National Geographic : 2002 Apr
Forum - December 2001 The death of a sealpup in Antarctica and the perils ofprosperity in Silicon Valley drew passionateresponses from our readers.But no piece drew more mail than our article on Abra ham. "It is fact that many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion," wrote a reader. "It is alsofact that some of the greatestworks of benevolence and deeds of mercy... have been done in the name of religion." Antarctica I would like to know the story behind the Weddell seal pup on pages 10-11. I cannot believe that an exceptional organization like National Geographic would not intervene on the pup's behalf. To allow an abandoned pup to wander off and die is inhumane. NANCY J. CRIDER El Paso, Texas "Even though I'd learned that only halfof Weddell seals survive their first year, it was very upsetting," says photographerMaria Stenzel. The internationalAntarctic Treaty prohibitsinterferingwith wildlife without a researchpermit, which Maria did not have. Nor could the scientist accompanying Maria legally euthanize the pup, as some readers have suggested would have been humane. The pup attempted to join otherpups and mothers nearbybut was rejected when it tried to suckle. Adoption is rare; each mother has only one pup a year, and enough milk and energy for that pup. MEMBERSHIP Please call 1-800 -NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463). Special device for the hearing-impaired (TDD) 1-800-548-9797. Online: nationalgeographic.com/ngm The caption on page 27 states that the giant petrel was banded in 1979. Does this bird really survive that long? GARY LEVESQUE Tucson, Arizona The life span of the giantpetrel has not been documented, but ornithologistspresume that indi viduals may live well past 40, as do albatrosses,also members of the order Procellariiformes. I greatly enjoyed the Antarctica article. I was surprised to learn on page 12 that Erebus has "one of the few permanent lava lakes in the world." I eagerly awaited the names of the others but was disappointed. So what are they? ANN STILLWATER Bowerston, Ohio There are also permanent lava lakes in the Rift Valley volcanoes Erta'alein Ethiopiaand Nyira gongo in the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo, which erupted so devastatinglyin late January. Journey of Faith Tad Szulc's article on Abraham was the best I've ever read on the subject. It should be required reading for Israelis, Palestinians, and anyone who cares about peace in the Middle East. The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * APRIL 2002 _ i NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "Forthe increaseand diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President,Magazine Group NINA D. HOFFMAN, President,Books and School PublishingGroup CHRISTOPHER A. LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, WILLIAM L.ALLEN, THOMAS E. BOLGER, J. CARTER BROWN, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., JAMES H. GILLIAM, JR., JOHN JAYISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, J.WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, PATRICK F.NOONAN, DENNIS R. PATRICK, NATHANIEL P. REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY, JAMES R. SASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton, Owen R. Anderson, Frank Borman, Lewis M. Branscomb, Robert L. Breeden, Lloyd H. Elliott, George M. Elsey, William Graves, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Frederick G. Vosburgh RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman;John M. Francis, Vice Chairmanand Executive Director;Richard S. Williams, Jr., ViceChairman; Martha E. Church, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, William H. Schlesinger, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-Dieter Sues, Henry T. Wright, Patricia C. Wright EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Stephen Ambrose, Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall, Zahi Hawass, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, David Doubilet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Development: Anne D. Cowie. Education Foundation: Barbara A. Chow. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: Rebecca Martin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder School Publishing: Ericka Markman, Sr. Vice President. International: Robert W. Hernbndez, Sr. Vice President. Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl6, Sr. Vice President. Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President ADMINISTRATION Finance: Michael J. Cole, Controller;H. Gregory Platts, Treasurer. Law: Susan Borke, Angelo M. Grima, Suzanne R. McDowell. Membership and Marketing Services: Mary P. Donohoe NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES C. RICHARD ALLEN, Presidentand CEO Television: Timothy T. Kelly, President.National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President. International;Laureen Ong, President,U.S .; Andrew C. Wilk, Exec. Vice President, Programming. natlonalgeographlc.com: Mitchell Praver, President. Maps: William L. Stoehr, President; Allen Carroll, Chief Cartographer. Enterprises: Linda Berkeley, President; Lynn Cutter, Travel; John Dumbacher, Licensing. Finance: Frances A. Marshall Copyright © 2002 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Printed in U.S.A.