A disabled killer whale that is missing two fins is able to survive in the wild with the help of its family, who hunt food its food.
The young killer whale has no dorsal fin or right-side pectoral fin, leaving it unable to hunt for itself.
But rather than be left to fend for itself or die, the whale appears to be cared for by members of its pod, which share their food with the youngster.
Posts tagged whales.
In Norway, culture of whaling can’t compete with modern alternatives. @whales_org @oceanwire
Note the slabs of meat. Also, Tim Zimmermann is a hard core, outdoors/environmental dude. He runs a solid tumblr - follow if you can!
Ship Strike = (Another) Dead #Humpback. This time a productive mother.
From the article:
They called her Istar.
The humpback whale that washed up dead on an East Quogue beach last week was well known to scientists and the whale community as a fertile mother tracked since 1976, researchers said this week.
Istar, named after Ishtar, an ancient Babylonian fertility goddess, mothered at least 11 calves, including two in consecutive years, 1988 and 1989, something previously undocumented, said Jooke Robbins, senior scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Tim asks, “I wonder what was on that ship. How important was it? How slow would ships have to go in the whale corridors to reduce the lethality of ship strikes? What would that cost?”
Tracking killer whales
in the Puget Sound outer Washington coast. This track shows where the “K Pod” traveled from March 28 to April 2. Great work by NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Center.
Rare Chinese Porpoises Dive Toward Extinction. Above, A Carcass of a Rare Yangtze Finless Porpoise.
“There are just 1,000 individual Yangtze finless porpoises left in the wild, according to a new report. That’s less than half of what a similar survey of the porpoises found six years ago.
The rapidly dwindling numbers have conservationists worried that the species could vanish from the wild as early as 2025.
“The species is moving fast toward its extinction,” said Wang Ding, head of the expedition to count the porpoises and a professor at the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Yangtze finless porpoises, the only freshwater finless porpoise in the world, live mainly in the Yangtze River and China’s Dongting and Poyang lakes. They are threatened by shrinking food resources and man-made disturbances like shipping traffic.
The expedition, which took place over 44 days last fall, comes after a similar trek along the Yangtze in 2007 failed to find any surviving Baiji dolphins, a close relative of the finless porpoise that was subsequently declared functionally extinct.
The new report showed that some finless porpoises are splintering off into relatively isolated groups, which could hurt their ability to reproduce. The scientists also noted that more of the animals seemed to be flocking to wharf and port areas, perhaps to look for food. ”
A whale flashes a killer smile as he homes in on his lunch, off Kona, Hawaii.The photograph shows what appears to be a big grin plastered across the face of a False Killer Whale as he patrols the sea looking for food. American photographer Doug Perrine, 60, snapped the shot. Picture: Doug Perrine/HotSpot Media (via Pictures of the day: 21 March 2013 - Telegraph)
Great shot. Missing Hawaii…
Can you ID this whale skull? Andrew Revkin, climate change and environmental journalist at the NYTimes is looking for clues. Anyone?
Using drones to track whales. Civilian drones are being used to investigate environmental harm. I am incredibly tempted to start my own firm to use these beasties to identify pollution spills around Western Massachusetts…
Meet a One-Eyed, Six-Legged, Flying Whale Chaser
biologists are turning to less obtrusive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to spot species including whales, dolphins, sea lions and penguins. From small helicopters to planes with a 10-foot (3 meters) wingspan, the battery-powered craft could become a popular new tool.
“What makes these things so effective is they capture a tremendous amount of information,” said NOAA marine biologist Wayne Perryman, based at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif.
For years, Perryman has experimented with military reconnaissance techniques to track marine life. He collaborates with former Navy officer Don LeRoi of Aerial Imaging Solutions in Connecticut.
Their latest device is a hexacopter. With six quiet engines, internal gyroscopes, an accelerometer and a GPS, the mechanical bird has great maneuverability, Perryman said. For the past two years, Perryman has snapped shots of penguin and seal colonies in Antarctica with the hexacopter. Future trips include a jaunt to Alaska to survey stellar sea lions.
“When you get into aggregations of thousands of animals, humans are lousy at determining how many animals there are,” Perryman told OurAmazingPlanet. “With photography, you can go back in time and see something you maybe wouldn’t have noticed,” he adds.
Sperm whale spotting
In February and March, Perryman and LeRoi helped an international science team track sperm whales near New Zealand by capturing whale photos with the copter. The scientists attached tracking tags to the whales, and knowing their size and shape from the photos improves understanding of how the whales dive underwater, Perryman said. It was the first ship-based test for the ‘copter, named Archie by the scientists onboard.
More at LiveScience
Secretary Kerry: It is vital that we’ve come to this moment where we begin to see that this is not just an environmental issue. This is a security issue. It’s an economic security issue. It’s a national security issue. Read Secretary Kerry’s complete remarks at the Ross Sea Conservation Reception: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/03/206395.htm.
In the photo, pods of killer whales, sometimes 100 strong, patrol the ice edges in the Ross Sea, 2007. [John B. Weller photo, courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts]
Whaling ship uses 80% deisel, 20% whale oil - “For the environment.”
Whale oil to fuel whaling ships is a gruesome and surreal proposition
An Icelandic whaler, Kristján Loftsson, is powering his whaling ships using “biofuel” composed of 80% diesel – and 20% whale oil. Loftsson claims the oil is additionally friendly to the environment as it is rendered out of whale blubber using heat from Iceland’s volcanic vents.
The story might seem a bizarre development even in the Alice in Wonderland world of modern whaling, where Japanese whaling fleets claim to be conducting “scientific research” and the US, while striking a vehemently anti-whaling stance, nonetheless supports aboriginal hunting of bowhead whales that might otherwise live as long as 200 years.
Piles of beluga whale bones from past hunts. Svalbard, Norway. Via
Bones of Past Hunts
Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic
Heaps of beluga whale bones on a Svalbard beach bear witness to a whaling heyday long past. The small, social white whales commonly swim in Arctic and subarctic waters where they are still targeted by indigenous people and some larger fishing operations—but in Svalbard they are protected.
Extensive beluga hunting began here in the 18th century and continued unabated until Norway protected belugas here in 1961. In the past four decades the Svalbard population has been bouncing back.
Though many species are slow to reproduce, whale populations around the world have shown an ability to rebound when humans give them protected spaces in which to breed and live.
Mesmerizing cetacean gifs by the hard working folks at cetagifs.tumblr.com.
Sleeping sperm Whales, Pico, Azores, Portugal, 2010. Via Aqua Graphics.
Tim’s excellent observations and long-term solution to Georgia Aquarium’s efforts to acquire rare beluga whales. I completely disagree with him that American aquariums are inherently for-profit institutes of evil that do very little pro-marine conservation.
My colleague (for one example), Michael Sutton, former VP of Monterey Bay Aquarium, regularly lobbies congress to help expand and enforce America’s ocean protection policies. He’s helped ban shark finning in California, protected tens of thousands of miles of coastal marine environments, created sustainable sea-food labeling, and many many others. He’s had incredible success - none of which could have happened without being part of the aquarium network.
Anyway, to stop this beluga import, in the short-term I’d fire up a letter campaign to the majority-male “leaders” on the Georgia Aquarium’s board…
Here’s the set-up:
Controversy is brewing over the Georgia Aquarium’s plan to import 18 beluga whales captured off the coast of Russia. If the U.S. government approves the plan, it will mark the first time in nearly two decades that wild-caught cetaceans have been imported into an aquarium in the United States.
According to the aquarium, the whales are needed for research and education. According to animal welfare advocates, that doesn’t justify the trauma inflicted on intelligent, emotional creatures that suffer in captivity.
“If we let them in, it means we’re going to have this issue all the time. It will open up the floodgates,” said Lori Marino, a neurobiologist at Emory University and prominent cetacean rights activist.
Georgia Aquarium trots out the shopworn argument that the belugas will be ambassadors for their species, which is the core rationale marine parks use to justify keeping marine mammals in captivity.
But it’s an analogy that has some problems, I think. Most important, ambassadors are not normally forced into service. My father was an ambassador and he was sent abroad because the United States wanted a representative in the countries he served. In contrast, ambassador to the human world is not a choice any belugas are making. It is a choice humans (profit-seeking humans, I might add) are making FOR the belugas.
The Russian Belugas in Ambassador School
Now, you could say belugas need ambassadors because humans are trashing the oceans, and putting the future of wild beluga populations at risk. I think that belugas in the wild do need protection, but there’s a sort of “destroy the village to save it” logic involved in taking animals out of the wild population to “save” the wild population.
If we are trashing the oceans and endangering the wild populations then let’s just deal with that head on. I don’t think you need belugas in an aquarium doing cute tricks to make that point (and I don’t even think the aquariums in fact try to make that point).
If helping wild populations thrive really is the rationale for bringing beluga “ambassadors” into captivity FROM the wild, then how about putting ALL the profits that accrue from those captive belugas back into wild beluga conservation? Yes, SeaWorld and other aquariums devote token amounts of their profits to conservation causes, but the emphasis is on the word token.
When you get down to it the whole model of “educational display” by for-profit institutions is fatally compromised and really doesn’t achieve the goals envisioned by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Forty years on, it’s past time to move beyond the MMPA to a new model of marine mammal protection and education—one that starts with the idea that protecting marine mammals starts with the simple act of leaving them in the oceans, and goes on from there.