lunes, noviembre 08, 2004

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from the November 04, 2004 edition


| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Three years ago, a humpback whale surfaced under the keel of a ship off the coast of Massachusetts, gashing its dorsal fin.

That whale was fortunate compared with the minke whale struck and killed near Barnstable, Mass., in 1998. Both accidents were caused by whale-watching ships loaded with people eager to see the behemoths.

From watching whales in New England to tracking polar bears on the tundra to swimming with dolphins in the Pacific, well-meaning tourists are putting increasing pressure on animals worldwide, new studies show. The problem isn't limited to hordes of people degrading the environment. In some cases, ecotourism unwittingly appears to be killing the wildlife it seeks to protect.

"You can find more than a few instances in which people are just loving these animals to death," says Martha Honey, executive director of The International Ecotourism Society in Washington. (TIES).

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