In A Tale of a Sickly Whale, Dee Dee Conover recalls a chance encounter with a dying True’s beaked whale on the beach of her home island in Maine. Featuring hand-drawn imagery from the UK-based animators Rosanna Wan and Zuzanna Weiss, Conover’s reflection is a brief yet moving glimpse into the way that people can find not only a profound emotional connection with highly intelligent members of another species, but also a distinct impression of meaningful communication.
A Tale of a Sickly Whale is part of BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts documentary series. For more from BBC Radio 4, watch What Does it Mean to be Me? and The Life You Can Save, part of their A History of Ideas video series. For more on whales, watch The Whale Warehouse, on the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s massive mammal bone collection, and Whale Fall, on how a whale’s body sustains other lifeforms long after its own death.