28 pages to save the whales
THE HAGUE – If on a slow Sunday you ever run into a beached humpback whale you’ll be glad you read this! You’re bound to feel overwhelmed by many compelling questions when you approach that humpback. Let the Dutch Economics Ministry guide you here. It survived the ho-hum days of summer by drafting a how-to manual for people who come face-to-face with a beached whale.
The report’s title _ ‘Protocol Concerning the Beaching of Live, Large Cetaceans’ _ is a tad bloated but ignore that. This is a powerful work of 28 pages, 5 chapters, complex organizational charts and a list of reference materials. The latter include a study by one D.K. Coughran entitled ‘Euthanasia of beached humpback whales using explosives.”
The report brims with other useful tips. For instance: Can Sparky join your rescue? Oh, no, says the report. “Keep dogs well away.” How about pregnant women? No! “Pregnant women should not act as a rescue worker” when it comes to nudging a beached humpback seaward, says the government study. Information you need!
Can you shoot that humpback? Yes, but only if you have a license from the Economics Ministry’s Crisis Management Coordination Center. The report rains on its own parade by acknowledging that “whale beachings are complex incidents with many variables (and that) mass beachings do not occur in the Netherlands or very rarely.” The origin of the government’s manual lies in the Dec. 12, 2012, beaching of a humpback whose rescue was bungled. The mammal lay out of the water for 4 days, then died. Next time, the Dutch, like boy scouts, will be prepared.