The Tourist Trail tells the story Magellanic penguin researchers and anti-whaling activists. And though the book is fiction, the stories themselves reflect all-to-real events happening right now around the world.
I read this morning that Japan had suspended whaling activities due to harassment from the Sea Shepherd Society. This is amazing news, though Japan could very well start up again at any moment. Paul Watson and his organization have made it clear that when governments fail to enforce a law — illegal poaching in protected waters — civilians don’t have to sit back helplessly. Ordinary people are making a difference every day protecting all types of animals all around the world. I will meet many of these people at the FARM event this July — more on that later.
The bad news I read this morning has to do with Magellanic penguins. A group of 20 have been shipped to a zoo in the US. These were beached penguins, starved and probably close to death. Brazilians had rescued them and now were committing them to a life in zoos. I’m assuming that these penguins could not have been returned to the wild — I’m certainly hoping that’s the case. Its comforting to think that penguins will enjoy a life in the zoo, but I’m not so sure anymore. These birds go from traveling a hundred miles in any given day to doing laps in what amounts to a bathtub. Sure, they get food for life and they are free of predators and oil spills. But when you see penguins in their native environment it’s just hard to see them in a zoo. And it’s harder still to think that their native environment is disappearing, the food becoming more elusive. That’s what appears to be happening right now, as penguins venture further from home in search of food, ensuring more beachings and more tenants at the local zoo.