Three pangas, a kind of utility motorboat, encircle a mother gray whale and her calf in a Baja Calif. lagoon, providing a dramatic close-up view for about 20 excited tourists. It’s hard to tell who’s more curious— the human onlookers, who yearn to touch the whales’ soft skin, or the calf, who eases up to a panga and accepts the human caresses as blithely as would a pet cat.
Ironically, whales, birds, other fauna and their habitats face a different kind of pressure than the extractive
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