part two: paul nicklen on the inuit hunt
"i grew up on baffin island with the inuit, and they’ve always been wonderful friends. it’s very special to be on the sea ice with them, laughing, talking, eating wild food, and watching nature pass us by. but i’ve always been hesitant about doing a story on narwhals because i knew that i would have to look at the issues surrounding a style of hunting that needs much improvement. too many whales are wounded and sunk, and something has to change.
[though the numbers remain controversial, it is believed that many narwhlas are shot but either escpae wounded or sink to their death uncaught. for economically struggling inuit communities, the narwhal tusk, despite some international bans, provides a welcomed income, while the skin and blubber, muktuk, is a traditional inuit delicacy.]
"i’ve spoken with canada’s department of fisheries and oceans (DFO) on several occasions, but — although there are many good people in the organization — it seems that no one wants to touch this issue because it’s too politically sensitive. hunting is an inuit right, but both the DFO and the inuit need to find a better way of hunting small whales.
"i hated telling this story. it’s the most stressful thing i’ve ever done. i feel as if I’m betraying my friends. but at the same time i hope that, ultimately, the DFO will work with the inuit and help them find a better way so that their kids and grandkids can continue their traditions. in the end, i told this story because it’s obvious that the narwhals do not have a voice, and i’ve done my best to fairly represent them as well as the inuit. as a journalist, i have to tell truthful, unbiased stories of what i see, no matter how difficult it may be at times."
part one: paul nicklen on the narwhal migration
why, why, why?!? why would you kill anything, why would you kill the unicorns of the sea?!? why are people so barbaric