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Listen to an Interview with Brenda Peterson on ANIMALS TODAY, March, 2013:
NPR interview San Francisco KQED on ANIMAL HEART on SOUND CLOUD

When an eerie mass stranding of whales and dolphins takes place along the mist-shrouded Oregon coast, forensic wildlife pathologist Isabel Spinner covertly investigates this disaster as a crime against wildlife. When Isabel connects with Marshall McGreggor, an undersea photographer, the two find themselves making surprising decisions – that will forever change their lives.

In her environmental thriller, Peterson offers a captivating love story of people whose compassion for animals compels them into extraordinary acts of heroism. Based on cutting-edge science, this powerful page-turner is a haunting, highly original story of the deep bonds between humans and animals – and of our inevitably linked fates.


Praise for Animal Heart

"Brenda Peterson weaves a haunting love story into a fast-moving plot. Animal Heart is based on facts that are terrifyingly true, and it captures the exquisite beauty of a world that we are devastating and destroying, piece by piece. Please read it."
--Jane Goodall, author of Reason for Hope

"One can hardly imagine a more heartfelt work or a more unusual love story than this one. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries."
--Library Journal


Enjoy this dolphin cruise when Summer Tree Institute took Brenda, Jane Goodall, and Tom Magnelson to meet wild dolphins off Dana Point, California.

 My Huffington Posts on military sonar at these links:

Killing With Sound: What Happens When the Whales Stop Singing?

Close your eyes. Your world is now only sound -- the rain, the traffic, that far-off siren. In this acoustic world, how you navigate, find food, your children, or mate, all depends upon how well you hear. Imagine that as you search in the darkness for a crying child, a horrifying drone, loud as a rocket, suddenly blasts sound pulses like shockwaves through your home.

War Games Killing Whales

If the U.S. military conducted their war games in our world's forests -- setting the Appalachian Trail on fire or strafing bucks, bears, and bobcats in Yosemite with armed drones -- it would seem like the end of the world. Watching in horror as thousands of ambushed animals stampeded through the woods, blood streaming from ears and eyes, we'd demand the military sstop its scorched earth carnage.

Stop U.S. Navy's War on Whales

Remember the popular Star Trek IV movie, The Voyage Home? Two humpback whales, George and Gracie, save the earth from a devastating alien probe by simply defusing the attack--with whale song. In that far-sighted film, humans have driven whales to extinction; in the 21st century, oceans are barren...

PLEASE SIGN A MOVEON.ORG PETITION to President Obama to limit military sonar in critical habitat for whales and dolphins!

WATCH VIDEO of Military Sonar and LISTEN to its effects on whales and dolphins

Here's an update on this lethal sonar profiled in my novel, ANIMAL HEART. I've been covering this story since 1995 when I was one of the first to help break the story in the Seattle Times of military sonar tests in a Hawaiian whale sanctuary—"War Games in a Whale Nursery." In 1995, this dangerous acoustic technology was barely mentioned in the press. Now, in 2013, The New York Times, Scientific American, and many of the best environmental watchdogs, including Natural Resources Defense Council and Earth Justice have joined the international outcry over this "acoustic holocast."
Please get invovolved. Read my new Huffington Post, 

original artwork by Christine Lamb Studios
Close your eyes. Your world is now only sound -- the rain, the traffic, that far-off siren. In this acoustic world, how you navigate, find food, your children, or mate, all depends upon how well you hear. Imagine that as you search in the darkness for a crying child, a horrifying drone, loud as a rocket, suddenly blasts sound pulses like shockwaves through your home.

There are no noise-cancelling headphones to stop the U.S. Navy's 235-decibel pressure waves of unbearable pinging and metallic shrieking. At 200 Db, the vibrations can rupture your lungs, and above 210 Db, the lethal noise can bore straight through your brain until it hemorrhages that delicate tissue. If you're not deaf after this devastating sonar blast, you're dead.

This is the real life of marine mammals destroyed by the U.S. Navy's all-out acoustic war on the world's oceans. The collateral damage of this high-intensity military sonar is shocking. But because all these millions of dying whales or dolphins are too often out of human sight, they're also out of mind. Only when cetaceans strand on land do we witness what orca researcher, Ken Balcomb, calls, this "acoustic holocaust." Military sonar so panics cetaceans that as they try to escape the sonic violence, they rise too quickly to the surface and die of "the bends."

Ken Balcomb has researched multi-generations of the resident orca pods in the Pacific Northwest. In March, 2000, Balcomb documented a mass stranding of predominantly deep-diving beaked whales off theBahamas that the Navy later finally admitted was a result of their LFA (Low-frequency Active sonar) tests. Balcomb told the Los Angeles Times, "sonar waves at certain frequencies might have resonated around the whale's ears, causing tissues to tear much as a wineglass will shatter at a particular pitch."

Scientific American calls military sonar, "rolling walls of noise." For the dolphins, whom researchers have documented as "self-aware," noting that they "call each other by name," this is a brutal and inhumane death sentence. For whales, such as the great blue, who can communicate over thousands of miles, such sonic stress affects reproduction and communication so much that some whales simply stop vocalizing. What happens to our oceans when the whales stop singing?

In the Navy's latest environmental impact statement draft, they admit that the sonar exercises planned for 2014-2018 may unintentionally "harm marine mammals 2.8 million times over five years." This estimate is up about 150,000 instances a year from their EIS statement of 2009-2013. Included in this estimate are two million incidents of "temporary hearing loss," and 2,000 are targeted for permanent hearing loss.

A deaf whale is a dead whale. Dr. Lindy Weilgart, sperm whale researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia warns us "There are some technologies that simply should never be used. As a scientist -- and as a mother and fellow inhabitant of this fragile planet -- I am alarmed at this new threat to our oceans. The ocean gives us our air, our water, our food, and regulates our climate. The ocean literally enables human life."

Criticism of the Navy's sonar has intensified, even as the military has intensified their sonar tests.The main concern of scientists and environmentalists is that the Navy has not done enough environmental impact research and knows much too little about the devastation they're unleashing on our marine environment to proceed with such expanded target ranges.

The Navy has paid little heed to the scientists, the lawsuits, the public outcry, and the many media storms all protesting this risky technology. Even while sometimes admitting sonar's role in mass strandings -- like those in the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Pacific Northwest, Greece, and North Carolina -- the Navy has proceeded to garner federal permits to expand their sonar tests.

(Continue reading for links on The Huffington Post at this link:

Also see my first sonar piece, Seattle Times, 1995 "War Games in a Whale Nursery," which helped to break the story of this dangerous sonar on the mainland. Since then many environmental groups, including Natutral Resources Defense Council, Earth Justice, and the Humane Society have all protested this acoustic technology—like a Star Wars under the sea. To sign a petition to help limit this:

WATCH A VIDEO of this sonar and its effect on our oceans:
More Praise for ANIMAL HEART

"This is a galvanizing and enlightening tale thanks to Peterson's expert portrayal of animals, compassionate view of radical activism, and illuminating insights into our profound bonds with other species."

"[A] gripping tale about love, xenotransplantation and the military-industrial complex’s flagrant disregard for environmental responsibility. . .Peterson’s passion shines through."
--Publisher's Weekly

"Strangely gratifying narratives….Novelist and memoirist Peterson is most comfortable in the precincts of natural history, where the book draws its passion . . .She writes with force and concision about poachers and the hugely destructive recklessness of military testing. Provocative in the best sense: it gets the reader mad enough to care."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Animal Heart is more than simply an "eco-novel"— it is human drama based on the integrity of individuals who recognize "cellular knowledge," what we intrinsically share with other species, as the compassion necessary toward our next evolutionary step as human beings."
--Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and Leap
Here's a video of dolphins that will inspire you to rememer our first home—the primal seas.
My wonderful ANIMAL HEART editor, Linda Gunnarson, still a close friend. In San Francisco, 2014