Surprising Sea Turtle Facts


 “See ‘Underwater Snowstorm’ of Coral Reproducing”. National Geographic

130+ Seals found dead in Lake Baikal, supposedly from cardiac arrest or storm 

Whales, Sea Turtles Threatened by Trump Administration Proposal

Right Whales on a Collision Course Toward Disaster – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

North Atlantic right whale entanglement, NOAA.
For the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most critically imperiled large whale species in the world, 2017 has been a terrible year – indeed, probably the worst year since commercial whaling was banned in 1937.

Beginning in April of this year, when a dead right whale was found stranded in Cape Cod Bay, the death toll has just kept rising. Two additional right whale deaths have been confirmed in the United States and an unprecedented twelve dead right whales have been confirmed in Canada. For a species with fewer than 500 individual surviving members, these mortality levels are absolutely devastating. Fifteen dead whales— three percent of their total population—is a catastrophic loss. Because not all right whale carcasses will be discovered, the true number of deaths is probably even higher.

To put this in perspective, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has previously found that the loss of even a single right whale may contribute to the extinction of the species. Even prior to this year’s horrifying spate of deaths, Defenders and its conservation allies had been extremely concerned about the lack of progress in right whale recovery. Despite decades of protection in the U.S. under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), leading right whale scientists recently concluded – with a 99.99 percent degree of certainty – that the species has been in decline since 2010.

The situation unfolding is so dire that, in response to this year’s unprecedented die-offs NMFS has declared the current phenomenon an unusual mortality event under the MMPA. This declaration puts much-needed pressure on government agencies by necessitating an immediate investigation into the causes of this significant die-off.
Dissecting These Die-Offs

We have known for a long time that entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes are the two largest causes of right whale mortality. Although the data and analysis are not yet complete for all the right whale carcasses recovered and necropsied, it appears as if these killers are likely responsible for this year’s overwhelming death toll. Preliminary evidence from both the U.S. and Canada shows that some of the dead right whales were hopelessly entangled in heavy fishing ropes while others showed blunt-force trauma marks consistent with being struck by a vessel.
Snared and Struck

Entanglements can drown right whales by keeping these air-breathing mammals from reaching the surface. They can also interfere with movement and feeding and create wounds when ropes cut into an entangled whale’s skin, leading to slow and painful deaths by starvation and infection. Alarmingly, new scientific studies show that fishing gear entanglements not only kill right whales outright, but also impose such an energetic cost on females, due to the burden of dragging entangled gear around, that they are bearing fewer calves. Indeed, 2017 is one of the worst years on record for baby right whales, with only five documented calves born. When you realize that some 85 percent of all known right whales have scars from entanglements in fishing gear, the tremendous risks that fisheries pose to the very survival of the right whale becomes clear.  

Blue whale in the shadow of a tanker ship. Photo by CINMS/NOAA

Ship strikes are also a life-threatening risk to right whales, which migrate up and down waters off the eastern coasts of Canada and the U.S. every year, through some of the busiest commercial shipping lanes in North America. Although we think of whales as the behemoths of the sea, they are dwarfed by huge container vessels, cruise ships, and other vessel traffic, and stand little chance of survival when one of these vessels runs them over at speed. For this reason, Defenders and its conservation allies worked hard for many years to get NMFS to implement speed limits for large vessels when whales’ seasonal migrations put them into the traffic danger zones. Yet the U.S. ship strike rule doesn’t go far enough, and Canada doesn’t have any permanent speed limit rules in place.
Working for Right Whales Right Now

Defenders and its conservation allies are taking action to protect the North Atlantic right whale from further unsustainable losses. We have just sent NMFS a 60-day notice of our intent to sue under the ESA and MMPA for its management of the American lobster fishery, which continues to seriously injure or kill right whales every year through entanglements in vertical lines.

We have also just sent a detailed letter to the Canadian government, urging it to step up to the plate and protect right whales from both entanglements and ship strikes in Canadian waters.

The situation is dire, but we will do everything in our power to halt and reverse the right whale’s slide toward extinction.

Jane Davenport, Senior Staff Attorney
Jane’s work focuses on protecting marine species such as sharks, sea turtles, and marine mammals from direct and incidental take in fisheries; and on protecting freshwater aquatic species from habitat destruction and pollution from surface coal mining.
Categories: Marine Habitat, marine habitat, Marine Mammal Protection Act, North Atlantic right whale, Whales, Wildlife
1130 17th Street NW

Washington, DC 20036


©2017 Defenders of Wildlife

Endangered Orcas In The Pacific Northwest Just Suffered Another Heartbreaking Loss | Care2 Causes

By: Alicia Graef
September 29, 2017
Highly endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest continue to face a host of threats to their survival, and now they’ve suffered another heartbreaking loss with the death of a young male.

These orcas, otherwise known as the southern resident killer whales (SRKW), live in three distinct pods (J,K and L), who travel through Puget Sound, the Straight of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the summer months before migrating to open ocean in the winter.

Tragically, even with live captures being banned, federal protection in the U.S. and Canada and millions spent on research and recovery efforts, they’ve yet to make a comeback.
Love This? Never Miss Another Story.

This week, the Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of these orcas, broke devastating news with an announcement that a two-year-old male, Sonic (J52), had passed away. He is believed to have died from malnutrition.

According to CWR, he was last seen on September 15, looking lethargic, while photos taken at the time showed severe “peanut-head” syndrome (when their head becomes concave around the blowhole), which is associated with impending death. He was with his mother and another adult male, who were tending to him miles away from the rest of the pod, and was believed to be “hours, if not minutes” away from death at the time. His mother and the male were spotted days later, but he was gone.

Sonic was part of the so-called baby boom for these orcas that began in 2014, but as CWR noted, with his passing three of the six whales born in the J pod during that boom have died, along with two mothers and a great-grandmother.  

Their population has dropped from 83 as of last year, to just 76 individuals today (not counting Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium), and time to save them is quickly running out.

While they continue to face a number of compounding threats ranging from boat traffic and noise to toxic pollutants, many believe the biggest problem now is a lack of food. Their main food source, Chinook salmon, is also endangered due to habitat loss, overfishing, and having their migration and spawning grounds blocked by hydroelectric dams.

“If something isn’t done to enhance SRKW prey availability almost immediately (it takes a few years for a Chinook salmon to mature and reproduce, and it takes about twelve years for a female SRKW to mature and reproduce), extinction of this charismatic resident population of killer whales is inevitable in the calculable future,” wrote Kenneth Balcolm, CWR’s founder.

Advocates for these orcas have pushed to expand critical habitat, with widespread public support, and are continuing to call for immediate action to help them survive, particularly calling for the removal of four lower Snake River dams in Washington and on the Klamath River in Oregon and Northern California, which is expected to have a huge impact on salmon recovery. Hopefully Sonic’s death will increase public pressure and help garner the political will to accomplish more protective measures.

For more on how to help, check out the Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative, Center for Whale Research, Orca Network and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Photo credit: Thinkstock
Copyright © 2017, inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved
Care2 Team Blog

#Taiji Tuesday – Short-Finned Pilot Whale

Short-Finned Pilot Whale: There are currently two recognized species of pilot whale, the short-finned and long-finned. In Japan, there are two morphologically and geographically distinct population…

Source: #Taiji Tuesday – Short-Finned Pilot Whale

After 20 Years in a South Korean Marine Park, 2 Dolphins are Going Back to the Wild! | One Green Planet

Michelle Neff

April 24, 2017

We have some very exciting news to share! After a staggering 20 years living at the Seoul Grand Park aquarium, Geumdeung, and Daepo, two bottlenose dolphins will be sent back to the oceans in July. The two dolphins were captured by a fishery net near Jeju Island in 1997 and 1998, respectively, with their names coming from the villages where they were first found. Geumdeung and Daepo were bounced between various dolphin performance theaters around Jeju Island until they were transported to Seoul Grand Park in 1999 and 2002. The pair have been there ever since.

According to the Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending marine animal captivity, the decision to move Geumdeung and Daepo came from Mayor Park Won-soon. The ground-breaking movie “The Cove” greatly influenced the mayor’s decision to rehabilitate and release the two dolphins, even going as far as to pay for the entire project.
After being taken from the wild and then forced to perform meaningless tricks for people, Geumdeung and Daepo are now finally going back home. Wonderful news!

The decision to move the dolphins back into their home is a solution to increase the wild dolphin population near the Jeju shores. Geumdeung and Daepo are around 23 to 26 years old and are still diagnosed as healthy enough to procreate, the average Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphin living up to 30-25 years old.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries plans to carry out training sessions for Geumdeung and Daepo so they will adapt back into the wild. Once they become used to their local surroundings and are able to catch prey, the two dolphins will be transported back to the Jeju island in May and then will return to the ocean around July. With dolphins having complex communication skills, advanced mental capacity, and genuine self-awareness, we are thrilled to learn that Geumdeung and Daepo will soon return to where they belong: the wild.

No animal should have to suffer for the sake of our entertainment. Please never visit or otherwise support a marine park like SeaWorld or Marineland. Instead, support organizations like Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project and Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians both of which are dedicated to stopping marine animal captivity. 🐬

Petition: Defend the Amazon Reef from Oil Drilling

URGENT Petition: Dolphins At Risk of Death in Drift Gillnets – The Animal Rescue Site

Petition Avaaz – Stop the world’s biggest whale slaughter

Drunk Frat Boys Used Beached Shark as Can Opener – Demand Arrests


Drunk spring breakers filmed themselves using a beached shark as a bottle opener, drinking beer off a star fish belly, and forcing a seagull back to their hotel room. Demand authorities find and prosecute these sick creeps.

Source: Drunk Frat Boys Used Beached Shark as Can Opener – Demand Arrests


Petition-Save the Critically Endangered Maltese Skate – ForceChange

Petition-Do Not Allow Accused Albatross Killer to Go Unpunished – ForceChange

Petition Emergency: Help Protect Manatees – The Animal Rescue Site

Petition: Stop dolphins, porpoises and whales dying in fishing gear in UK waters, United Kingdom

Stop Mutilating Pink Dolphins for Fish Bait



Pink dolphins are having their fins cut off by fishermen to use as bait, leading to painful, excruciating deaths. This inhumane practice cannot be allowed to continue. Help save these creatures from cruel deaths by mutilation.

Source: Stop Mutilating Pink Dolphins for Fish Bait

Urge Fairs to Cancel Cruel Shark Encounters!


Sharks don’t belong in captivity. Please urge fairs to cancel these cruel events.

Source: Urge Fairs to Cancel Cruel Shark Encounters!

The Vancouver Aquarium Will Be Closing Its Beluga Exhibit | Care2 Causes

Denounce Surfer for Demanding Daily Culling of Sharks

A famous surfer has proposed on social media that France’s government should cull sharks daily to resolve the issue of an increase in shark attacks. Culling is cruel and ineffective and should not be promoted by an influential public figure. Tell this surfer that sharks belong in the ocean by signing this petition.

Source: Denounce Surfer for Demanding Daily Culling of Sharks

Petition: Stop the Air Force from Bombing Hundreds of Dolphins and Whales!, United States

Ground-Breaking Case: Seafood Store Convicted for Cruelty to Lobster | News | PETA Australia

In the first crustacean cruelty conviction ever seen by RSPCA NSW, one of Sydney’s biggest seafood stores has pleaded guilty to cruelty-to-animals charges.

Source: Ground-Breaking Case: Seafood Store Convicted for Cruelty to Lobster | News | PETA Australia

Save Innocent Dolphins Trapped in Small, Chlorinated Tanks

A museum holds several dolphins in small, dirty tanks with chlorine levels so high that some of the dolphins cannot even open their eyes. Sign this petition and demand that these incredibly sensitive and intelligent animals are moved to a sea pen or an accredited sanctuary immediately.

Source: Save Innocent Dolphins Trapped in Small, Chlorinated Tanks

Petition · Equal Protection for Nantucket’s State Waters ·

The Reason to Never Buy Bottled Water that No One Talks About | One Green Planet


Malorie Macklin
February 4, 2017

There are many reasons why bottled water is drawing criticism lately. From the incredible amount of plastic pollution that stems from mismanaged plastic water bottles, to the threat of hazardous chemicals leaching from the plastic, to the controversial water harvesting practices of some bottled water companies, to the fact that bottled water is no healthier than tap water, the practice of bottling water is definitely not popular with many crowds.

And while bottled water may serve a degree of reliability in times of natural disaster or compromised water service, the widespread embrace of this $100 billion industry on a daily basis is just not as convenient or healthy as some companies have it cracked up to be. In fact, it’s proving to be anything but convenient or healthy for wildlife. If you care about birds, fish, insects and any number of other creatures, this is one industry you won’t want to be supporting any longer. From the harvest of water by bottling companies to the manufacture and eventual disposal of the plastic bottles, bottled water is truly a danger to wildlife all over the planet.
Diverting Valuable Resources

There are some possible sources of water that bottling companies may elect to use. There are municipal sources where the water comes from the tap, essentially, and accounts for roughly 55 percent of the bottled water available for purchase. Natural sources make up the other supply line and are often referred to in the industry as “spring water.” Some companies choose to add minerals or electrolytes or put the water through various filtration and treatment systems. No matter the source or manipulation of the water, one fact remains: bottled water companies are removing water from a location where it is needed to sell it elsewhere.

Nestlé is one particular company that has gained a lot of bad press lately over its theft of water in drought-ridden California. The state of California has been experiencing an inconceivable drought over recent years. In fact, the span of time from 2012 to 2014 was the driest three-year period in the state’s recorded history! Yet, despite the state’s dire straights, Nestlé continues to operate a pumping operation that extracts 1.9 million gallons of water every single day from San Bernadino National Park because the National Parks Service has allowed them to operate under an expired permit for the past two decades!

Sadly, Nestlé is only one example out of many other companies who carry out similar business.

In the midst of all this water usage, wildlife is poised to take a hit from the water theft that bottling companies like Nestlé, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart are able to practice. In California, the drought is proving harmful to ecosystems from marshes that house endemic species, to forests where trees are dying out in the millions. With their habitat compromised, animals large and small can’t be expected to thrive in such harsh conditions. The drought is also destructive to migration patterns of waterfowl that depend on wetlands during their travel. While bottled water companies may not be the single cause of the drought in California, the fact that they are able to continue to exploit dwindling water supplies and harm wildlife in the process is appalling.

Mixing Oil and Water
It isn’t just the harvesting of water that makes bottled water dangerous to wildlife – it’s also the manufacturing of the plastic bottles themselves that are so disastrous. Plastic bottles require oil for manufacturing, an increasingly inconvenient fact. On an annual basis, Americans alone demand 17 million barrels of oil to produce plastic water bottles. Unfortunately, more drilling is needed from year to year to continue to meet this demand as the PET bottles typically used cannot be converted into other plastic water bottles. Instead, they end up as material for fleece or carpeting.

The seemingly endless demand for oil is proving harmful to wildlife due to the pollution involved in the process. If you need evidence that oil drilling is bad for wildlife, just look at what happens to animals after an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over 8,000 birds, marine mammals and sea turtles were tallied as either injured or dead within the first six months of the spill, and studies posit that dolphin populations are still being impacted by the spill.

Care About Wildlife? Here’s Why You Should Kick the Bottled Water Habit Today
Plastic Planet

Even though plastic bottles are recyclable, the majority don’t end up in the recycling plant. Of the 50 billion plastic water bottles used every year in America, only an estimated 23 percent end up recycled. If the majority of plastic water bottles don’t end up recycled, where do they go?

Landfills are the primary receivers of the 35 billion plastic water bottles we throw out each year, with some escape artists making their way into terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Once a plastic bottle is tossed into the ocean or left on the street, it won’t fully degrade for 1,000 years! It will instead break into many tiny pieces first that have the capability to absorb harmful toxins like PCB’s and DDT. And once the plastic bottle has taken on its new form as a microplastic, it becomes readily available for consumption by animals like fish and plankton. Even then, it never disappears, but rather continues to circulate in a vicious cycle.

Care About Wildlife? Here’s Why You Should Kick the Bottled Water Habit Today

While our world’s oceans are faced with 8.8 million tons of new plastic material every single year, we must acknowledge that plastic water bottles share part of the blame for this problem. Is it rather crazy to think that a single serving of water from a bottling company could lead to wildlife facing hundreds of years of exposure to toxic chemicals and bits of plastic crowding them out of their habitat?
Thirsty for Action?

Now that you’re aware of how bottled water is pretty harmful to furry, feathered, and scaly friends alike, are you ready to step up for wildlife? There are a ton of ways you can help wild animals and insects, but one important way is to make sure you aren’t maintaining a bottled water habit that is harmful to other creatures. Here are a few tips to keep you hydrated without putting your “animal lover” status in jeopardy.

Settle for tap. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, which enforces harsher standards for water quality than the FDA does for bottled water. Barring any unusual circumstances, you should be perfectly safe and healthy relying on tap water to keep you hydrated.

Don’t hydrate with single-use plastic. Invest in a reusable water bottle, mug, cup, mason jar, or whatever else will hold a serving of H2O. Whatever your choice, it’s a better option than a plastic bottle.

Let your voice be heard. Removing support from the bottling industry is certainly a major way to let them know you don’t agree with their business practices. You can take your beliefs a step further, however, and get involved in public action against the bottled water industry. Food and Water Watch is currently leading a campaign against bottled water called “Take Back the Tap” to reduce bottled water’s hold on schools across America.

Taking on the bottled water industry in support of wildlife everywhere is not going to be an easy task, but it is certainly one you can start at home with each sip of water you drink.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

Photo of a Hermit Crab Illustrates the Sad Reality of How Our Plastic Pollution Impacts Animals | One Green Planet

This single photo of a hermit crab illustrates the sad reality of plastic pollution..
This happened recently when Kerstin Langenberger Photography released a picture of an emaciated polar bear, which stunned many of its viewers into silence and made them realize just how vital it is to continue speaking up on behalf of our planet. We were also reminded of photography’s ability to cut right to heart of complex issues when a shocking image comparing the size of SeaWorld San Diego’s parking lot and orca tank began to circulate through social media last month. And now, an equally powerful image has come to our attention again.
In this picture, uploaded by Reddit user HSmidt, we see the reality of what plastic pollution does to wild animals.
The hermit crab pictured has resorted to using a toothpaste cap as a shell. In one sense, this can be regarded as a sign of the crab’s ingenuity, as he or she seeks to make the best of a dire situation … but the fact that the tiny animal’s chosen home is a piece of human-produced plastic – the very substance that is killing so many marine and land animals all over the globe, and leading to a terrifying build-up of waste that may take up to 1,000 years to decompose – cannot help but strike sadness into a Green Monster’s heart.

The facts behind plastic pollution are shocking to behold. In the last ten years, we have produced more of this material than was made in the entire previous century. Shoppers worldwide use around 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year – meaning that these bags are used just once before being discarded. Much of this waste is destined to end up in the ocean, where it now threatens 700 marine species with extinction.

The scariest fact of all? 270,000 tons of plastic are currently estimated to be floating in our oceans: the equivalent of 135,000 cars, 130,000 mid-sized boats, or 1,125 freight trains. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean is growing by the year, with truly frightening implications for marine and human life.

While all these statistics are shocking, it is important to remember the role that each one can play to reduce the excess of plastic every single day. We, after all, have a choice to use disposable plastics on a daily basis or to opt for a reusable, sustainable alternative. For more information on how you can reduce your dependency on plastic, and help save animals like the hermit crab.

Take Action to Protect Newly Explored Amazon Reef From Oil Companies! | One Green Planet

Petition: Phase Out “Walls of Death” – Drift Gillnets that Kill Whales, Dophins and Other Bycatch

Petition: Ban the Sale & Trade of Shark Fin Products in the USA