Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World

Paperback | August 5, 2014

byTodd McLeish

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Among all the large whales on Earth, the most unusual and least studied is the narwhal, the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Narwhals thrive in the fjords and inlets of northern Canada and Greenland. These elusive whales, whose long tusks were the stuff of medieval European myths and Inuit legends, are uniquely adapted to the Arctic ecosystem and are able to dive below thick sheets of ice to depths of up to 1,500 meters in search of their prey-halibut, cod, and squid.

Join Todd McLeish as he travels high above the Arctic circle to meet:

Teams of scientific researchers studying the narwhal's life cycle and the mysteries of its tusk

Inuit storytellers and hunters

Animals that share the narwhals' habitat: walruses, polar bears, bowhead and beluga whales, ivory gulls, and two kinds of seals

McLeish consults logbooks kept by whalers and explorers and interviews folklorists and historians to tease out the relationship between the real narwhal and the mythical unicorn. In Colorado, he visits climatologists studying changes in the seasonal cycles of the Arctic ice. From a history of the trade in narwhal tusks to descriptions of narwhals' vocalizations as heard through hydrophones, Narwhals reveals the beauty and thrill of the narwhal and its habitat, and the threat it faces from a rapidly changing world.

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From the Publisher

Among all the large whales on Earth, the most unusual and least studied is the narwhal, the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Narwhals thrive in the fjords and inlets of northern Canada and Greenland. These elusive whales, whose long tusks were the stuff of medieval European myths and Inui...

Todd McLeish is the author of Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: Encounters with New England's Most Imperiled Wildlife and Basking with Humpbacks: Tracking Threatened Marine Life in New England Waters. He lives in Pascoag, Rhode Island.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 5.97 × 0.56 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295994169

ISBN - 13:9780295994161

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue

1. First Encounter 2. Whale Spotting3. A Symphony of Moos 4. The Inside-Out Tooth 5. Mythology 6. Melting Ice 7. Greenland 8. Subsistence 9. Muktuk 10. To the East 11. Playing Catch 12. Gaining Ground 13. Looking Ahead

AcknowledgmentsBibliography Index

Editorial Reviews

Among all the large whales on Earth, the most unusual and least studied is the narwhal, the northernmost whale on the planet and the one most threatened by global warming. Narwhals thrive in the fjords and inlets of northern Canada and Greenland. These elusive whales, whose long tusks were the stuff of medieval European myths and Inuit legends, are uniquely adapted to the Arctic ecosystem and are able to dive below thick sheets of ice to depths of up to 1,500 meters in search of their prey-halibut, cod, and squid.Join Todd McLeish as he travels high above the Arctic circle to meet:Teams of scientific researchers studying the narwhal's life cycle and the mysteries of its tuskInuit storytellers and huntersAnimals that share the narwhals' habitat: walruses, polar bears, bowhead and beluga whales, ivory gulls, and two kinds of sealsMcLeish consults logbooks kept by whalers and explorers and interviews folklorists and historians to tease out the relationship between the real narwhal and the mythical unicorn. In Colorado, he visits climatologists studying changes in the seasonal cycles of the Arctic ice. From a history of the trade in narwhal tusks to descriptions of narwhals' vocalizations as heard through hydrophones, Narwhals reveals the beauty and thrill of the narwhal and its habitat, and the threat it faces from a rapidly changing world.Todd McLeish takes us far in several dimensions—across space, through time, and into the interiors of the human mental landscape—to paint a vivid and eloquent portrait of an animal seldom seen, wrongly imagined, and too often mistreated. This is one of those rare books that lifts you up and takes you in. - Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and The View From Lazy Point and A Natural Year in an Unnatural World