Many species of whales have left the St. Lawrence for the winter. Observing these cetaceans in the flesh in the St. Lawrence is not the only way to discover these magnificent animals. Their charm can also be felt across the pages of those books that place them in the limelight! Discover five books for different audiences.
Whales and Seals: Biology and Ecology
By Pierre-Henry Fontaine
Pierre-Henry Fontaine, a genuine expert on whales and seals, presents these marine mammals in this most recent edition of his book. From the evolution of ecological characteristics to fascinating behaviours, this reference covers everything that needs to be known. A total of 28 fact sheets provide information on mysticetes (baleen whales), odontocetes (toothed whales) (article in French) and pinnipeds, several species of which can be observed in the St. Lawrence. Thanks to its compact format, this book can even serve as a field guide when observing marine mammals in the wild!
Song for a Whale
By Lynne Kelly
Inspired by the story of the 52-hertz whale (article in French), or the “world’s loneliest whale,” the author recounts the story of Iris, a young deaf girl, who crosses paths with Blue 55, a solitary, poorly understood whale. Iris, moved by and empathetic toward the whale’s predicament, composes a song for the animal in frequencies that it can perceive. In short, this beautiful story of an encounter between a marine mammal and a human recalls the bonds that unite all living beings!
Animals Illustrated: Bowhead Whale
By Joanasie Karpik et Sho Uehara
Bowhead whales, one of the longest-living mammals in the world (that can live to be over 200 years old!), are the stars of this picture book. Topics covered include reproduction, feeding, global distribution and more, all accompanied by high-quality illustrations. As an Inuit elder, the author shares his wealth of knowledge about this enormous cetacean.
The Last Whalers
By Doug Bock Clark
This documentary book explores the customs and traditions of the Lamalerans, an Asian people. Journalist Doug Bock Clark tells his story of going to meet this ethnic group, which is still attached to a traditional way of life that combines hunting and gathering. They also hunt sperm whales. The book thus puts into context this way of life where these marine mammals still provide subsistence for some people.
Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors
By Charlotte Coté
This book discusses the renewed debate as to whether or not to resume hunting grey whales, which were taken off the endangered species list in the 1990s. Although the hunt is an ancestral practice, issues relating to the rights of First Nations peoples, animals and the environment are raised. The author, a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth nation in British Columbia, relates the facts of a very complex situation.
Some of these works are available at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre boutique in Tadoussac, or online through websites such as Libraires, Indigo or Strong Nations. Take advantage of the holiday season to enjoy one of these books by the fireplace!