Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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



[Best American Science and Nature Writing]

Cynthia A. Campbell

Sarah Schweitzer’s article “Chasing Bayla” focuses on the dangers of right whales in their encounters with humans and unsafe fishing practices. Schweitzer highlights scientist Dr. Michael Moore’s quest for ethical treatment of endangered and injured right whales. Ultimately, the article speaks to the intersecting journey of Dr. Moore and Bayla.

Schweitzer’s discussion of Dr. Moore’s struggle to provide medical treatment for right whales was especially enlightening. At one point, Schweitzer notes that “he wanted to sedate a free-swimming whale…to remove ropes entangling it” (237). This point illustrates the desperation and urgency required to treat whales in their natural habitats using necessary extraordinary tactics.

After reading Schweitzer’s article, what was one point concerning the injuries suffered by Bayla that caught your attention? Why was that point or scene notable to you? Please provide a page number citation.

60 comments:

Victoria Wright said...

One point concerning injuries suffered by Bayla that caught my attention was when she died and the rope embedded in her mouth had new tissue grown over it(Schweitzer 240). This shocked me because the tissue had actually grown over the rope because it was in Bayla's mouth for so long. The impact that being tangled in rope had on Bayla's life was saddening because she was always caught by rope, which eventually took away her life. I was also saddened when Michael Moore cried because he dedicated so much to saving Bayla and felt like he failed(Schweitzer 241).

- Victoria W.

Kyla T said...

Schweitzer's article was incredibly heartbreaking for Bayla, and one point that really made it depressing was on page 240: "In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, "like a pig in a blanket." I cannot imagine how much pain Bayla had been in as the rope continued to dig into her mouth, and makes me wonder how often whales are killed due to humans.

Kyla T.

Aliyah Johnson said...

"The rope was likely polypropylene...Blubber was no match for it. Bayla's body was cut upen in places, as though by cheese wire (226)." This quote stood out to me becausee it makes me wonder how such a dangerous and sharp rope could be used in a ocean where endangered species exist. It lets me know that society has not considered the importance of right whales yet.

Jordan Robinson said...

A notable scene to me was when Schweitzer depicted Bayla's injuries from being trapped in the rope; "...severe emaciation and lacerations caused by hundreds of feet of 7/16-inch diameter floating polypropylene rope that connected traps..." (241). It is remarkably sad to think that a living creature was trapped in that much thin rope and to have been so badly injured. It is terribly troubling that it is so common for the wrong animals to be killed by traps.

Shervonti N. said...

"[The rope] was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it" (240). This explanation to her death broke my heart because Dr. Moore and his colleagues were so happy about successfully sedating Bayla and cutting the rope away from her... just to find out that there was rope that could not have been seen that evidently caused her death. This was noticeable to me, of course, because it was sad to learn that Bayla passed away. Furthermore, passed away after an attempt to be helped.

Alexandra J. said...

"It [the rope] was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, like pigs in a blanket" 240. It is disheartening to see how the human race can have such a negative impact on animals in their natural environment and the main root of these acts is always based on financial benefit. From a new building or large establishment, animals are displaced unwillingly. Hundreds of years, animals have been hunted in order to make oil (whales), ivory (elephants) the list goes on. There are some species, like the right wale, that have a decreased population directly cause of human causes and nothing related to survival of the fittest. Overall, I believe protection is a necessary task way before endangerment is a possibility.

Andriana C. said...

The point that stood out to me the most, and apparently most everyone else, was the fact that the rope that hadn't been removed had tissue growing over it. Pages 240 and 241 explain how Bayla had sustained injuries that had existed for a good amount of time for her to exhibit emaciation and early stages of healing. Thus Bayla's last days were not pleasant in the least. It's always disheartening when good people's efforts are not rewarded with good things.

Sydney Oats said...

"In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, like a pig in a blanket." (240) The amount of pure undeserved torture that animals go through because of humans is beyond ridiculous. I deeply saddened me while reading that part of the passage, and find it unfortunate that even though they still tried to save Bayla, it was not enough.
-Sydney Oats

gabriel said...

What I found alarming was the injuries that Bayla's Mother Picasso had faced. The reading stated that "Picasso had been named for the modernistic crosshatch of splotches on her head, the result not of the naturally occurring callosities, but of injuries from rope entanglement when she was three years. old." (pg. 231). Bayla would never have been born if Picasso did not survive. What was most alarming was that the birth rate was so low and the amount of deaths were so high among the right whales. This passage having been written some years back, it would be interesting to see what the actual number of right whales are today. We, as humans forget that we share this earth with other creatures and it falls on your shoulders to help there species survive.

-G Msengi

Lucas Reincke said...

The point that was most stood out to me was the paragraph on page 233, where the narrator describes Bayla's injuries and how the rope deformed her bones and lacerated her fins to the point of seeing bone. It was a horrific illustration of the pain and anguish this animal went through. Probably the hardest part to read of this section was the following, "The necropsy report turn his stomach: 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." (233) It is awful to think of how humans hurt nature, with the emissions we put in the air, the bulldozing of trees, the destruction of the purity of the waters. This description of how fishing/poaching can have incredible damage to populations, whether intentional or unintentional.

Jasmin Smoot said...

The story described in this article is about a right whale named Bayla. Right whales as a species have been hunted counting decades back. Initially, it was difficult to harm the whales with just human hands, so tools were developed to injure the whales. Michael Moore, a marine biologist, dedicated his life's work to protecting this endangered species. What I admired about this man was the fact that he never gave up on protecting those who could not help themselves. The right whales are friendly animals, which made them the perfect candidates for being captured. Although Moore had to sedate Bayla, this was what he needed to do to save the whale. In conclusion, Moore did whatever it took, including getting outside help, to save a wonderful creature. Many could learn from him

Deborrah Blackburn said...

The injury that caught my attention was on pg 240-41 when they say how Bayla died from a 7/16 inch diameter rope that caused severe lacerations. It's sad knowing that things like this happened and still happen today. It's very important for us to preserve the life of endangered animals because of the crimes committed against them by people in the past. Hopefully, we can stop this completely.
Deborrah B.

Jamesha M. said...

"The buoys made the whale thrash harder. The water around her turned frothy white. She was bleeding and vomiting" (233). This was a very concerning point for me, while reading, I literally held my breath. I think this passage concerning the injuries is so noticeable because of how hurt the whale actually is, the vomiting and bleeding humanizes the whale in my mind. I guess I was just shocked that the whales could be hurt so badly.

Naomi Olsson said...

Right in the introduction I was caught off guard by the vivid imagery of Bayla's injuries . "the ropes were carving into her. Bayla was in pain. . . rope anchored in her mouth. It coiled around her flippers in a skein of tangled loops. With every move it pulled tighter. . . Bayla's body was cut open in places, as though by cheese wire." (225-6). While reading this scene I could clearly see what Michael Moor was seeing as he looked down at the poor defenseless animal. The simile quotes really had me rattled, I couldn't imagine how painful that must of been for Bayla and there was nothing that she did to deserve it. It hurt me to know that this kind of stuff happens everyday to poor animals that can't do anything to keep themselves safe.

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous that the rope was in there for so long that it started becoming part of Bayla's body (240). And the fact that type of rope was even around her was equally ridiculous. It's just yet another reminder of what our "progress" does to the world. I wouldn't be surprised if we caused all other animal and plant life to go extinct at this point. Not enough people care and the right people don't care.

-Que'rra

(I also did some random one I wasn't supposed to. I thought I saw the 28th as a blog day on the sheet and just figured I deleted the email about it..)

Anonymous said...

A point in "Chasing Bayla" by Sarah Schweitzer that stuck out to me was at page 240 when the author writes about the team of researchers that examines Bayla after her death. It especially stick out to me when they said, "In her mouth they discovered a rope that Dodd and slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it." That point in the story made me extremely sad to think that poor Bayla was living in so much pain and nobody even knew. The next few lines are also sad, as they talk about other injuries she sustained.

Alexis R.

Crystal Rice said...

One point in the article of the injuries suffered by Bayla was when Moore described the scene of the rope in her as being "too much to see," (225). By the rope being so tight and made of something like "polypropylene, a synthetic weave," (226), and it being wrapped around her mouth, it made it cut deeper and deeper into her body. This scene was notable to me because I could just picture it in my head as such a grueling and horrific scene to see and have to experience, let alone have to try to help remove the rope. That would be even worse for me and I would probably get sick and not want to continue. It makes myself and others upset because animals should not be targeted and treated like that. Animal cruelty is not ok and I think it was great that they tried to save her.

Crystal Rice.

Xavier J. said...

"X-rays showed the ropes had deformed her bones and altered the way she swam."(233) This was very alarming to me because it gives the reader an idea of how long these animals can potentially be in a situation like this. Most people often can identify a person in their family who has had an injury for so long that the very structure of their bones is altered, so I thought that this connected to the average reader very well.

Xavier J

Jaleelah Muhammad said...

On page 228, the author says that "deaths from the ropes could be right whales' ultimate undoing". This statement stuck with me because ropes was a method that was so commonly used during slavery on Black slaves. The reason I made this connection is because Blacks were often referred to as animals or savage and animalistic in nature and whites often deemed it necessary to treat them as such. Ropes is a method that is used on blacks and animals alike.

Mikaela S said...

One point concerning the injuries suffered by Bayla that caught my attention can be found on page 237. Schweitzer tells the story of how Austin took a shot to sedate the whale. The author went on to say, "This time the dart entered the blubber but promptly bent in half. Austin and Moore huddled. The syringe's momentum had continued after the needle entered the blubber, taking the needle along and bending it" (Schweitzer 237). This scene was notable to me because I can only imagine my skin being penetrated with a 12 inch needle, the needle bending, then getting ripped from my skin. While whales do have blubber, I do believe that they still are sensitive to pain in that part of their body. While they may have been doing something to benefit themselves, the traumatic experience that the whale had to go through was not humane.

Michael Dade said...

To me, the most striking injury Bayla endured came from the polypropylene rope, "Blubber was no match for it. Bayla's body was cut open in places, as though by cheese wire." (226) We never really consider the impact things we use can have, such as some arbitrary rope in the water, when it fact it can totally disrupt something else. It's crazy to think that a common apparatus such as rope can be a complete nightmare and do that to wildlife.

Sierra Taylor said...

One particular injury injury by Bayla that caught my attention is on page 240. The text says," By day's end the team determined that Bayla had died from severe emaciation and lacerations caused by hundreds of feet of 7/16 inch diameter floating polypropylene rope that connected traps or pots - the sort that NOAA had attempted to restrict." It saddens me how Bayla had suffered so many wounds. I wish people thought and cared more about how animals are affected by the environment. It is extremely necessary to protect animals more.
- Sierra Taylor

Anonymous said...

"'The ecosystem has moved on,' says Temple. 'If you put the organism back in, it could be disruptive to a new dynamic equilibrium'"(303). This fact kind of blew my mind. You always think that bringing back an animal would only be a good thing. You never stop to think about how everything around it has adapted to it being gone therefore, it may no longer survive in the current environment.
-Jazmyn Maggitt

Brianna R. said...

The part of the passage that caught my attention in relation to Bayla's was mentioned on pages 240-241. Even though they had been able to get most of the rope off of her, it was the remaining rope they hadn't known about in her mouth that caused her to die. The rope was embedded in her mouth and the text described her as being emaciated which I assume means the rope prevented poor Bayla from being able to eat and had weakened her to the point that her body just gave out. It is so sad to think that not only was she in pain, but she was also being starved though through no fault of her own or lack of resources in her environment to support her growth, but because of humans. It really is sad to think that we are the causes of thing like this that can be prevented. No one ever thinks about animals being in pain and miserable just because they aren't human beings and that isn't right.

Tiera Williams said...

The part that caught my attention the most was on page 240, "In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, "like a pig in a blanket." This part caught my attention the most because of how graphic it is. Bayla's story is the story of many whales. It really makes you question protocol when it comes to things like that.

- Tiera Williams

Tiera Williams said...

The part that caught my attention the most was on page 240, "In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, "like a pig in a blanket." This part caught my attention the most because of how graphic it is. Bayla's story is the story of many whales. It really makes you question protocol when it comes to things like that.

Jeremiah T said...

What caught my attention was how the rope that killed Bayla was described. On page 240, the rope in Bayla's mouth was compared to a pig in a blanket. That stuck out to me because I can picture it in my head.

Sandra Yokley said...

One point concerning the injuries of Bayla that stuck out to me the bit about the rope mentioned first in the beginning of the article and more in detail on page 226. "Blubber was no match for it. Bayla's body was cut open in places, as though by cheese wire." Later, on page 240, it mentions how the rope, from being in Bayla's mouth for so long, had grown new tissue that encapsulated the rope. This is devastating to me that such terrible contraptions are used to capture such treasured animals. Surely they are aware of how much damage it can do to whatever creature is caught in it, yet they still continue to trap them with this horrid invention. It's sickening.

Jasmine Williams said...

On page 233, the whale's injuries are discussed in depth. A fishing rope caused lacerations on the whale and it caused me to make a connection with another documentary I have watched about how threatening humans are to whales.It's very sad to think about not only animals, but how the Earth itself is treated by the human species. It is unfortunate that the doctor's efforts were not enough to safe the whale from its pain.

Jasmine Williams

Andrea R. said...

The point that really caught my attention was on pg.240, when it was discovered that there was still a piece of rope embedded in the whale's mouth and that new tissue began to grow over it. This part caught my attention the most because it reminded me of a neglected pet with an ill-fitting collar. If left on the animal for too long, it can cause deep lacerations in the animal's skin and even worse, new tissue will begin to grow over it.

I bring this up because much in the same way people will neglect their pets, people neglect animals in nature. Aside from being the victim of a whaling expedition gone wrong, it is very possible Bayla was caught in a rope someone threw over in their boat. It is not uncommon to hear stories of animals getting caught in fishing wire or the plastic that holds soda cans together and then fighting to survive because of someone else's ignorance. It is very sad how careless people can be

JaLeah M . said...

"This much he knew. The ropes were carving into her. Bayla was in pain" (224). I think this passage as a whole was extremely sad. Reading the very descriptive detail of how the ropes entangled and injured Bayla brought sadness. Reading about the passion Moore had was powerful. I am always intrigued when I read, hear, or learn about people who put forth extraordinary effort with and for specific things.

JaLeah M . said...

"This much he knew. The ropes were carving into her. Bayla was in pain" (224). I think this passage as a whole was extremely sad. Reading the very descriptive detail of how the ropes entangled and injured Bayla brought sadness. Reading about the passion Moore had was powerful. I am always intrigued when I read, hear, or learn about people who put forth extraordinary effort with and for specific things.

J'kolbe Kelly said...

The point that caught my attention can be found on page 226. It says, "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 scene caught my attention with its word choice and use of comparison.

Nia Piggott said...


After reading "Chasing Bayla" the point of the article that caught my attention was on page 240 where the text states " In her mouth they discovered the rope that Dodd and SLay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded." The point was notable to me because the description painted a clear picture of the damage the rope caused. It made me as the reader picture exactly what they were describing. I felt deep sorrow for Bayla and it made me think twice of how humans treat animals.

Sierra E said...

Page 226 reads, "Rope anchored in her mouth. It coiled around her flippers in a skein of tangled loops. With every move it pulled tighter."

235, "At times it felt like science was working against him. Chemists were creating ropes with strength of steel. Fishermen were opting for stronger ropes because they lasted longer on the rocky ocean floors."

These two quotes caught my attention. Because while science can be helpful, it can also hurt. Its mutual destruction and benefit.

Nia Oke-Famakinde said...

After reading, the point that caught my attention was on page 226 where, "Her back sloped alarmingly, a sign of emanciation from hauling rope more than 10 times her length, possibly for months." This caught my attention because Bayla had to carry such a long rope for months on end. I thought that was cruel due to the fact that she was obviously unable to remove that rope herself. I also thought of how much of a challenge it was for the workers to try to cut the ropes off of Bayla.
Nia O.

Kytela Medearis said...

I have always been the type to advocate for animal rights, so reading this definitely hit me hard. On page 240 the author wrote, "In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, like a pig in a blanket." (240) These animals are often times just left to suffer and die on their own due to a unsuccessful attempt of killing them for their rarity. Just to think how awful it would have been to be a right whale having to endure such injuries is crushing.

Joey N. said...

While reading "Chasing Bay" a fact I found interesting was on page 228. According to the article, some years there is only one calf born in the entire population of the species. This fertility fact really amplified the tragedy of the right whales. A species is literally being completely eradicated from the planet simply for money and human advancement.

Natalie Thompson said...

pg. 240 ..."in her mouth the discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. New tissue had grown over it...". This was notable to me because trying to stop a whale that weighs tons is not an easy task. I felt as though the fishermen did what they could to save her the first time. I commend them for their efforts. I just found it surprising that she was able to live that long with the rope Imbeddd in her body.

NatalieThompson

Maya Searcy said...

The part that stood to me the most was towards the end. It said how she would be put in a museum and given the Bayla meaning beautiful. This stood out the most because all through the article it talked about how horrible her injuries were. Especially in the beginning where it talks about the ropes going through her aand it was impossible to tell where tthey began and where they ended.
-Maya Searcy

Quincy S. said...

An injury that stood out to me, was on page 240. The article states that "In her mouth they discovered rope that Dodd and Slay hadn't gotten. It was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, like a pig in a blanket". This description stood out to me because it made me reflect on the harm and invasion that many animals endure, due to human behavior.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

"The rope was likely polypropylene...Blubber was no match for it. Bayla's body was cut upen in places, as though by cheese wire" (226). This horrific description stood out to me initially due to its great detail. It painted a picture in my head. It made me reflect upon the careless ness of human beings when it comes to animals in their own home. This issue is not talked about as much as it should be. People should make a conscious effort to treat animals better in their natural habitat. They should not endure injuries due to humans.

-B. Nigeda

Tameah F said...

The most notable injury Bayla suffered was the rope in her mouth that ultimately led to her demise (240). It is astonishing how she was able to suffer most of her life being caught in ropes and being able to escape, yet this time, the rope was embedded in her mouth for so long that it became part of her. This was a disturbing article to read but I was excited to know that there is a way to possibly save the population of right whales.

Anonymous said...

What shocked me the most about Bayla's injuries is the description that parts of her body was cut open due to the synthetic rope. It disturbs me because I imagine pieces of flesh left open to the ocean. Similar to Harambe, this animal's life is being taken away due to humans interfering with their habitat, which makes me very upset.

-Brandon N.

Anonymous said...

"By the end of the day the team determined that Bayla had died from severe emaciation and lacerations caused by hundreds of feet of 1/4 inch diameter floating polypropylene rope that connected traps or pots."(241) This is sad because Bayla died of the same kind of rope that Moore had been trying to get restricted. Humans need to more considerate of wildlife.
-Christopher Ukachukwu

Tashawna Nash said...

"X-rays showed the ropes had deformed her bones and altered the way she swam."(233) This part stuck out to me because it is horrible to imagine that she had to swim with this rope so much that it changed how she swam. I think it is a horrible thing that rope actually changed her bone structure and altered how she swam previously.

~Tashawna N.

Roland Wooters said...

The part that really stood out to me was how it was described when the team of researchers cut the rope out of Bayla's mouth on page 240. It had became so embedded in there that tissue formed over it in her mouth. That was by far the most visual use of imagery that was displayed in all of the short stories we have read this semester. It is sickening to think of all of the harm and pain these animals have been inflicted, all to which could have been avoided if our human behavior was more selfless and pure.

Trion T. said...

One point that concerned me was the deeply embedded rope in Bayla's mouth mentioned on page 240. It stood out because it's hard to imagine this calf carrying such a burden around for months on end, only to end up where she ended. It befuddles me that people would know about such an endangered species and still engage in behaviors that propagate their extinction.

Anitra B. said...

The scene that really caught my attention was on page 226 when the author wrote "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 stood out to me the most because of the comparison that the author used. The choice of words and the imagery used made it easy to visualize and imagine the injuries.

Anonymous said...

What caught my attention concerning Bayla's injuries was her cause of death. On page 241 readers learn that Bayla had passed away due to "severe emaciation and lacerations caused by...rope" and that unfortunately, by the time Moore's team cut it away, Bayla was too weak to survive. This point caught my attention because it saddened me to know how long Bayla had to live under such life threatening conditions and that by the time salvation was provided to her, it was too late.

Sydnee T.

kenneth Tolliver said...

The account of Bayla's injuries were gruesome indeed. However something that caught my attention more than ever was how her body was ravaged by sharks after she died (page 240). This gave me a sense of insult to injury as the whale had already been killed in a gruesome manner and in tons of pain, but what was left of her remains was eaten up by sharks.

Kelsey W said...

On page 226, Moore shot Bayla with a sedative to remove the rope from her. I thought it was very risky to do that when he wasn't sure her weight and said if the sedative was too strong for her weight it might actually kill her. I know he probably made the right decision but I thought it was odd he would take such a chance when he was so passionate about right whales and the population is as low as it is.

Erica K. said...

Page 240 wrote, "it was so deeply embedded, new tissue had grown over it, like a pig in a blanket." This was most notable to me because it paints the picture on how harmful the rope much have been for the whale and how difficult it was for the men to get it.

Ashia Kent said...

A part that stood out to me was the rope incident on page 240. It really shocked me and it really opened my eyes because I don't think we realize how much trouble these animals are in and it's almost like a wake up call. It's really sad that an animal has to go through something like and for so long it caused a cut that deep and then lead to death. It's truly sad and shows more things need to be done to prevent things like this from happening.

cassidy oliver said...

The most notable part of the story is when Bayla was shot (237). The imagery used reminded me of how they would possibly describe an individual being shot. Even though the shot was used to sedate her, they were risking her life just to possibly save her. Whales, similar to others, are definitely at risk.

Jade H. said...

"Her back was 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," (226). I can't even imagine how painful that must have been to Bayla; every move she made the rope got deeper into her. It was a sad but eye-opening read about what's going on with right whales.

-Jade. H

Isaiah Blackburn said...

After the rescuers successfully injected the antibiotics and were attempting to free Bayla, she behaved quite differently from the other whales mentioned. She didn't fight or try to run, even after being freed, the article reads "if Bayla felt anything, she gave no indication." (239) This reminded me how sometimes families try to preserve a dying person's life even if he is ready to just let go.

Dakarai P. said...

One of the moments that stood out the most to me was after Bayla's death when the researchers were examining her body and found ropes that was so deeply embedded that new tissue had grown over it (240). This really stood out to me because I can only imagine the pain and suffering she went through for months. Another moment that really touched me was the guilt Moore felt, he cried after finding the bent needle knowing it had probably caused her pain. He felt as though he had failed her.

Jazsmine Towner said...

One of the moments that stood out to me was the manner in which Bayla died. When the researchers were examining her they noticed that the rope was so deeply embedded in her mouth that new tissue grew right over it (240). This saddens me that the rope was trapped in her mouth for so long that new tissue had to chance to grow over it, it also saddens me that she was in pain for an extended amount of time, which is animal cruelty. Another thing that stood out to me was the researchers attempt to save her and other whales lives by doing everything in their power to keep them save and not in pain.

Xavier Morrison- Wallace said...

Its really disturbing to think about the pain and suffering these right whales have to go through. As mentioned on page 228, many of these whales carry scars from entanglement, and when trying to escape from the ropes they get more trapped and hurt.