focused on in making it better and not a problem for whales anymore.

DeAndre Ghist said...

The most interesting part to me is on page 227 when the author says "..often ventured up to boats, rolled over, and eyed their prayers with peering curiosity, making for easy marking." This is interesting because it shows that the whales trust the humans, enough to go up to them and interact. Another part of the story I like is when the author talks about how big and gigantic whales are, but that they are so susceptible to being hurt or killed by roped.

Cheniya A. said...

The quote about how people would feel had it been another animal really touched me. "Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped" (The Boston Globe 242). It touched me because this is true, we, as humans, are alright with harm that is not upfront. We tend to cower away from things we have to deal with.
But when we are forced to deal with it, we are forced to change our minds - we are forced to realize situations do not just apply to one group. We are forced to encompass all groups. And I think this ideology is really relevant in today's society.

Jessica D said...

While reading the article "Chasing Bayla", one point concerning the struggles of right whales that caught my attention was on page 235. It stated that," Moore returned to the idea of antibiotics. Perhaps antibiotics could slow infections from lacerations and give an entangled whale a better chance of survival... Perhaps a pole mounted syringe and needle could work." This really caught my attention because experimenting with needles isn't really safe, especially in the water. Doing this can possibly cause the syringe to attach to one of the researchers or even another animal.

Carlie Bibbs said...

After reading this article "Chasing Bayla" I thought it was really interesting how Schweitzer compared right whales to dogs. Dogs are often seen as mans best friend and humans easily empathize and feel sympathetic towards dogs when inhumane things are done to them. I liked how the author compared the two animals on page 142 saying that "...if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would be come out raged and demand that the source of injury be stopped. Whales swam unseen with their wounds".

I like that the author parallels these two animals as a way to show humans that right whales also need attention and help just as other animals do. They all have lives.
Carlie Bibbs

Bryce Barker said...

On page 237, when Austin fires the shot and they are unable to penetrate the skin it says, "The dart bounced off the blubber. Like a bulletproof vest." When reading that, they had developed that syringe to be strong enough to penetrate the whale's skin but the syringe had no affect. Compared to the rope that was caught on the whale the syringe was as weak as a piece of plastic trying to penetrate human skin. If the blubber could with stand that then the whale was harming itself because with the movement of the whale it was shifting the rope pass the blubber into its skin creating the cuts that it was know enduring from the ropes.

Nylah Berner said...

The most interesting thing I read from the passage was, "Oil from the right whale blubber helped propel the Colonial economy, lighting homes and stores and creating wealth and prosperity. By the time the whale oil demand faded and right whales were protected from hunting, in 1935, their numbers had been reduced from the thousands to some 100 in the North Atlantic" (227). I didn't know oil could be made from whale blubber.

Fiona Hill said...

"Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped" (The Boston Globe 242). This part stuck out to me because it is very true. People tend to advocate more for household animals and animals that give us food, but they barely advocate for whales. People urge others to become vegetarian to save the cows, or to protest makeup testing on rabbits, but you rarely see anyone saying free the whales, unless they are talking about Sea World.

Fiona Hill

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

The statement that caught my attention the most was, "Saving just two female whales a year could stabilize a population that humans had driven down to just 450 from the teeming thousands that once greeted settlers to the New World" (225). The fact that we have done this much damage to this population of whales astounds me. Most animals do have resources we want/need however, we aren't giving the whales the time they need to repopulate the way they need to. We eat cows and pig yet we don't allow ourselves to almost kill off the entire population.

Anonymous said...

One interesting thing that caught my attention was the description of how people caught the whales using nets (pages 225 and 226). This caught my attention, because it shows that anything can become defenseless and helpless if we humans become involved. The fact that the net damaged the blubber of the whales and caused other harm to them is just wrong, everyday we wrongly capture and kill wild animals for usually the sake of fashion, and we won't be satisfied until there isn't anything left to scavenge.

Richard G.

Breanna B. said...

The point made when speaking about dogs walking around the streets entangled and bleeding was great, because it put the issues in perspective (page 242). How can one decide it is okay to torture one species--one which has done us no harm--but defend another so graciously?

Derick B. said...

One thing in this article that caught my attention is on page 227, Schweitzer said "On a single day in January of 1700, colonists killed 29 right whales off the Cape". This interested me because earlier in the article she talked about how they only saved 2 right whales a year, it is interesting to me to see the problems humans cause without being aware of the effects and our efforts to fix them.

Olivia Slater said...

This article intrigued me. It brought to light the hypocrisy of society. We treat certain animals with more respect than others; the lives of some are more precious than the lives of others. "Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped." (42). The ideology often baffles me. A whale is an animal just like a dog. If anything, a whale contributes to our ecosystem far more than a dog; therefore, logically speaking, they are more essential to human survival than a dog would be. This article contributed to the fight against societal ignorance which is why I enjoyed it so much.

Barry F. said...

While reading "Chasing Bayla", a concerning point that caught my attention was that on page 242 when the author brought up how people would be outraged if dogs were walking around with lacerations. This puts the issue with the right whales in perspective to humans. We tend to pick and choose what animals we care about and what actions to take to prevent harm or eradication. I understand that there was a need for the oil back in the 1800s, but someone should have thought about an alternative and appreciate the right whale's presence.

Aliyah B. said...

The quote that stood out to me was, "Whales can’t be banded like birds, or collared like a wolf, and implanted tags can fail after a short time. The legions of scientists who study them often can only guess their location in the depths." This caught my attention, because I find it interesting that whales can evade humans like that. It makes them seem romantic and mystical, in a way, you have to find them based on strategy and luck. It also makes me question why their population is so low and why they aren't seen in the same regard as dogs. In my opinion, it shows how relentless humans can be when it comes to hunting, since whales are so hard to track down.

Peyton D. said...

Prior to reading this article, I have never learned about the life of whales. I can only imagine how large a whale truly is, it is memorizing and terrifying. It really saddened me to read about the whales getting caught in the fishing nets. Whales are purposely killed and injured, but if they survive, they still may have to carry the burden of swimming with a net attached. “Once snagged, the whales frantically spin their bodies to get free, but their gyrations instead loop the ropes around flippers and flukes. Unlike weaker whale species, which tend to drown when entangled, right whales, which run to 50 feet and 60 tons or more, often have the strength to swim with the lacerating ropes for months, sometimes years”(228).These large animals have such great ability yet something small and avoidable will be debilitating. "They are megaton creatures who could dive 600 feet, survive on food the size of the grain of rice, and bend their enormous selves to scratch their ears with their flukes-and yet they are regularly succumbing to something so prosaic as fishing rope".(233)

Robert Craig Jr said...

I have always found whale hunting for any reason abhorrent, but this article deepened my distaste for the act. Reading about how the whales react to being hunted made my skin crawl. Learning about the lives of whales made me more attached to the creatures, so hearing about how many can lives years of their lives entangled in rope truly disgusted me. All in all, this article made me realize how much more protection these animals need from human hunters.

Shardai J-H. said...

On page 242, "Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped." This shows how we as people only care about what is effecting us in some way, since dogs are seen as pets or family to most. Just because a whale cannot physically be with us, it does not mean their pain should valued less, along with any other animal.

Kellsey H. said...

On page 242 it is stated that "Moore always thought that if dogs walked around the city of Boston with bleeding lacerations, people would become outraged and demand that the source of injury be stopped." The truth within this quote is remarkable. It does a wonderful job of depicting the human tendency to show concern only toward things that lie within their comfort zone. Whales are living, breathing creatures that can feel. They can feel pain. It is not ethical of us to simply ignore them.
-Kellsey H.

John Kriha said...

One point concerning the struggles of right whales that caught my attention was how the whales were hunted for thousands of years by humans because of how they floated after being killed. In the past we hunted them and in modern day we are killing them on accident. As a result we are driving the whale to extinction. On page 227 it states that “Today right whales remain among the rarest animals on earth”.

Alona Davenport said...

Something that caught my attention was the fact that it is really easy to hunt the right whales. On pg 227, it states how big and slow the right whale is so that makes them extremely easy targets. Understanding that these whales have little to no opportunity to protect themselves really puts into perspective how horrible hunting them is. And now because their oil is no longer needed as frequently as it once was, they are now finally protected. But, even with that, they are still among the rarest animals on Earth.

~Alona D.

Alexis Acoff said...

One quote that caught my eye when reading the article was on page 227. "Oil from right whale blubber helped propel the colonial economy, lighting homes and stores and creating wealth and prosperity". When reading some of the previous posts, I see that this quote was commonly memorable among other readers. I find it interesting that people continuously do not consider others when making a decision, not just humans, but animals too. I didn't quite understand why the colonists started the right whales in the first place, it seemed like it was just for sport, but now these animals are in a situation that their population numbers are not budging from a few hundred in their area.

cassidy oliver said...

Moore's experiences as a biologist caught my attention the most. The encounter that haunted Moore was heart wrenching thinking of the major pain the right whale had to go through is tremendous (233). The whale suffered for years, and at the point her condition was just starting to become more apparent.

Jeremiah B. said...

When I was reading this article, page 242 caught my attention when the author brought up how people would be outraged if dogs were walking around with lacerations. This puts the issue with the right whales into a different perspective that most people wouldn't think about. We tend to pick and choose what animals we care about and what actions to take to prevent harm to these animals. I understand that there was a need for the oil back in the 1800s, but someone should have thought about an alternative and appreciate the right whale's presence.

albino ALPACA said...

The part that got my attention was the description on page 233. The right whale that was trapped in fishing nets. It just seems so gruesome, to be trapped in ropes for so long that they rub through your skin to raw flesh. It is just awful how things happen at times

David B.