The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century | Vintage Living Today For A Future Tomorrow |

Fifty years ago 180,000 whales disappeared from the oceans without a trace, and researchers are still trying to make sense of why.

...But it was in this space, between the false numbers and the real ones, that the researchers’ work became engrossing in ways that had little to do with marine biology. In gathering the figures, the researchers had also gathered stories that explained how the figures had come to be—the scientist who had stashed heaps of documents in his potato cellar; the whaling ship captain accused of espionage; elaborate acts of high-seas tactical misdirection and disguise usually reserved for navies in battle. The authors, I realized, were assembling not just a scientific record but also a human history, an account of a remarkable collision between political ideology and the natural world—and a lesson for anyone seeking to protect the fragile ecosystems that exist in the world’s least governed spaces.