Noted from the April 2009 issue of National Geographic, in the article “Ice Paradise”:

On a voyage to Svalbard in 1612, the captain of a Dutch ship reported that the Barents Sea was so full of whales that the ship’s prow parted the beasts as though it were cutting through pack ice. By the end of the eighteenth century, the world’s insatiable appetite for whale oil had almost wiped them out. Some 50,000 bowhead whales, the longest lived mammal on the planet, were taken by Dutch vessels alone. The commercial carnage drove the species to near extinction. (Today more than 10,000 bowheads survive, mostly in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas.)

I’d like to see a sight like that. I’d also like to see the sky darken with passenger pigeons. I’d like to hear the ground shake from a herd of bison passing. The latter is at least possible, since there are around 300,000 bison in the United States these days.

Hey, I can dream.

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