The GreenRoom: February 2006

GreenRoom is glad to see Georgia’s northern right whales featured in the “Georgia Explorer” exhibit at the new Georgia Aquarium. Few Georgians are aware that these beautiful creatures spend the winter and give birth to their calves in our waters. Among the planet’s most endangered mammals, only 300 or so remain, and in the past 18 months eight have been killed. Conservationists cite increased threat to the whales by boat traffic as a reason to stop Cumberland Harbour in St. Mary’s: the community would include one of the state’s biggest marinas (holding 800 boats); overlooking where northern right whale No. 2425 died after colliding with a boat last March. Developers are reportedly educating potential boaters about the whales – and how to avoid them – but the conflict is only the latest example of how development threatens the unique and fragile ecosystem along Georgia’s coast.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation gave the Georgia Wildlife Federation $180,000 in December to implement the Georgia Wildlife Action Plan, a local extension of a national effort to protect wildlife habitats and broaden public awareness by partnering with groups like Teaming with Wildlife and the GWF Camo Coalition. The grant “fosters a new leadership role in wildlife conservation among states,” says Jerry McCollum, President and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

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