Few creatures carry more emotion on their broad backs than whales; and few issues arouse as much passion as whaling. Each year around this time the International Whaling Commission comes under pressure to allow the resumption of commercial catching and killing of whales and the Save the Whale lobbyists protest. But how many whales are there? Can the scientists and statisticians tell us—and how much influence do they wield in the real world of whale-politik? Philip Hammond, a former Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the IWC, explains.