Frolicking With the Whales

A lucky encounter in Antarctica proves you don't have to kill minke whales to study them.

They may not be white whales named Moby, but Antarctic minke whales can be just as elusive. Generally shy and abundant only around the inhospitable southern continent, the dark bronze beasts — among the smallest baleen whales at roughly 5 to 10 tons each — have been difficult to study in their environment, so biologists know little about their behavior. In fact, their elusive nature has been used by some as an excuse to hunt and kill the whales, saying it’s the only way to stud...

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