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For anti-whaling protestors in Washington state, the buzz is gone. Last year, those decrying the Makah tribe’s annual whale hunt found themselves awash in publicity, sparking a national debate. This year, the animal activists are back, according to the SEATTLE TIMES — but the media is gone. “The implied message is it’s OK for the Makahs to take a whale,” claims Keith Johnson, president of the Makah Whaling Commission.

Help for the activists, however, is on its way from an unlikely source. The anti-whaling camp made an Internet plea for concerned citizens to call up Olson’s Resort in Sekiu, Wash., and charge a donation for food and fuel to their credit cards. (“Unlike the Makah whalers, we can’t run begging to the federal government for tax dollars,” wrote one protester.) Surprisingly, a resort spokesperson said that about 10 donors had called thus far, “mostly people who just got back from whale-watching trips and really loved the whales.” That’s good for the whales, but not for protest-weary Makahs like Johnson. He says, “I can understand many, many people’s opinion of not wanting us to hunt the whale … I would ask those people if they would just leave us alone, just leave us alone.”

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