Friday, May 14, 2010

For Lily

I live in Dana Point, California. We had a gray whale in our harbor this week. We went down to catch a glimpse and were surprised to find news crews, sheriffs, helicopters and excited masses of people. We walked out on the crowded jetty and saw her - a real, live, whale, up close. It was completely awe inspiring to be able to see such a majestic creature just feet away. Locals named her Lily and while we were on that jetty we got the whole story.

At first, it was speculated that she was an old whale and had come to the harbor to beach herself. But as it turns out, Lily was actually quite young and a damsel in distress. Gray whales migrate from Baja to Alaska each year. Lily was caught in a fishing net and the weight of 150 pounds of fishing net tangled in her tail and fins was making it too difficult for her to continue her migration. Whales are social creatures, and she must have been in a pod that left her behind. The folks at Sea World came to her rescue and she remained docile and still as can be, for four hours while they cut the fishing net off her. We, humans, put her into peril, yet she still trusted us enough to let us come inches away - even with the roar of the helicopters and the slew of boats surrounding her.

And once they cut her free we all rejoiced for our self-appointed hometown hero. She picked our harbor as her haven and so many of us were honored to be a part of her story. Lily died today. I am not sure how, because I'm too heartbroken to hear anything about the gentle soul whose story was sure to be a happy ending . She touched the hearts of so many - none of us the same - yet all of us bound together, inspired by her courage. We, the human race, have to do better for our wildlife. A whale shouldn't suffer because we were careless with a fishing net, and an entire eco-system shouldn't die from an oil spill. The Earth's creatures should all be treated with honor, compassion and responsibility. And I'm proud to say I saw people from all walks of life do just that by rallying around a whale named Lily.

If you want to support whale conservation, please send this message to president Obama urging him to stop plans to legalize commercial whaling. Do it for Lily.

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