Sacramento Bee / Scott Flodin
Fund raising: fact and fancyMore than 160 million environmental fund-raising pitches swirled through the U.S. mail last year. Some used the power of cute animals to attract donors. The problem is that in many cases those campaigns were less than honest.
Pitch: California gray whaleTime is running out for Laguna San Ignacio and the gray whales. Their fate is very briefly in our hands. Please take a few minutes right now to save them. Tomorrow may be too late.
-- Natural Resources Defense Council, fund-raising letter
Fact:The California gray whale is a conservation success story. Since receiving protection from commercial whaling in 1946, the gray whale has made a remarkable recovery and now numbers between 19,000 and 23,000, probably close to its original population. The gray whale was removed from the federal Endangered Species List in 1994.
Source: American Cetacean Society.
Forgotten:"The fight to save the great whales has largely been won. All but ignored has been the plight of smaller cetaceans, which continues to worsen. Some species ... of dolphins, porpoises and small whales are in greater danger of extinction than any of the great whales...However, (this) situation has received little publications -- indeed, they are almost forgotten species."
Source: Oceanus, 1989