Apology for Whale Shooting given by Tribe
Joshua Hill
September 13, 2007

The ninth of September saw a gray whale shot and killed by members of the Makah Tribe, off the coast of the Washington Coast, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

From a report by the Peninsula Daily News, the whale was both "shot (with a gun) and harpooned in the morning, and then languished for the rest of the day. It was unable to swim away because it was attached to inflated buoys. Finally, around 7:30 p.m., it stopped moving. U.S. Coast Guard sailors cut the lines to the buoys and the animal sank."

Animal rights activists were quick to condemn the action, calling for punishment. Cathy Liss, a spokesman for the Animal Welfare Institute said "The American public should be aghast and angry that five members of the Makah Tribe have harpooned and shot a harmless, sentient and intelligent gray whale."

Humpback whale. The whale shot by Makah Tribe members was a gray whale. A recent study showed that gray whales are only a fraction of their historic levels despite conservation efforts. Climate change may be affecting populations. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
"This tragedy was committed in violation of Federal and State laws and we expect and insist that the state, federal, and tribal law enforcement authorities arrest, charge, and prosecute all involved in this incident to the fullest extent."

On Wednesday, leaders of the Makah Tribe apologizing to federal officials, as well as to Congress, for the ¬Ďunauthorized' killing of a gray whale.

Separate meetings with the state's senators and officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were held, allowing the tribal leaders to condemn the act and announce that the 5 accused men are now under tribal investigation.

The tribe is still however attempting to receive a waiver from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration so that they would be allowed to kill as many as five whales per year, for ceremonial and subsistence purposes.

Micah McCarty, a tribal member, believes this to be a "a public relations setback," but that he is hopeful it will not affect the decision in the long run.

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Joshua Hill (September 13, 2007).

Apology for Whale Shooting given by Tribe.