The Cultures of Dolphins and Whales | Dolphin Project

Bottlenose dolphins underwater

www.dolphinproject.com

Tracie Sugo

We have a lot in common with dolphins. We live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, utilize forms of communication, and have culture. Culture, as in behavior that is shared within a community through social learning, has been recognized in a number of whale and dolphin species. 

One of the most well-known of these may be the complex and charismatic singing of male humpback whales. In certain populations, virtually all male humpback whales sing the same song. Every few years, males change up their songs with new patterns of squeaks and groans and then the new pattern gradually spreads as more males in the area learn it.

Wild bottlenose dolphins swim by

Wild dolphins swim by | Credit: Taryn Elliott/Pexels

In terms of dolphins, observations on how different dolphins behave in different parts of the world suggest a wide range of cultural behaviors. Bottlenose dolphins for example, are one species with a huge range; localized populations of bottlenose dolphins live in distinct parts of the world. Dolphins in a population in Florida utilize a complex cooperative hunting strategy known as mud-ring feeding, where muddy water is kicked up in a circle to trap a school of fish. 

In Laguna, Brazil, human fishermen and local bottlenose dolphins work together to catch fish. Both parties seem to have recognized that they target a specific type of fish and rather than compete they have learned to work together; when these local dolphins slap their heads or tails against the water, it acts as a cue for the Laguna fishermen standing on the nearby shore to cast their nets, which then breaks up the school of fish and makes it easier for dolphins to catch and feed on individual fish. 

And in Shark Bay, Australia a number of unique hunting behaviors have been observed in the local population of bottlenose dolphins, including the use of sea sponges as a foraging tool.

Among orcas, the concept of culture is even more compound. There are at least 10 different known orca eco-types, each with their own range, diet, dialect and cultures. Within each of these ecotypes are localized populations. 

Monterey Bay orca pod

CA163 “Liner” and pod mates from the population of transient (mammal-eating) ecotype off the coast of California | Photo by Tracie Sugo

Within the resident ecotype, there are southern resident orca and northern resident orca. Northern residents have a unique “massage” culture, in which they frequent specific beaches to rub their bodies along smooth pebbles in the shallows. Southern residents appear to have culture of being incredibly active and friendly; they have been observed having “greeting ceremonies” in which two groups of whales line up across from each other and then come together to engage in playful, physical contact (sadly such sightings have been sparse recently, as the Southern Residents face major threats to their primary food source, Chinook salmon). 

wild Risso's dolphins in California

Wild and free Risso’s dolphins off the coast of California | Credit: Tracie Sugo

In 2009, Risso’s dolphins were among a handful of studied cetacean species that were found to have spindle neurons, which are linked to processing emotions and social interactions (these specialized brain cells were previously though to be unique to humans, but have now been found in certain species of great apes, elephants and cetaceans). What types of culture might Risso’s dolphins have? And how many other cetacean populations have culture? There is much that is yet to be studied in other cetacean species. In addition to aspects of cetaceans like intelligence, self-awareness and roles in marine eco-systems, culture is another important consideration for advocating for their protection. 

In areas like Taiji, Japan, where localized dolphin populations face tremendous pressure from human activity (direct hunts and captures, commercial fishing and prey competition, and noise pollution and other interference from nearby shipping lanes), there is serious concern for their well-being, their survival, and the risk of extinguishing their culture. 

striped dolphin entanglement

Striped dolphin entangled in the hunters’ net | Credit: DolphinProject.com

Cover image by Kira Louw/Pexels

Sources:

Post By:

Artist, illustrator and certified marine mammal naturalist.

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/the-cultures-of-dolphins-and-whales/

Use your voice to put an end to single-use plastics

act.oceana.org

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A new nationwide poll commissioned by Oceana has revealed that 81% of American voters support national, state, and local policies aiming to reduce single-use plastic. With the United States responsible for generating more plastic waste than any other country, now is the time for the federal government to act. 

The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (S. 984 and H.R. 2238) would continue the momentum initiated by cities, counties, and states across America by phasing out unnecessary single-use plastic products; putting a moratorium on new and expanded plastic production facilities, and holding companies accountable for their plastic waste. 

Tell your members of Congress to support the Break Free From Plastic Act and protect our oceans from harmful plastic pollution. Please feel free to edit the petition text below, then fill out your info on the right to submit your letter.

This action emails your direct federal representatives and can only be completed by U.S. citizens with an address recognized by the database provided by Congress.

oceana

https://act.oceana.org/page/98987/action/1?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20220410TWBFPPA&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=hIcCDjrDOtrNec

Tell President Biden: Stop Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud

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Dear President Biden,

I am writing to urge you to strengthen transparency and traceability throughout the seafood industry to help end illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud. Americans have a right to know more about the seafood they eat and should have confidence that their dollars are not supporting the pillaging of the oceans or human rights abuses at sea. All seafood sold in the U.S. should be safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled. Until then, honest fishermen, seafood businesses, consumers and the oceans will pay the price.

IUU fishing poses one of the greatest threats to our oceans, costing the global seafood industry as much as $26 billion to $50 billion annually. In the United States, up to 85% of the fish consumed is imported. IUU fishing can include fishing without authorization, ignoring catch limits, operating in closed areas, targeting protected wildlife, and fishing with prohibited gear. These illicit activities can destroy essential habitats, severely deplete fish populations, and threaten global food security. These actions not only contribute to overfishing, but also give illegal fishermen an unfair advantage over those that play by the rules.

IUU fishing is a low-risk, high reward activity, especially on the high seas where a fragmented legal framework and lack of enforcement allow it to thrive. In 2016, the U.S. government established the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), requiring catch documentation and traceability for some seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud. Unfortunately, SIMP currently only applies to 13 types of seafood and only traces them from the boat to the U.S. border. A 2019 Oceana study tested popular seafood not covered by SIMP and found that 1 in every 5 fish tested nationwide was mislabeled, demonstrating that seafood fraud is still a problem in the United States. Seafood fraud ultimately hurts honest fishermen and seafood businesses that play by the rules, masks conservation and health risks of certain species, and cheats consumers who fall victim to a bait-and-switch.

If the U.S were to expand SIMP to all seafood — requiring information about how, when and where seafood was caught or produced — and if that information followed the product from the fishing boat or farm to the dinner plate, consumers could be confident that their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. To expand transparency of fishing, public vessel tracking systems like the automatic identification system (AIS) — which broadcasts a vessel’s location, direction, and speed — should be required on more fishing boats to shine a light on what is happening beyond the horizon. Adopting stronger requirements for imported seafood would also ensure that it is held to the same standards as seafood caught in the United States.

Taking action to combat IUU fishing, stop seafood fraud and expand transparency has strong bipartisan support. A 2020 Ipsos poll, commissioned by Oceana, found that 89% of registered voters agree that imported seafood should be held to the same standards as U.S. caught seafood. Nearly 90% of voters also agree that the government needs to do more to ensure consumers are purchasing properly labeled seafood. Seventy-seven percent of voters support requirements for all fishing vessels to be publicly trackable.

Your administration has an opportunity to lead in the fight against illegal fishing and seafood fraud, expand transparency and level the playing field for American fishermen and seafood businesses, while protecting U.S. consumers and the oceans. The United States must take decisive action to combat IUU fishing and close the U.S. market to all illegally sourced products, including seafood caught using forced labor or other human rights abuses. The United States should be a leader in traceability of seafood and transparency at sea.

https://act.oceana.org/page/98328/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20220330TWIUUFishing&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=zIH33nuH3SfrVv

“Watch Underwater As This Huge Sea Turtle Swims Back Home”

Hawksbill Turtle – Oceana

oceana.org

DISTRIBUTION

Worldwide in tropical to temperate latitudes

ECOSYSTEM/HABITAT

Coral reefs

FEEDING HABITS

Foraging predator

TAXONOMY

Order Testudines (turtles, tortoises and terrapins), Family Cheloniidae (hard shelled sea turtles)

The hawksbill turtle gets its common name from the shape of its curved, pointed beak, which resembles that of a bird of prey. They use this beak to feed on sponges and other invertebrates growing on coral reefs. Hawksbill turtles spend part of their lives in the open ocean, but are more reef-associated than other species of sea turtles.

Hawksbill turtles are generalist predators that forage on reefs for their favorite food, sponges, as well as a variety of other invertebrates that they find. Some of the sponges and small animals that the hawksbill turtles consume are toxic. Fortunately, their body fat can absorb the toxins without making the turtle ill, but their meat is potentially poisonous to humans. Unlike other sea turtle species, which may cross entire ocean basins several times throughout their lifetime, hawksbill turtles may have home reefs (and even favorite hiding places on the reef) where they spend much of their adult lives. 

Like many other species of marine turtles, hawksbills spend most of their time in the water with females only coming to shore to lay eggs. Female hawksbill turtles also return to the same beach where they hatched to nest, even if that beach is far from their foraging grounds. Unlike several other species of sea turtles, hawksbill turtles nest throughout their range, oftentimes in locations with only a few other nesting adults. Other species of sea turtles often return to a relatively small number of nesting areas along with thousands of other adults. Hawksbill turtles also nest higher on the beach than other species, sometimes under/among the vegetation (e.g., trees and grasses). After mating at sea, females come to shore several times during the nesting season, dig a burrow and lay a clutch size of approximately 140 eggs. After several weeks, the hawksbill hatchlings emerge as a group and enter the water together to begin their journey toward adulthood. 

Unfortunately, there are many threats to hawksbill turtle populations, and scientists consider this species to be critically endangered (very highly vulnerable to extinction). Coastal development has reduced the area where they can successfully nest, dogs and other animals often destroy their nests, and people harvest their eggs for food. They have medium-sized, beautiful carapaces (shells), and historically there was a strong market for adult hawksbill turtle shells. Hunting of adults still occurs in many places, where individuals are either captured at sea or taken from their nesting beaches. Hawksbill turtles are also accidentally captured in fishing operations targeting other species. Finally, because they are the species of sea turtle most closely tied to coral reefs, threats to that vulnerable ecosystem and to the sponges and other species that live on them add to the negative pressure that hawksbill turtles experience. All of these threats have combined to drive hawksbill turtle populations to dangerously low levels. Naturally, only one or two of thousands of eggs will make it to adulthood. These added anthropogenic pressures on nests, juveniles, and young adults make the chance of survival even more challenging.

Add your name to save sea turtles

1. Hawksbill turtles are named after their pointed beaks, which resemble those of birds.1

2. Hawksbill turtles are up to 45 inches (114 cm) long and weigh 110 to 150 pounds (50 to 68 kg).2

3. Female hawksbill turtles return to the same nesting grounds where they were born to lay their eggs.3

4. Hawksbill turtles can be found in the coastal waters of more than 108 countries.

5. Hawksbill turtles help keep reefs healthy by feeding primarily on sponges that out-compete corals.4

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Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans

References:

1 NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office

2 NOAA Fisheries

3 Current Biology

4 IUCN Red List

https://oceana.org/marine-life/hawksbill-turtle/?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Engage&utm_content=20220208TWHawksbillTurtle&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=eLqaF2XbOyzbDf

Petition: Speak Up to Protect Seabirds

act.abcbirds.org

Help Protect Seabirds: Support the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act

Albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters are often overlooked because they spend the majority of their lives at sea and breed on remote islands.

These seabirds face unique threats throughout their vast migratory ranges, and they cannot be protected by the actions of one country alone. That’s why recently re-introduced legislation that would implement the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) — an international treaty among fishing nations for the protection of 31 species of vulnerable seabirds — is so important.

We need your voice now to get this important bill across the finish line.

Please ask your members of Congress to protect vulnerable seabird species by co-sponsoring the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act (H.R. 4057). Read More

https://act.abcbirds.org/a/take-action-acap?ms=social

Free Lolita the Orca From Apparent Starvation, Neglect, and Abuse – Animal Petitions

animalpetitions.org

Sydney Shaffer 3 minutes

Target: Fernando Eiroa, CEO of Miami Seaquarium

Goal: Move Lolita the orca out of a seemingly abusive and neglectful aquarium.

Lolita the orca is approximately 20 feet long, yet she has lived in an enclosure that is too small for 50 years. It is the smallest and oldest enclosure for her kind and the tank may not meet the minimum horizontal dimension as outlined in the federal Animal Welfare Act. It is completely inhumane to keep an animal that swims up to 100 miles in one day in such a cramped area for so many years. A dolphin named Catalina lived in the enclosure with Lolita and that reportedly resulted in her death, as a killer whale and a dolphin should not be in the same living space.

Lolita’s meal rations were allegedly diminished, resulting in her being more one edge as usual. She apparently developed lesions on her eyes which can result from performing under the sun with little to no shade. She has also reportedly been forced to perform headfirst jumps while having an injured jaw. The United States Department of Agriculture is investigating amid the deaths and the apparently unsafe infrastructure at the aquarium. PETA has an ongoing lawsuit against the aquarium to hopefully free Lolita.

Sign below and demand that Lolita be moved to an environment where she can thrive.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Fernando Eiroa,

The Miami Seaquarium needs to be held responsible for the apparent inhumane conditions Lolita has been facing. The enclosure she has been in is reportedly unacceptable for an orca or any animal. Lolita deserves the right meal rations, a safe place to live and swim, and the right treatment when she is injured. Lolita should not be performing when she is injured or under the sun with no shade, seemingly resulting in even more injuries. Lolita deserves to be moved to a place where she will be treated correctly.

Please give Lolita her freedom after so many years of seemingly being treated inhumanely. Treat all your animals with the respect and correct care that they deserve and are meant to have.

Sincerely,

Photo Credit: Gregory Smith

https://animalpetitions.org/1083346/free-lolita-the-orca-from-reported-starvation-neglect-and-abuse/

Getting a second chance

Horseshoe crab BLOOD in high demand for vaccine and drug testing – and they could go extinct


Conservations warn horseshoe crabs could go to extinct because their blood is being used in Covid vaccines and for drug testing: Up to 30% of the crustaceans have already been killed off in the US

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com 12:44 EST 17 Dec 2021 , updated 16:42 EST 17 Dec 2021 +7

  • Horseshoe crabs have bright blue blood that is a natural source of Limulus polyphemus
  • This is used to test vaccines, including those for COVID, and drugs for dangerous bacterial toxins before the products hit the market
  • The horseshoe crabs are drained for up to eight minutes and returned to the ocean
  • However, data shows up to 30% of the marine creatures die shortly after 

Horseshoe crabs have been around for 450 million years, surviving mass extinctions and several ice ages, but conservationists say the creatures could soon go extinct because their bright blue blood is vital to pharmaceutical companies.

The blue blood has immune cells, known as Limulus polyphemus (LAL), which are sensitive to toxic bacteria and can be used to test vaccines and drugs for dangerous bacterial toxins before products hit the market. null

The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and has been vital tool in testing the coronavirus vaccines currently on the market.

Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die – one South Carolina lab says crabs are drained for up to eight minutes. 

‘As it is now, the entire supply chain for endotoxin testing of drugs rests upon the harvest of a vulnerable or near extinct sea creature,’ Kevin Williams, a scientist who manufactures synthetic LAL told The Washington Post.   

Convationists fear the Atlantic horseshoe crabs could go the way of the Asian horseshoe crab that is extinct in Taiwan and disappearing in Hong Kong, as a result of mainly biomedical testing.

While the US horseshoe crab is not currently endangered – they are near threatened – data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood die when returned to the ocean.

Ryan Phelan, co-founder and Executive Director of Revive and Restore, a wildlife conservation group based in California that lobbied for the synthetic, told Yahoo News: ‘You’ve got a very large, biomedical bleeding industry with a vested interest in keeping those horseshoes crabs coming in and basically protecting this monopoly.’

‘In the US, 525,000 horseshoe crabs per year were captured during 2013 to 2017 and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission estimates short-term bleeding-induced mortality to be 15 percent (4 percent to 30 percent), resulting in mortality of approximately 78,750 horseshoe crabs annually in recent years comprising a minor portion,’ according to a study published in Frontiers.

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs. 

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs
The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and is being used to test the coronavirus vaccines that are currently on the market. Above is someone pointing at the part where the blood is drawn for use
The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and is being used to test the coronavirus vaccines that are currently on the market. Above is someone pointing at the part where the blood is drawn for use

According to The Verge, horseshoe crab blood has become a $500 billion industry – it can bring as much as $15,000 per quart – and a South Carolina lab that still clings to the old practice is worth $13 billion because of it, The State reports.

Representatives from Charles River previously said that more than 80 million LAL tests are performed each year .

Dr James Cooper, who founded the Charleston facility in 1987, wrote in a company publication last year: ‘The horseshoe crab blood donation is similar to human blood donation.

‘The crabs are bled for a few minutes and returned to sea unharmed.’ 

A Charles River representative told The State: ‘Eight minutes is unofficially recognized as the maximum bleeding time across the industry.’

Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die - one South Carolina lab says crabs can be drained for up to eight minutes
Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die – one South Carolina lab says crabs can be drained for up to eight minutes
While the horseshoe crab is not currently endangered, data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood in the US die when returned to the ocean
While the horseshoe crab is not currently endangered, data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood in the US die when returned to the ocean

Research conducted at the College of Charleston shows that half of the horseshoe crab’s blood can be drained within those eight minutes and this much harvested can the creatures to move slower when returned to the ocean.

Never mind the stress of being captured, hours spent out of the water and mishandling in the lab – all of which experts say contribute to their deaths. null

A 2011 study conducted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), conservation officers responsible for enforcing the environmental and conservation laws and policies, found 20 percent of the crabs died, according to records obtained by The State.  

READ MORE

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10321773/Horseshoe-crab-BLOOD-high-demand-vaccine-drug-testing-extinct.html

Newzit

The wonders of the ocean

Rare deep sea fish found washed ashore near San Diego

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas on Dec. 10.

www.foxnews.com

Michael Hollan 3 minutes

A rare fish was found washed ashore at a beach near San Diego earlier this month. Only about thirty samples of this particular species of fish have been found so far, making this a particularly interesting discovery.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas on Dec. 10. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, California on Dec. 10. The fish, a female, measured to about 13-inches-long and weighed 5.5 pounds.

According to Scripps, only 31 known specimens of this particular species of fish have been collected worldwide.

The football fish is a deepsea creature and is part of the anglerfish family.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks. A 4-foot-long lancetfish was found washed up on La Jolla Shores, which was also collected by researchers at the Scripps Institution.

Another football fish was photographed near Black Beach, but it was not recovered by researchers.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish. The fish was X-rayed and tissue samples were collected for genetic analysis.

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks.

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

According to the Scripps Institution, researchers don’t have any theories as to why these fish have been washing ashore.

According to the post, “As seen in the animated film Finding Nemo, female anglerfish are easily recognized by their globular body shape, sharp teeth, distinctive dorsal spine or illicium (the “fishing pole”), and the fleshy phosphorescent bulb (or esca) used to lure prey. Footballfish are typically found at depths of 650 to 2,600 feet, but there is still much we don’t know about these creatures.”

https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/rare-deep-sea-fish-found-washed-ashore-near-san-diego

Joe is missing. Where’s President Biden on global ocean leadership? – Greenpeace

(ctrl + on PC, ⌘ + on Mac to zoom in on puzzle) 

engage.us.greenpeace.org

Joe is missing. Where’s President Biden on global ocean leadership?

This summer, President Biden moved forward his 30×30 plan, a plan for the U.S. to set aside 30% of national land and ocean for protection. While this is good news here in the U.S., we are still waiting for President Biden to promote protections not just here at home, but around the globe.

President Biden’s leadership on the world stage is key to making these protections a reality. So, to help make sure he knows we’re looking to him for bold, science-based, international policy, we won’t stop asking: Where is President Joe Biden on global ocean leadership? 

Tell the Biden Administration to protect the ocean now!                                                                                               

Greenpeace, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) organization. Donations to Greenpeace, Inc. are not tax-deductible.

Donate by phone:
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Mon-Fri 9:30-5:00PM PST

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Stop the shark fin trade

PLEASE SIGN PETITION: 1,400 dolphins were killed in the Faroe Islands in one day, shocking even some pro-whalers

By Jeevan Ravindran, Stephanie Halasz, Allegra Goodwin and Sharon Braithwaite, CNN

Updated 12:49 PM ET, Wed September 15, 2021 The carcasses of white-sided dolphins lie on a beach after being pulled from the blood-stained water on the island of Eysturoy on Sunday, September 12, 2021.The carcasses of white-sided dolphins lie on a beach after being pulled from the blood-stained water on the island of Eysturoy on Sunday, September 12, 2021.

(CNN)More than 1,400 white-sided dolphins were killed Sunday night in the Faroe Islands, in what local authorities said was a traditional whaling hunt. The killing has been denounced by marine conservation group Sea Shepherd as a “brutal and badly mishandled” massacre, and the largest single hunt in the Danish territory’s history. The organization said a super-pod of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins was corralled by speed boats and jet skis onto Skálabotnur beach on the island of Eysturoy, where they were then killed.

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More than 1,400 dolphins were killed in the hunt.More than 1,400 dolphins were killed in the hunt.The Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, lying about halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean.

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The annual whale hunt, or grindadráp in Faroese, has been a part of local culture for centuries — but it usually involves the hunting of pilot whales. Although it has long been criticized by animal rights groups, locals have defended the practice.

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41-year-old Kristian Petersen, who is originally from the Faroese town of Fuglafjørður but now lives in Denmark, said he began participating in whaling at the age of seven — but in his village, dolphins were never targeted. “I have experienced that firsthand and also participated a bit,” Petersen told CNN. “As long as it has been for food only, I have supported it. But this recent catch that was this weekend, I’m against how it went on.

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Petersen is one of several whaling supporters who have condemned Sunday’s killing, saying there were “so many errors,” including pursuing a large flock and prolonging the dolphins’ suffering by not having enough people on the beaches to kill them.

By killing whales, is Japan trying to revive a dying industry?In recent decades, the practice has come under strict regulation from the Faroese government, with guidelines for the authorization of hunts and how they should be conducted.Many, including Petersen, have questioned the legality of Sunday’s killing, with allegations that the local foreman, who is involved in regulating whaling in the area alongside the district administrator, was not informed in line with regulations. Sea Shepherd also claimed that several of those involved did not have the required licenses to participate.One foreman, Heri Petersen, has been quoted by local media outlet In.fo calling for accountability and confirming there were too few killers involved, meaning the dolphins struggled for breath on the beach until they were killed.The Faroese Executive Order on Hunting Pilot Whales and Other Small Whales, issued in January 2017, states either the district administrator or foreman must approve any hunts and gives them the responsibility to “ensure that enough people are available on shore to kill the whales.”Bjorg Jacobsen from the Faroe Islands Police told CNN the hunt had been legal, but he declined to comment further.

Iceland to let more than 2,000 whales be killed within the next five yearsIn a written statement, Faroese government spokesperson Páll Nolsøe told CNN the “notification about the sighting of the whales was given to the district administrator, and the district administrator, in consultation with the whaling foremen, designated the authorised whaling bay the whales should be driven into.” He said it “was organised and carried out in accordance with Faroese legislation” and “there were no breaches of law and regulations,” adding that this had been confirmed by the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries. Nolsøe added that everyone involved in killing must complete a pilot whaling course, and said hunting white-sided dolphins was a sustainable practice, with a yearly number of around 250, although it “fluctuates greatly” — making Sunday’s catch almost six times as large. “The meat from each whale drive provides a large amount of valuable food, which is distributed free in the local communities where the whale drives take place… the meat of the 1,400 dolphins caught on Sunday has likewise been distributed among the participants in the catch and the local community,” he added.However, Sea Shepherd alleged locals had said there was too much meat from Sunday’s hunt and there were fears it would have to be discarded, pointing to interviews published in Danish outlet Ekstra Bladet.

Striking new underwater traffic circle opening in the Faroe IslandsThis claim was contradicted by Steintór, a 61-year-old lobster fisherman from the village of Oyri, who did not wish to give his last name for fear of being targeted by anti-whaling activists. He said the meat from the dolphins would equal roughly 200 whales, and so was “not too much.””I think it’s very necessary to kill whales,” he said, arguing it was a sustainable practice favorable to the importing of beef. “And we do it in a very humane way, using veterinarian-certified tools … The problem in the Faroe Islands is that we have a public slaughterhouse. So everyone can see what is going on.”Although he said some locals were frustrated by the “not so well organized” hunt, and he was “surprised by the sheer number of the dolphins,” the killing itself was a “normal thing” and did not come as a shock, he said.Sea Shepherd further alleged that several dolphins had been run over by motor boats and “hacked by propellers,” resulting in reports to local police. The Faroe Islands Police did not respond to a CNN request for comment on the allegations.

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“Considering the times we are in, with a global pandemic and the world coming to a halt, it’s absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this scale in the Faroe Islands,” Sea Shepherd Global’s CEO, Alex Cornelissen, said in a statement.The Faroe Islands Whales and Whaling body has continued to stand by the practice in recent years, stating on its website, “the average catch of around 800 whales a year is not considered to have a significant impact on the abundance of pilot whales, which are estimated at around 778,000.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/15/europe/faroe-dolphin-killing-record-scli-intl-scn/index.html

Please sign petition below ⏬⏬

This petition needs 1 million signatures. We only need 492,849 more signature to reach our goal. Thanks to your support this petition has a chance of winning!

 

⏬⏬PETITION LINK⏬⏬

https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-ban-trophy-hunting-stop-poachers-end-imports/u/29606796

Suspend trade agreement with Faroe Islands until all whale & dolphin hunts end – Petitions

UK Government and Parliament

In 2019 UK Government finalised a free trade agreement (FTA) with Faroe Islands which allows for £100 million of exports of wild caught and farmed fish to Britain per annum (20% of the Faroe Islands global trade). This FTA should be suspended until all whale & dolphin hunts on Faroe Islands end More details

The Free Trade Agreement with the Faroe Islands gives the UK Government significant leverage when it comes to ending the mass slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins on the Faroe Islands which causes huge anger and revulsion around the world. If the UK is to be considered a world leader in the protection of marine mammals it must use this leverage nowSign this petition

Open Government Licence

All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated© Crown copyright

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/597171

Whale caught on sandbar after giving birth saved by beachgoers

Residents saving mother whale (Credit: Phebe Armas) PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WPDE) —

by Julia Varnier Friday, July 23rd 2021

A Pawleys Island beachgoer said a mother whale who recently gave birth was caught on a sandbar Thursday afternoon. 

The whale’s pup was fine and members of her pod were surrounding her to protect her from nearby sharks due to some blood in the water.  https://ec699d73901d1a68d70a4a03267e0f90.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Several people were able to roll her back out to safety. 

READ MORE: Boater untangles what could be world’s rarest turtle from balloon litter off East Coast : View This Story on Our Site

https://wpde.com/amp/news/local/whale-caught-on-sandbar-after-giving-birth-saved-by-beachgoers-in-pawleys-island?fbclid=IwAR17SBVZLrXA1c9uPQzmTHknJ8WyWS3JObjyJyxSR6kEU1NaAapXJCti5RE&__twitter_impression=true

Caring for the Earth: Plastics | Dolphin Project

Plastic washes ashore after a storm, Ocean Beach, San Francisco

www.dolphinproject.com

Post By:Cara Sands

Microsteps are small, incremental, science-backed actions we can take that will have both immediate and long-lasting benefits to the way we live our lives. ~ Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global

In honor of both Earth Day and Dolphin Project’s birthday (April 22), we’re looking at ways we can fine-tune our daily habits to help protect our planet. In this blog, we’re focusing on our use of plastics.

You might have read of two recent instances in March where whales washed up dead, their stomachs filled with plastics. In the Philippines, a Cuvier’s beaked whale was found with 88 pounds of plastic inside its stomach, and in Sardinia, Italy, a pregnant sperm whale was found dead with almost 50 pounds of the deadly material in its body. Amongst the items found were fishing nets and lines, tubes, rice sacks, grocery bags, garbage and other all-purpose plastic bags, tubes, banana plantation bags and a bag of washing machine liquid.

Dead female sperm whale with nearly 50 pounds of plastic in her stomach, Sardinia, Italy.

Dead female sperm whale with nearly 50 pounds of plastic in her stomach, Sardinia, Italy. Credit: SeaMe

Similar discoveries have been made in 2018 in Spain, Indonesia and Thailand. Several politicians, including Sergio Costa, the Environmental Minister of Italy is calling for a war on disposable plastics. In many locations across the world, bans have been enacted on plastic bags, cutlery, straws, stirrers and other single-use plastics. Yet despite these interventions, it is estimated that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism. According to some estimates, by 2050, the world’s oceans will carry more single-use plastic than fish.*
*Source: United Nations Environment Programme

Micro plastic, Long Beach, WA

Micro plastic, Long Beach, WA. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license; user: OceanBlueProject.org

As deadly as large plastic items are to marine life and their ecosystems, so are microplastics – small, plastic pieces less than five millimeters long. Primary microplastics are designed to be small, such as tiny beads of manufactured polyethylene found in toothpaste and other personal care items. Secondary microplastics are plastics that have degraded over time from larger pieces into progressively smaller ones. In both instances, the small particles make their way into the oceans and the Great Lakes.

Watch a short video on microplastics, credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

One World One Ocean Plastic Infographic

Credit: One World One Ocean, MacGillivray Freeman Films

There are many simple behaviors we can partake in on a regular basis – some that can easily become daily habits – to help protect the world upon which we, and all other species live. We’ve compiled a brief list for you but we encourage you to brainstorm and create others. It’s these microsteps that when combined, can create positive, long-lasting change.

  • Start your morning with a cup of coffee? Use ground beans versus single coffee pods and if possible, recycle the used coffee grounds. If visiting your local coffee shop, bring your own mug – you might even get a discount for doing so!
  • Be a conscious consumer – Make a point of avoiding plastic packaging, excess packaging and buying individual items wrapped in plastic. Don’t be shy about asking your local grocery store to stop wrapping individual food items in plastic. Are there any businesses you can think of that make a point of using minimal packaging and if so, consider supporting them with your hard-earned dollars. Consider making bulk purchases and always bring your own reusable bags. There are also great alternatives to plastic wrap and plastic storage baggies, including glass containers, reusable storage bags and natural food wraps.
  • BYOB – Bring your own refillable water bottle instead of carrying around a plastic water bottle. Besides cutting down on waste, think of the money you’ll save in the long run.
  • Dining out? Be sure to decline plastic ware at restaurants if you’re getting food to go (most restaurants automatically toss in plastic utensils). Request minimal to-go packaging or if you’re dining out, bring your own reusable container to bring home your leftovers. Consider bringing your own kit of utensils if you’re heading out to lunch.
  • Make it a family affair – Support a cause you feel passionate about by shopping for eco-friendly gear such as eco-friendly totes and reusable straws. There are also great bar soaps and shampoos that don’t require a plastic bottle! They are also perfect for travel. Dolphin Project est. 1970 eco-friendly toteDolphin Project est. 1970 eco-friendly tote
  • Educate – Planning a birthday party or attending another event? Be sure to skip the balloons as they pose serious risks to wildlife. Be sure to tell your guests why!
  • Participate – Coordinate or participate in a clean-up of your local waterway. Earth Day is every day and doing something good for yourself or others is always timely!
  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Reduce the amount of waste your family generates and consider composting. Educate yourself on local recycling laws. A large amount of recyclables are inadvertently contaminated with soiled or non-recyclable items, which leads large amounts to be trashed as waste.
  • Attend a council or committee meeting of your local government and ask what laws/by-laws exist regarding single-use plastics.
  • Don’t litter – and if you see someone else’s garbage, take a moment to pick it up and dispose of it responsibly.

(Video)

https://hlsrv.vidible.tv/prod/5c99067a8c3ae84e7b88f31c/2019-03-25/hls/playlist_v1.m3u8?PR=E&S=evsfCFuNRXS2SkhLXMuTeDHN0M5tBT_HRFYgRYz1aAnaTW-27Qjr4x38fEq99G_q  

Collectively, if we implement even one or two of these habits each day, not only will we help to protect marine life and their environments by reducing plastic pollution, we can contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, foster stronger community ties and enjoy a greater sense of well-being. When we do good, we feel good and this positive feedback encourages us to do more.

Featured image: Pieces of plastic wash ashore after a storm, Ocean Beach, San Francisco,  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license; user: Kevin Krejci

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/caring-for-the-earth-microsteps/

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter Begins

www.onegreenplanet.org

By Eliza Erskine

Save the Reef shared on Instagram that the Faroe Islands‘ annual whale hunt has started. The organization reported 131 pilot whales were killed overnight.

The organization shared on Instagram, “The Faroese eat dolphin meat and defend a tradition called ‘Grindadrap’, which allowed their ancestors to survive in a hostile climate while today, their supermarkets are full of food of all kinds and yet the hunting persists anyway. On average, 800 cetaceans are killed each year in the Faroe Islands in the name of ‘tradition’ despite less than 20 per cent of the islanders even consuming pilot whale meat and blubber anymore. Once we spread enough awareness and there is enough public outcry about this then barbaric traditions like this will stop once and for all.”

According to Sea Shepherd, 6,500 whales have been killed during the practice in the last decade. Robert Read, chief operating officer at Sea Shepherd, said in the Daily Mail, “The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands.”

Sign this petition to demand that Norway end the practice of killing whales!

Read more about whale hunting in Norway in One Green Planet, including whale hunting in the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian government’s response to hunting. 

Read more about the Faroe Island slaughter and how you can help. Check out these articles:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/faroe-islands-whale-slaughter-begins/

Defenders of Wildlife | Urge the FWS to prevent more tragic manatee deaths from starvation and pollution!

Mother Manatee and Calf (c) Sam Farkas/NOAA

Photo Credit: Mother Manatee and Calf (c) Sam Farkas/NOAA

Over 670 manatee deaths has shocked scientists and wildlife lovers alike – we must act immediately to save Florida’s state marine mammal!

This has been one of the deadliest winters ever recorded for threatened manatees. Pollution is destroying the seagrass they depend on for survival, causing hundreds of manatees to turn up dead across the central and south Atlantic coast of Florida, many with signs of starvation.  

This crisis needs an immediate and powerful response. We’re calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect manatees and their habitat to save manatees right now and to prevent similar crises from happening in the future.  

Urge the FWS to protect and restore manatee habitat – click here to add your signature!

Message

Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: As a member of Defenders of Wildlife and an advocate for imperiled species, I’m asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize safeguarding and securing manatee habitat to prevent further unprecedented loss of manatees. The past few months have been some of the deadliest on record for manatees. In just three months, over 670 manatees have died, with many showing signs of starvation as the seagrass habitats they depend on for survival have disappeared, leaving them with nothing to eat. I urge you to work with the state of Florida to address excessive runoff from various sources, including agricultural,residential and industrial uses, that is polluting our waterways and leading to widespread manatee deaths. Runoff into our precious waterways is fueling algal blooms that have shaded out and killed tens of thousands of acres of seagrasses. Sediment washing into the water from agriculture and land development can also damage seagrass beds by smothering the seagrass and blocking sunlight. Waterbodies around the state, including Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie River estuary, Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay, are all experiencing devastating impacts from pollution generated by agriculture, development and industry. In addition to comprising a primary food source for manatees, seagrass meadows are one of the most productive ecosystems in Florida. They provide food and shelter to a biologically diverse community of species, from seahorses and commercially important fish, to sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds. The greatest long-term threat to the manatee is lack of warm-water habitat that they need to survive. Coastal development continues to degrade natural habitat, like rivers and springs. Manatees become susceptible to cold stress, which is often lethal, at water temperatures below ~68F. Due to habitat loss, more than 60% of the manatee population depends on warm-water outfalls at electric power plants to survive cold winter days — an unsustainable situation. Restoring natural warm water winter habitat, such as the Great Florida Riverway, is essential to ensuring the long-term recovery of the species. FWS must coordinate with Florida Power & Light to convene a meeting that focuses on establishing and securing regional networks of natural warm water where manatees can take refuge in cold weather that have healthy, adequate food sources nearby. As the number of manatee deaths continues to rise, FWS must ensure that all protections for manatees remain in place and are expanded as necessary. I’m asking you to please take urgent steps to protect manatees and their habitat before the future of this species is once again in jeopardy. Sincerely,

Defenders of Wildlife leads the pack when it comes to protecting wild animals and plants in their natural communities © 2021 Defenders of Wildlife

https://act.defenders.org/page/28132/action/1?supporter.appealCode=3WDW2100ZEXX1&en_og_source=FY21_Social_Action&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=action-manateeUSFWS-040221

Petition · Prime Minister Erna Solberg: Tell Norway’s government to stop cruel whale experiments · Change.org

www.change.org

I need your help urgently to persuade the Norwegian government to stop plans to experiment on live minke whales. Bad weather has delayed the tests but they could start any day – we don’t have much time.

Funded by the US and Norwegian navies, as well as the oil and gas industry, the Norwegian government has approved plans to capture young minke whales to test their reaction to noise from naval sonar and seismic testing for oil and gas. The whales will be caught and forced, one by one, into a modified salmon-farming pen. Once there, each whale will be clamped between two rafts and electrodes attached under his or her skin.

The whale will be bombarded by noise at various frequencies while their brain signals are measured. They could be held like this for up to six hours.

The people carrying out these experiments claim they want to know how much noise the whales can withstand and at which frequencies. They plan to run these tests in May and June, and again next year.

It could literally scare them to death.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation have sent a letter to Norway’s prime minister signed by more than 50 leading scientists and vets. These experts say the stress could kill the whales. Even if it doesn’t, the ordeal will be dangerous and terrifying for these intelligent and highly sensitive individuals.

This appalling experiment is utterly inhumane and unnecessary. Existing research already tells us what we need to know about the effects of underwater noise on whales. We know that noise created by oil and gas exploration and military sonar scares whales and can cause them to strand and can even cause internal bleeding, organ failure and brain damage.

The charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation is supporting me with this petition and they are fighting hard behind the scenes with the Norwegian NGO, NOAH – for animal rights.

https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-erna-solberg-tell-norway-s-government-to-stop-cruel-whale-experiments?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=ec97f290-73af-4fb7-9c8c-c92a90402c8e

Thousands of Dead Sharks Sold by Greedy Company Deserve Justice – ForceChange

Photo Credit: Nicholas Wang

Posted by Cameron Jenkins

forcechange.com

Target: Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada

Goal: Shut down businesses that willfully kill endangered species for profit.

The Kiu Yick Trading Company, based in Victoria, Canada, has been found guilty of importing shark fins from endangered species. As a penalty for importing 434 kilograms of illegal shark products, this company has been fined a measly $60,000. This fine is a pathetic amount for a company that generates over $2 million in annual sales, and which contributed to the extermination of threatened species.

Most of the fins came from silky sharks, which is considered to be near-threatened. This shark has a long gestation and gives birth to only a few young that are slow to mature, making it particularly susceptible to illegal hunting.

Such businesses should not be allowed to continue to operate. Sign this petition to urge the government to take stricter actions against such willful disregard for the natural world, and shut down these reproachable companies.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Honourable Wilkinson,

Despite national and international bans, companies are still bringing illegal animal products into Canada. Recently, the Kiu Yick Trading Company from British Columbia was found guilty of importing shark fins from “near threatened” species of sharks. In response, your government has fined this company only $60,000. This is a pathetic penalty for a company that draws over $2 million dollars of revenue every year.

I urge you to consider the devastating environmental impact that illegal acts of this nature have upon the whole world. Companies that willfully commit such criminal acts should be severely penalized.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://forcechange.com/586807/thousands-of-dead-sharks-sold-by-greedy-company-deserve-justice/

Urgent Action Needed: Dolphins and Porpoises

firepaw.org

Marine scientists are calling on the EU to adopt a comprehensive plan to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries bycatch in European waters. To help address the bycatch issue, which is the primary global threat to dolphins and porpoises, the researchers put forward a framework to reduce bycatch levels.

The scientists have outlined a two-step approach that involves establishing a quantitative management objective for each population and implementing monitoring programs:

To ensure an accurate estimation of bycatch levels, the experts recommend using electronic monitoring systems that allow a more comprehensive and representative sampling of the fleets.

The scientists also recommend regular formal assessments of small cetacean populations, including generation of estimates of abundance and bycatch mortality. If total bycatch has been estimated to exceed the calculated biological reference point, then a mitigation strategy needs to be put in place while monitoring is continued until levels are below the reference points.

“Bycatch of small cetaceans in European fisheries is widespread, including very large numbers of common dolphins in trawl fisheries and bycatch of the critically endangered population of harbor porpoise in the Baltic Sea…The failure to effectively conserve Europe’s dolphins and porpoises is not a result of a lack of scientific knowledge or difficulties in monitoring fisheries and bycatch. Instead, it reflects a lack of political will to ensure that these iconic animals are protected from unsustainable mortality in commercial fisheries throughout European waters. We can and must do better.”

-Professor Andrew Read, Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment


Journal reference:  Emer Rogan, Andrew J Read, Per Berggren. Empty promises: The European Union is failing to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries by‐catch. Fish and Fisheries, 2021; DOI: 10.1111/faf.12556


https://firepaw.org/2021/05/21/urgent-action-needed-dolphins-and-porpoises/

Illuminating the Mystery of Sea Turtles’ Epic Migrations

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

scitechdaily.com

Stanford University 8 – 10 minutes

Loggerhead sea turtle. Credit: Pixabay

North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ years-long oceanic journeys remain poorly understood. Using data from satellite tracking and other techniques, scientists reveal a unique phenomenon that may explain the endangered migrants’ pathway.

“Not all those who wander are lost … ”
— J.R.R. Tolkien

Known as “the lost years,” it is a little-understood journey that unfolds over thousands of miles and as much as two decades or more. Now, a Stanford-led study illuminates secrets of the North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ epic migration between their birthplace on the beaches of Japan and reemergence years later in foraging grounds off the coast of Baja California. The study, published April 8 in  Frontiers in Marine Science, provides evidence for intermittent passages of warm water that allow sea turtles to cross otherwise inhospitably cold ocean barriers. The findings could help inform the design of conservation measures to protect sea turtles and other migratory sea creatures amid climatic changes that are altering their movements.

“For decades, our ability to connect the migratory dots for this endangered species has remained elusive,” said study lead author Dana Briscoe, who was a research associate at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment during the research and now works at the Cawthron Institute, New Zealand’s largest independent marine science organization. “This work builds on the backbone of exceptional research about these ‘lost years,’ and for the first time ever we are excited to provide evidence of a ‘thermal corridor’ to explain a longstanding mystery of one of the ocean’s greatest migrants.”

Satellite Turtle Tracks

Satellite tracks of 231 juvenile North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles (light gray), including six (various colors) that migrated to the coastal waters of Baja, California. Credit: Dana Briscoe, et al. / Frontiers in Marine Science

Endangered migrants

Wildlife seekers thrill to the sight of sea turtles, but ship traffic, fishing nets, and other perils have been less kind. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists six of the seven sea turtle species as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable.

Despite scientific advancements in core habitat use, we still know precious little about the movement of turtles and other long-lived sea creatures between disparate locations. This knowledge gap makes it impossible to effectively assess and protect these species.

The researchers wanted to know how and why some loggerheads travel to the western coastline of North America while others remain in the central Pacific Ocean. How is it that some sea turtles – creatures highly sensitive to temperature – can cross a frigid zone called the Eastern Pacific Barrier between the two ocean regions that normally stops most creatures in their tracks?

To unlock that mystery, the researchers created the largest dataset on satellite-tagged loggerhead sea turtles ever compiled, employed sophisticated remote sensing oceanographic techniques and collected one of the first detailed records of sea turtle aging and stable isotope testing – a bone analysis that can be used to provide information about an animal’s life. The work relied upon decades of research by the international team of scientists.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Swimming

Loggerhead sea turtle swimming. Credit: Ralph Pace

They started by looking at a 15-year study tracking the movements of more than 200 turtles tagged with satellite tracking devices. Six of the turtles caught the researchers’ attention because – unlike their peers – they made distinct movements toward the North American coast. Adding to the intrigue, the “sentinels,” as the researchers called them, made their journey during the early spring months. A look at remotely sensed ocean conditions for the time period showed that the farthest-roaming of the sentinels swam through water significantly warmer than their peers had confronted on their travels.

A bigger picture analysis involved identifying the years loggerheads arrived in Baja California by measuring stable isotope “fingerprints” in the bones of sea turtles stranded on beaches there. Because like us, turtles are what they eat, these stable isotope signatures can reveal when the turtles transitioned from the open sea to the coast. The analysis showed significantly greater annual numbers of eastward-bound sea turtles during warm ocean conditions.

The likely cause, according to the researchers: the development of a “thermal corridor” from unusually warm sea surface temperatures due to El Niño and other intermittent warming conditions that allowed the turtles to cross the Eastern Pacific Barrier to coastal foraging grounds.

The corridor was present during the late spring and summer, and was also preceded by early warming of temperatures in the months before it opened. Such anomalous conditions, especially if sustained for several months, may provide key environmental cues to sea turtles and other animals concentrated in the eastern edge of the central Pacific that the thermal corridor is opening. Studies combining data from loggerhead aerial surveys, at-sea-sightings, stranding records and tissue samples supported the hypothesis.

A dangerous trend

The phenomenon may be part of a trend. As the planet undergoes unprecedented climate changes, locations once considered impassable obstacles to species movements, like the Eastern Pacific Barrier, are being redefined. This, in turn, is shifting the distributions and migratory pathways of creatures ranging from sea birds to white sharks and presenting new conservation challenges.

For the North Pacific loggerhead, the trend could mean higher exposure to bycatch – unintentional fisheries harvest – off the Baja California coast and other potentially important North American foraging grounds, including the Southern California Bight. The study provides important insights, such as an understanding of how animal movements relate to climate variation, that could help predict when sea turtles and other protected species could be vulnerable to such threats.

The researchers caution that their multi-year dataset represents only a snapshot of an important developmental period for sea turtles. The small number of turtles that moved into the eastern North Pacific limits the ability to fully test the study’s hypothesis under varying conditions. To do that, the researchers call for more satellite tagging and stable isotope studies of turtle bones in this region.

“Understanding how and why species like the North Pacific loggerhead move among habitats is crucial to helping them navigate threats,” said study senior author Larry Crowder, the Edward Ricketts Provostial Professor at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. “Emerging technologies and analyses can help illuminate these journeys.”

Reference: “Dynamic Thermal Corridor May Connect Endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles Across the Pacific Ocean” by Dana K. Briscoe, Calandra N. Turner Tomaszewicz, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Denise M. Parker, George H. Balazs, Jeffrey J. Polovina, Masanori Kurita, Hitoshi Okamoto, Tomomi Saito, Marc R. Rice and Larry B. Crowder, 8 April 2021, Frontiers in Marine Science.
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2021.630590

Crowder is also a professor of biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Co-authors of the study include Calandra Turner Tomaszewicz and Jeffrey A. Seminoff of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service; Denise Parker and George Balazs of Golden Honu Services of Oceania; Jeffrey Polovina of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; Masanori Kurita and Hitoshi Okamoto of the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium (Japan); Tomomi Saito of Kōchi University (Japan); and Marc Rice of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy.

Funding for this study provided by the Crowder Lab at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford’s Department of Biology and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

https://scitechdaily.com/illuminating-the-mystery-of-sea-turtles-epic-migrations/

This is just the first week!

10 Ways to Help Protect the Oceans | Dolphin Project

www.dolphinproject.com

Saving dolphins and whales is more than just ending their captivity. Dolphin Project believes that ocean conservation is vital to the survival of all marine animals. Marine species are currently facing more human-caused threats than ever before.

There are many ways we can help protect them. Here are a few ideas:

1. Ditch single-use plastics

Disposable straws, cups, lids, utensils, bags, water bottles and other single use plastics make up a huge percentage of marine pollution. With an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste entering the oceans each year, countless marine animals ingest plastics, become entangled in them, or worse, are killed by them. To minimize your impact, do a trash audit and see exactly how much you are throwing away. Think of what you could live without! Every reduction makes a difference. If every person in North America used just one fewer single use plastic item per year, there would be 579 million LESS pieces of plastic thrown away!

Plastic Garbage in Sea Pen Taiji Dolphin Project Captive Dolphin

Plastic Garbage in Sea Pen

2. Join beach or community clean ups

Ocean conservation is vital to the survival of all marine species. In order to protect wild populations and continue to return captive dolphins and whales to the ocean, we must ensure a safe and clean habitat. Clean ups can take place anywhere – you don’t have to live near a beach to partake in one. Every piece of plastic and debris that you clean up is one fewer item of trash that will find its way into the ocean and potentially entangle and harm marine life. Cleanups can take place at a beach next to the ocean, at a park, a river, or just around your local town- or even join in our global beach clean up on July 14th!

3. Avoid items and experiences that exploit marine life

Certain products contribute to the harming of ocean habitats, which in turn affect the species that live in them. Avoid purchasing jewelry made from turtle shells or coral, and cosmetic products that contain squalene (a compound obtained for commercial use from sharks).

Experiences such as swim with dolphins programs, dolphin therapy and dolphin shows may be promoted as “educational” or “fun,” but in reality they are forms of exploitation. Not only do dolphins suffer greatly in captivity, but as long as these experiences are promoted this way it will fuel the demand for cruel wild dolphin captures to continue to fill the tanks of new marine parks around the world. Take the pledge NOT to buy a ticket!

captive dolphins tank crowded dirty Dolphin Project

Overcrowding at captive dolphin facility

4. Be mindful of what’s on your plate

Overfishing of the oceans is a tremendous problem on a global level. Fish populations around the world are rapidly being depleted due to seafood demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. Commercial fishing methods often involve gear that entangles unintended species. Bycatch, or the incidental capture of non-target species such as dolphins, whales, pinnipeds, sharks, turtles and seabirds causes a staggering number of deaths each year.

If you consume seafood, stay informed about different fishing methods and their harmful impacts, and the health of populations that your seafood came from, so that you are able to make the meal choices with the smallest environmental impact. As an even better alternative, take a step further and avoid seafood all together!

5. Be an ocean-minded pet owner

Make sure to read the labels on your pet’s food, and to extend sustainable seafood practices to your pet’s diet. Be sure to responsibly dispose of your pet’s waste and to never flush cat litter; when owners neglect to pick up after their animals, pet waste can wash into storm drains, where it becomes a pollutant in drains and waterways, eventually ending up in the ocean. Both on land and in water, the waste left by our pets can spread harmful diseases through bacteria and parasites.

6. Contact representatives and lawmakers

Be aware of authorities and governmental figures with jurisdiction over your area. Contact them and let them know just how important the oceans are to the environment – and to us! Ask that they take action for the oceans such as banning single-use plastics, supporting renewable energy and other initiatives to ensure clean and healthy marine habitats. One urgent call to action we must continue to take now is to ask for the Snake River dams to be breached to save the Southern Resident orcas from extinction!

Scarlet/‘J50’ swims alongside her mother Slick/‘J16'

Southern Resident orca Scarlet/‘J50′ swimming with her mother Slick/‘J16′. Credit: NOAA Fisheries /Public Domain

7. Reduce your carbon emissions

There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint both inside and outside your home: take a bus or bike to work, adjust your thermostat, turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them, use cold water to wash your clothes and shop local to avoid products shipped over long distances.

8. Travel the seas responsibly

When boating or embarking on a marine eco-tour, make sure that responsible practices are used. Be a whale-wise boater and keep respectful distances from marine mammals that do not negatively affect their behavior. Make sure to contain any trash, so that it does not get blown into the water. When on the beach or in the water, be sure to use reef-safe sunscreen and keep mindful distances from animals that may be nesting on beaches.

9. Ignite change in your community

Tell family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and anyone else who will listen about why the oceans are so important. Share incredible facts about dolphins and other marine species that they may not know, and inspire them to love and protect the oceans! Present the facts about dolphin captivity to anyone who may be vacationing at or near captive facilities. Contact local restaurants about offering locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood (and more vegan options!).

Empty the Tanks at Duisburg Zoo

Empty the Tanks Demo at Duisburg Zoo

10. Stay informed; make your voice count

Be informed of opportunities to vote on issues related to the ocean and the environment. Stay up to date on petitions, public demonstrations and opportunities for public commenting, making sure to add your voice! We often post these opportunities on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and additionally have ongoing petitions for several of our campaigns!

Every action we take makes a difference and collectively, the difference is huge! We must hold ourselves accountable to not only what we are comfortable doing, but capable of doing to help the environment.

Let’s all continue to care for the oceans!

Humpback whale fluke at sunset on the open ocean

Humpback whale fluke at sunset on the open ocean | Photo by Tracie Sugo

Featured image: Short beaked common dolphins frolic off the coast of Southern California, credit – Tracie Sugo

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/10-ways-to-help-protect-the-oceans/

How to Watch Whales and Dolphins Responsibly | Dolphin Project

www.dolphinproject.com

Whale and dolphin watching tours are a fantastic alternative to seeing captive dolphins under inhumane conditions in marine parks and dolphinariums. When responsibly conducted, eco-tours play a huge role in inspiring people to love and cherish wild dolphins, and in turn be inspired to help protect them. The benefits of responsible marine mammal-based ecotourism span from a better appreciation of the marine wildlife to supporting local economies, especially in developing countries in where whale and dolphin watching tours present an alternative to hunting or capturing dolphins.

It is vital to find a responsible tour operator that minimally impacts dolphins and whales, so that both you and the animals can have the best encounter. Below are tips to having the best encounters with wildlife, and letting the wildlife have the best encounter with you!

Wild orcas swim free monterey bay california

Wild orcas swimming free in Monterey Bay, California | Photo by Tracie Sugo

How do I find a responsible ecotour operator?

Responsible operators stick to local whale watching guidelines, are led by knowledgable captains and naturalists, notify the appropriate authorities when a whale is in distress and set an example of how to maneuver around marine mammals for other boaters. Oftentimes these aspects are evident on operator’s websites, or reviews of their tours posted online.

The trip should be about education, not sensation. Always remember to let whales and dolphins decide what happens; never force an interaction and keep a respectful distance appropriate for each species. Some dolphins willingly approach to surf in the pressure wave created by the bow on the front of the boat (also called “bow riding”); larger whales typically travel or forage at a distance but may occasionally approach or “mug” a vessel.

Humpback whale breaches off the coast of California

Humpback whale breaches off the coast of California | Photo by Tracie Sugo

What are some red flags to look for?

Responsible operators would never overcrowd a marine mammal; if there are too many boats around a whale or a pod of dolphins, they must be left alone. Having too many vessels around may make it difficult for the animals to travel, forage or rest; it is best not to interfere with their natural behavior.

Responsible operators would also never approach marine mammals head on, or at high speeds. Baleen whales, such as humpback, blue, minke, gray and fin whales do not have echolocation like dolphins and toothed whales do. This makes it difficult for them to anticipate a boat and put them in danger of being spooked, or worse, in danger of collision. High speeds and irresponsible driving can also potentially disturb hunting or resting pods of dolphins.

Lastly, responsible operators would never chase or harass marine mammals. If whales or dolphins do not want to be watched, they will swim away. In these cases, it is best to leave them to go as they please. Chasing them would make them expend unnecessary energy; for migrating whales who fast for long periods of time, this is quite harmful.

Is it possible to watch wild whales and dolphins from land?

In some parts of the world and during the right time of year, it is possible to see wild cetaceans from shore. Some populations either have a permanent coastal range, or come very close to land during their migration.

The growing trend for land-based whale watching is taking off big time in South Africa, Hawaii, Scotland and Norway. With zero impact on the animals, land-based whale watching is the least invasive way to watch marine wildlife. It’s also the best method for anyone who suffers from sea sickness.

The west coast of the United States has many great spots to watch gray whales as they migrate near shore from Alaska to Mexico and back again. Many areas of the world are also home to coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins that can be seen from beaches as they surf and play in breaking waves. There are many great places around the world to watch dolphins and whales from land, particularly with species that have a very coastal range.

gray whale breach

Gray whale breach near the California coast | Photo by Tracie Sugo

Is swimming with wild dolphins a responsible alternative to captivity?

Wild spotted and bottlenose dolphins together in the Bahamas.

Wild spotted and bottlenose dolphins together in the Bahamas. Credit: DolphinProject.com

For some, swimming with wild dolphins can be a very attractive alternative to visiting a captive facility, but extra caution and consideration is necessary. A tour should never guarantee or promote that you can swim with dolphins, or make any physical contact with them. In fact, touching or pursuing a dolphin in the water can be considered “harassment”, which is illegal under US federal law.

In order to guarantee wild dolphin interactions, some operators have been known to feed wild pods to encourage interaction, which can be harmful to their independence, upset their digestion and health, or encourage them to approach other boats and increase the risk of a strike. Any tours that offer fish food or feeding opportunities should be avoided.

In some areas such as Hawaii, there are additional concerns that boats and tourists are disrupting sleeping pods of dolphins, which can reduce birth rates and cause additional stress. Ask a tour operator if they follow federal or local guidelines to prevent disruptions to sensitive species.

Finally, every operator should have rules of conduct and safety information regarding potential encounters of wild dolphins by swimmers. Those rules should be designed to discourage contact and protect the dolphins from unwanted interference. Wild dolphins are exactly that – wild, and they should be respected as such. Just as you would not approach a wild lion to pet it, you should treat all encounters with wild marine mammals with caution, for your safety and theirs.

Some dolphins are curious and may approach a swimmer or diver in the water, but it should always be their decision to initiate contact as well as end that encounter.

Keep in Mind Whales and Dolphins are Wild Animals

The ocean is a wild environment; we are visitors and we must respect the residents. Wildlife viewing is not always people watching wildlife; oftentimes it’s also wildlife watching people. It can bring people to tears when they make eye contact with a dolphin or whale during a close approach.

Chances are that people will always want to see dolphins and whales, and where they choose to spend their money makes a big difference. It is important to support responsible dolphin and whale watching tours because the alternative is to watch them in captivity, where cetaceans are known to suffer. As more and more people become aware of the problems of captivity, they may choose to see them wild and with that in mind, we must not overcrowd or harass marine mammals but watch them in a responsible and sustainable way. Marine mammal-based tourism, if conducted properly, can not only work, but it can work well for both people and mammals.

Marine mammals’ welfare should always remain the most important aspect of these eco-tours because, without these animals, there will be no ecotourism at all! Let’s help inspire more people to care about dolphins and help ecotourism stay responsible!

Wild dolphin looks towards people on a whale watching boat

Wild common dolphin looks towards people on a whale watching boat | Photo by Tracie Sugo

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/how-to-watch-whales-and-dolphins-responsibly/

Safe travels little one…

Texas frigid weather is over… 🐢

People are filling their cars with rescued sea turtles to save them from the winter storm

Turtles rescued in Texas

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Dozens of volunteers on South Padre Island are coming together to rescue cold-stunned turtles amid Texas’s deadly winter storm.

The power is out, and the water has stopped running for most of the typically warm beach town, but many residents braved the freezing temperatures to rescue the endangered sea turtles. The people ventured on foot and by boat, working tirelessly to gather as many turtles as possible.

Volunteers working with Sea Turtle, Inc. had transported over 3,500 comatose turtles by late Tuesday. The reptiles were brought to the town’s rescue center to be rehabilitated. Conservationists hope to gradually increase the turtles’ body heat as they lay them on tarps and kiddie pools indoors.

But Wendy Knight, the local rescue group’s executive director, fears that hundreds of the recovered turtles may have already succumbed to the cold.

“It’s unprecedented. A cold stun like this could have the potential to wipe out decades of hard work, and we’re going through it with no power and a unique, more catastrophic challenge to our efforts,” she told The Washington Post.

Turtles rescued in Texas

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Below zero temperatures and prolonged power outages have left more than a dozen people dead around the U.S. as of early Wednesday. And it’s not just the turtles; other animals have also felt the brunt of the Arctic Chill that has ravaged Texas and other areas in the southern part of the country.

According to conservationists, it often takes days for them to know how many turtles were able to survive as the animals slowly regain warmth.

These turtles play a significant role in keeping the ecosystem balanced. Dubbed as the “lawnmowers of the ocean,” they consume the area’s thick, underwater vegetation.

However, when temperatures drop below 50 Fahrenheit—which rarely happens in South Padre Island—the low temperatures can cause them to become cold-stunned.

When this happens, a turtle’s heart rate lowers and its flippers become paralyzed. Its body will then float comatose above the water and will sometimes be washed ashore. This phenomenon can put them at risk of predators, boats, and even drowning.

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In a typical year, Sea Turtle, Inc. volunteers expect to rescue anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred cold-stunned turtles, warming them inside the group’s facility. But this time, they were already filling up the rescue center to the brim before the weekend was up.

They put out a call for help, and the community didn’t disappoint. Soon, much of the island transported the turtles to an overflow facility at the South Padre Island Convention Center. The generators and good insulation in the place could help keep the animals warm.

Turtles rescued in Texas

On Monday and Tuesday, boats went out to scoop up cold-stunned turtles from the freezing water. Other volunteers on foot scanned the beach for any reptiles and loaded them into their trunks and truck beds to bring them to the rescue center. 

Gina McLellan, a 71-year-old retired professor and longtime volunteer, said this is “a huge, huge community effort.”

“We very often don’t even think about the [cold’s] impact on animals, because we’re so worried about our own electricity and water. With this kind of event, it’s a classic display of humanity toward animals,” she said.

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Although she’s grateful for the volunteers, Knight said that their efforts would be in vain without the power grid’s help.

Turtles rescued in Texas

The “dry dock” rehabilitation method used inside the centers can only do so much. The dozens of injured and sick turtles need to be treated inside massive, heated tanks.

“If we don’t get some relief from a power standpoint, we’re not going to be able to sustain this,” Knight said.

Hopefully, each of these turtles will be returned to their habitat once the harsh weather has subsided.

You can help by donating to Sea Turtle, Inc. You may also follow their Facebook page for more updates.

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/rescued-sea-turtles-winter-storm/#comments

That was close!!