Video: Amazing Footage Of Humpback Whales Utilizing Ingenuitive Way To Catch Fish – Sea Voice News

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by Alex Larson →

If you had to eat 5,500 pounds of food every day , you would need to find ingenuitive ways to get food and that is exactly what millions of years of evolution has done for the humpback whale.

New footage of humpback whales off the northeaster coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island have been captured on video showing how to get food to come to them instead of wasting energy to go after the fish. The method, called trap-feeding”, is when a humpback whale suspends itself on the surface or just below the surface and opens its mouth allowing for water to pour inside. While birds above the sea circle the fish trying to catch them from the air, the fish try to escape the birds and end up in the whales mouth.

As first reported in Marine Mammal Science, the researchers first noticed this way of feeding by two whales in 2011. Now the researchers have seen 16 whales use this technique, leading to the belief that the others whales have learned from observation.

The authors note that the ability of individual whales to learn can depend on physiology, as well as their ability to respond to their external environment, like changing numbers, availability, distribution, or behavior of prey.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/11/29/video-amazing-footage-of-humpback-whales-utilizing-ingenuitive-way-to-catch-fish/

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Half Of The World’s Orcas Will Die Due To Chemical Banned Decades Ago – Sea Voice News

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About Alex Larson View all posts by Alex Larson →

Our actions today will impact those lives of lives of tomorrow. That phrase has never rang so true as new research has just revealed that half of the world’s orca populations will die to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans.

The chemical that will cause the death of the killer whales are PCBs which have been banned for decades. Although the ban has been in place, PCBs are still heavily leaking into the ocean. Because PCBs become more concentrated higher upon the food chain, the killer whale, which is the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Making it worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.

The new research, published in the journal Science, examined PCB contamination in 351 killer whales, the largest analysis yet. The scientists then took existing data on how PCBs affect calf survival and immune systems in whales and used this to model how populations will fare in the future. “Populations of Japan, Brazil, Northeast Pacific, Strait of Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom are all tending toward complete collapse,” they concluded.

PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.

“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.

PCBs were used around the world since the 1930s in electrical components, plastics and paints but their toxicity has been known for 50 years. They were banned by nations in the 1970s and 1980s but 80% of the 1m tons produced have yet to be destroyed and are still leaking into the seas from landfills and other sources.

The researchers said PCBs are just one pollutant found in killer whales, with “a long list of additional known and as yet unmeasured contaminants present”. Further problems for killer whales include the loss of key prey species such as tuna and sharks to overfishing and also growing underwater noise pollution.

“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group. “If the UK government wants its [proposed] Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/28/half-of-the-worlds-orcas-will-die-due-to-chemical-banned-decades-ago/

Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Severely Entangled By Fishing Nets – Sea Voice News

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by Alex Larson

With the help of technology and social media, we are starting to see just how often endangered species are being caught as a result of bycatch and the increase in reportings is very disturbing. The latest to marine animal to be found entrapped by fishing gear tossed into the sea is the severely endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

Reported on Facebook by Animal Rehabilitation Keep (http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/23/photos-endangered-kemps-ridley-sea-turtle-severely-entangled-by-fishing-nets/) at UT Marine Science Institute, the group found the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle severely entangled in fishing netting. In a statement on their Facebook page the stated, “Horrible case of entanglement today of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle entangled in shark fishing gear. Unfortunately, we see entanglement cases way too often. Please help by removing and properly disposing of all fishing line debris. Together we can make a difference!”

Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles numbers are starting to slowly increase but yet are still the most endangered in the world. The turtle only lives in the Gulf of Mexico and part of the east coast of the US. With incidents such as this becoming more frequent due to pollution from humans, it is now more important than ever to do our best to keep our beaches and oceans clean. You can do your small part by picking up any trash that you may see, you never know the impact you may have on another creatures life.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/23/photos-endangered-kemps-ridley-sea-turtle-severely-entangled-by-fishing-nets/

Japan To Withdraw From International Whaling Commission And Continue Commercial Whaling – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson

In news that will greatly impact the fishing of the planets whales, Japan is set to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission and continue commercial whaling next year.

The decisions has caused a mixed reaction by different environmental groups across the world.

According to reports, Japan will inform the IWC of its decision to leave after the agency rejected their bid to resume commercial fishing just a few months ago.

Kyodo News is reporting that unnamed government officials are sourced as saying Japan will discontinue their expensive and contreversial practice of sailing to Antarctic waters and instead permit whaling fleets to operate in the countries coastal waters and exclusive economic zone.

According to The Guardian, a fisheries agency official denied the report to them stating, “Japan’s official position, that we want to resume commercial whaling as soon as possible, has not changed,” the official told the Guardian. “But reports that we will leave the IWC are incorrect.”

The IWC is responsible for setting catch limits for commercial whaling and in 1982, they decided that a commercial whaling moratorium will take place going forward due to whale populations worldwide.

Greenpeace Japan urged the Japanese government to reconsider the decision that the non-governmental organization called a “grave mistake.”

“This snub to multilateralism is unacceptable,” Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan, said. “We hope that Japan will reverse its decision and take its place beside the nations trying to undo the damage human activities have done to whale populations.”

But while some are arguing in against the withdrawal, Captain Paul Watson, whom is famous for leading Sea Shepherd on the front lines in fighting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean has explained why this is actually a good move for whale conservation

In the statement on his Facebook, he writes:

“Why is this a positive Development.

  1. Because Japan has never stopped commercial whaling. They have ‘hidden’ it behind the excuse of so called ‘scientific whaling’ since 1987. They have continued commercial whaling despite the International Court of Justice ruling that there is no legal justification for their so-called ‘scientific whaling.’ Now there can be no façade, Japan has joined Norway and Iceland in their open defiance of international conservation law. All three nations are pirate whaling nations.
  2. With Japan out of the International Whaling Commission, the IWC can now pass the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. The IWC can now focus on conservation instead of whaling. Japan has been the single greatest detriment to the IWC during its entire history.
  3. The Japanese puppet nations will no longer be obligated to vote against conservation and without Japanese bribes, many will simply quit the IWC. Mongolia for example has absolutely no connection to whaling historically or practically.
  4. The IWC can now vote to condemn industrial commercial whaling.
  5. Japan will not be able to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. It is an internationally established whale sanctuary and the only reason Japan has been able to flaunt the law is by invoking the excuse of ‘scientific research whaling.” Overt commercial whaling is strictly prohibited in the Southern Ocean and Japan has indicated it will quit the Southern Ocean while expanding whaling in the North Pacific. This would mean that the current whaling season in Antarctic waters will be the last.
  6. Japan will be able to withdraw from the Southern Ocean without losing face.
  7. Opposition to illegal Japanese commercial whaling will be easier. Basically, we will be dealing with poachers. Japan will no longer be able to pretend that their commercial whaling is research whaling.
  8. Sea Shepherd’s objective to end whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will have been met.

The last time Sea Shepherd engaged with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean was for the 2016/2017 whaling season. We sent the Ocean Warrior and the Steve Irwin. Japan countered with multi-million dollar military grade surveillance making it impossible for Sea Shepherd to close in on their operations. Sea Shepherd has been unable to compete with such a massive security investment on the part of Japan. On the positive side, Japan has been forced to expend a great deal of money on security each year to maintain this edge.

Sea Shepherd’s relentless opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean since 2002 has been a major factor in undermining Japanese whaling activities. It has cost the whalers and the Japanese government tens of millions of dollars and saved the lives of over 6,000 whales.

A whaling free Southern Ocean has been our objective for two decades and if Japan moves forward with their threat to withdraw from the IWC and to resume overt commercial whaling, this objective will be realized.”

Japan joined the IWC in 1951. The entity was established in 1948 under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling to conserve whales and realize the “orderly development of the whaling industry.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/21/japan-to-withdraw-from-international-whaling-commission-and-continue-commercial-whaling/

UK Seal Found With Frisbee Around Its Neck – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →
GLENN MINGHAM/ FRIENDS OF HORSEY SEALS

An Atlantic grey seal in Norfolk has been rescued after it was found with a plastic ring around her neck on Horsey beach by the Friends of Horsey Seals group.

The marine mammal has been taken to the RSPCA centre at East Winch for treatment and care after being found severely ill and weakened due to the frisbee.

The seal was examined by the wildlife centre’s vet who found the pink plastic frisbee was embedded in the seal’s neck, causing a deep neck wound which had become severely infected. The incident is similar to one that occurred just over a year ago in September 2017 when a very ill grey seal, later dubbed Mrs Frisbee, was also rescued and admitted to RSPCA East Winch with a yellow plastic frisbee cutting deeply into her neck.

The seal appears to be recovering already after removal and treatment and is expected to be released into the wild in February.

Pollution and plastic pollution continue to be a major threat to the health of the oceans and the wildlife that lives in it. Taking care of our planet is unfortunately something that is not a given and it breaks our hearts that incidents like this could be so easily prevented.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/20/uk-seal-found-with-frisbee-around-its-neck/

Study Finds ‘Alarming Levels” Of Chemicals In Great Barrier Reef Sea Turtles – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com

by Alex Larson

In a five year study performed by WWF Australia and partners, they have found that there are “alarming” levels of chemicals in sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

The research was initiated after a mass stranding of green sea turtles in 2012, when more than 100 turtles washed ashore dead or dying in Upstart Bay, south of Townsville.

The research was conducted over the five years by collecting water samples, sediment, food, and the blood and shells of turtles to test for a wide range of elements.

In coastal locations, turtles were found to have elevated levels of metals such as cobalt antimony, and manganese in their blood and food. Those turtles that were found with higher levels of chemicals were also noticeably unhealthy.

In Upstart bay, turtles there were seen with cobalt levels as much as 25 times higher than in some coastal areas with little to no human populations and this was also the highest ever recorded for any vertebrate species. Cobalt is vital for animal and human health but in high levels it can become toxic.

The turtles are being directly impacted by human as the chemicals we use on land ends up in the ocean, threatening the clean water that turtles need to survive.

Rain or water used for agricultural washes the chemicals from land, to river and eventually the ocean. Massive amounts of soil and chemicals are washed from farms during heavy rainfalls and all that sediment and excess chemical wash over the reefs. This pollutes and destroys areas of seagrass and coral, where turtles live and feed, and is most likely responsible for the mass deaths of sea turtles in 2012.

The study, known as Rivers to Reefs to Turtles, aims to identify and measure the key pollutants in rivers, the GBR and in the turtles themselves. They hope that the data collected will help them establish a baseline of where and what needs to be addressed to help protect the ocean and its living creatures.

Scientists working on the research have also recommended expanded monitoring of turtle-population health on the Great Barrier Reef “as an indicator of the health of the reef itself”.

Associate Professor Caroline Gaus, from the University of Queensland said to WWF, “There used to be a theory that the ocean was so huge it would dilute contaminants to such an extent that it remained a relatively healthy environment for marine creatures. But people should be aware that many of the chemicals we flush down the toilet, apply to our gardens, spray on crops, or use in factories can end up in turtles and we don’t yet know how it is affecting them.”

WWF’s project partners include the University of Queensland’s National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology and School of Veterinary Science, James Cook University’s Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Research, Griffith University, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Government agencies, local Traditional Owners and natural resource management groups, and community members.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/18/study-finds-alarming-levels-of-chemicals-in-great-barrier-reef-sea-turtles/

Warning Graphic Images: Police Searching For Person Who Carved Name Into Dolphin While At Sea In Spain – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson

Heartbreaking images show a female dolphins dead body with the name ‘JUAN’ carved into the side of the mammal.

The animal was found washed up on a beach and authorities are now hunting for the individual whom committed the atrocious act.

Credit: Central European News

The carvings as well as several other injuries appear to be have done at sea where the animal perished and later washed ashore in the south-eastern Spanish province of Almeria.

According to Equinac coordinator Eva Maria Moron, “The injuries and the cuts were not done at the beach, it must have happened at sea and the storm has pulled it out of the water.’

Spanish Civil Guard sources told reporters that the Department of Marine Service has been investigating the appearance of other dolphins found dead on the beach for months and that the latest case will be added to the investigation.

Credit: Central European News

Representatives of Equinac added that if anyone does find a dead dolphin on the coastline of Spain, they should immediately notify the authorities and that fishermen whom catch dolphins as a product should be notifying the authorities as well.

They added: “We want to make people aware of the importance of taking care of protected animals, such as marine turtles or dolphins, some people in the fishing industry are against these animals as for example they say that dolphins are eating their fish or breaking their nets and we should be aware of that.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/18/warning-graphic-images-police-searching-for-person-who-carved-name-into-dolphin-while-at-sea-in-spain/

WAN Exclusive With Marine Animal Rescue Regarding Case of Dolphin Shot In California; $10,000 Reward Offered To Find The Sick Subhuman Who Did It – World Animal News

img_20181204_1423181734627668.jpg

WAN Exclusive With Marine Animal Rescue Regarding Case of Dolphin Shot In California; $10,000 Reward Offered To Find The Sick Subhuman Who Did It

By Lauren Lewis –
November 19, 2018

The heartbreaking discovery of a dead dolphin that washed up on shore off the coast of Manhattan Beach, California, earlier this month continues to raise questions and demand answers.
Most importantly, who is the pathetic individual responsible for killing the innocent dolphin, and what possesses someone to commit such a horrible act of violence.
WAN talked with Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue about the “senseless brutality” of the killing, and a $10,000 reward fund that the nonprofit organization has established to help authorities identify and locate the perpetrator, as well as ensure that justice is served.
“There is no reason for anyone to kill a dolphin, especially this way,” Wallerstein, who discovered the bullet wound, told WAN, further noting that the dolphin otherwise appeared to be in good shape.
A 33-year veteran of rescuing marine animals in and around Los Angeles County, Wallerstein explained that his theory of how the dolphin died was confirmed when Dr. Palmer with the Marine Mammal Care Center in Los Angeles found the bullet inside of the deceased marine mammal.
Wallerstein told WAN that he reported the incident to the National Marine Fisheries law enforcement division, the unit that should be investigating the crime, as dolphins are among the ocean mammals protected under federal law.
Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries West Coast office advised WAN this afternoon that the law enforcement division was aware of the situation, he stated that it is the organization’s policy to not comment on the status of investigations.
Don’t let the tragic death of this sentient being be in vein, other dolphins need our help to ensure that justice is served, and to send a strong message that this type of senseless animal cruelty will not be tolerated or treated lightly.
It is imperative that anyone with information about this case contact the National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement’s Hotline at (800) 853-1964.
Anyone with a tip should also contact Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue at (310) 455-2729.
Marine Animal Rescue, which is offering the reward, will forward relevant information received to the National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement Division to ensure an investigation into this heinous crime.
Donations to help Marine Animal Rescue save the lives of sick, injured or orphaned marine animals including: whales, seals, sea lions and seabirds, can be made Here!

https://worldanimalnews.com/wan-exclusive-with-marine-animal-rescue-reguarding-case-of-dolphin-shot-in-california-10000-reward-offered/

 

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Breaking! Court of Appeals Upholds U.S. Ban on Mexican Seafood Imports To Help Save The Remaining 15 Vaquita From Extinction – World Animal News

By WAN –
November 28, 2018

This is an illustration of the vaquita made by Greenpeace Mexico.
In a victory for one of Earth’s most endangered marine mammals, the vaquita, a federal court sided with conservationists and, for the third time, upheld a four-month-old ban on the United States importing Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught with gillnets that drown vaquita porpoises.
Rejecting a Trump administration legal challenge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmed a preliminary order implementing a federal law that requires a ban on seafood imported from Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California and caught with gillnets that threaten the vaquita porpoise. Gillnets kill about 50% of the rapidly dwindling vaquita population every year.
“The U.S. government is wasting its time and money trying to reverse the court’s order, which will only accelerate the extinction of the critically endangered vaquita,” DJ Schubert, a wildlife biologist for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) noted in a statement sent to WAN this morning. “It’s time for the government to accept the courts’ decisions, ensure full implementation of the ban, and continue to work with the government of Mexico to save the vaquita.”
Yesterday’s decision is critical to the survival of the estimated 15 remaining vaquita on earth.
Vaquita are now relegated to only one place on the planet, the upper Gulf of California. Fishing with gillnets is driving the vaquita to extinction because the small porpoise is easily entangled and drowned in these dangerous nets.
Conservation groups, including AWI, initially filed suit in the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York City in March and secured a preliminary ban in July on seafood imports from Mexico caught with gillnets that kill the vaquita. The departments of Commerce, Treasury and Homeland Security, which are charged with banning imports that are contributing to the vaquita’s extinction, have tried and failed to modify or undo the import ban three times.
“The federal agencies charged with protecting the vaquita should focus their resources on saving the last of these animals, rather than continuing to lose in the courtroom,” said Giulia Good Stefani, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Immediate pressure on Mexico to ban all gillnets in the upper gulf and to clear the area of illegal nets is necessary now for the vaquita’s survival.”
The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires the U.S. government to ban seafood imports from foreign fisheries that kill or injure marine mammals, including the vaquita, at a rate above U.S. standards. The rate of vaquita killing by Mexico’s fisheries in the Gulf of California is above U.S. standards, and its efforts to stop this bycatch do not meet U.S. guidelines.
Over the past 20 years, 95% of the vaquita population has been lost. In recent years, the vaquita’s decline has accelerated. Sadly, it is predicted that vaquita will become extinct by 2021 if Mexican fishing practices and law enforcement efforts remain unchanged.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-court-of-appeals-upholds-u-s-ban-on-mexican-seafood-imports-to-help-save-the-remaining-15-vaquita-from-extinction/

Please consider adopting a vaquita or donating to the Porpoise Conservation Society Here! https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-court-of-appeals-upholds-u-s-ban-on-mexican-seafood-imports-to-help-save-the-remaining-15-vaquita-from-extinction/

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Heartbreaking News! 145 Pilot Whales & 4 Pygmy Killer Whales Died After Washing Ashore In New Zealand Over The Weekend – World Animal News

ByLauren Lewis –
November 26, 2018

More than 150 pilot whales were found either dead or dying in numerous separate incidents over the weekend in New Zealand.
A staggering 145 pilot whales from two pods were discovered stranded on a beach in Stewart Island late Saturday evening.
According to the Department of Conservation (DOC), half of the whales had already died by the time they were found, and the remaining ones tragically had to be euthanized.
“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel, and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize,” DOC Rakiura Operations Manager Ren Leppens said in a statement. “However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”
The DOC reportedly responds to an average of 85 marine mammal strandings per year, but they are mostly of single animals, not pods.
Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known, but factors can include: sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather. More than one factor may contribute to a stranding.
A number of strandings occurred on New Zealand shores over the weekend, however these events are unlikely to be related.
“Of the 12 pygmy killer whales which stranded just over 24 hours ago, eight are alive and are being moved from Ninety Mile Beach on the west coast to Rarawa Beach on the east coast,” Project Jonah New Zealand shared on its Facebook page yesterday, explaining that there was a stream in which the whales could survive in overnight.
As per the nonprofit, medics have been mobilized and the re-floating phase of the rescue is scheduled to begin on Tuesday at 6:30am.
Members are needed to assist with this crucial phase of the rescue.
Volunteers should report to the Rarawa Campground upon arrival on Tuesday morning. Those with wetsuits will help with the release of the pygmy killer whales into the water. Volunteers without wetsuits can help care for whales on the beach before the re-float attempt takes place.
All volunteers should bring warm clothing, a sunhat and sunblock and plenty of food and water.
Tragically, the DOC also reported that a sperm whale also beached in Doubtful Bay on Karikari Peninsula in Northland. The male whale, which is thought to have beached around 3:00pm on Friday, sadly died overnight on Saturday. A dead female pygmy sperm whale also washed up at Ohiwa over the weekend.

https://worldanimalnews.com/heartbreaking-news-145-pilot-whales-4-pygmy-killer-whales-died-after-washing-ashore-in-new-zealand-over-the-weekend/

 

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More than 4 dozen sea turtles killed in Cape Cod cold snap

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More than 4 dozen sea turtles killed in Cape Cod cold snap
By The Associated Press Close
1-2 minutes

Animal rescue volunteers say more than four dozen sea turtles have died of exposure after washing ashore in frigid conditions on Cape Cod.

The Cape Cod Times reports that low temperatures and high winds combined to kill most of the 50 turtles that washed up Thursday in Brewster, Orleans and Eastham on the lower part of the peninsula.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary says about 350 sea turtles have come ashore since Oct. 22. They include Kemp’s ridley turtles, green turtles and loggerhead turtles.

Spokeswoman Jenette Kerr says most of the animals being brought to the sanctuary are dead and in some cases literally frozen.

Biologists say the turtles are stunned by the cold water in Cape Cod Bay, which shuts down their metabolisms and renders them unable to move.

https://articles-masslive-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/articles.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/11/more_than_4_dozen_sea_turtles.amp?amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

“Go Inside an Antarctic ‘City’ of 400,000 King Penguins — Ep. 4 | Wildlife: Resurrection Island”

Southern California Man Convicted After Illegally Selling Narwhal Tusks To An Undercover Officer For $30,000 Each – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 17, 2018

Left Photo by CDFW / Right Photo by Paul Nicklen – National Geographic Creative – WWF-Canada
A Los Angeles County jury recently convicted Anthony Buccola of Newport Beach, California, and his business, Antonio’s Bella Casa, on misdemeanor charges of selling narwhal tusks. Buccola and his business were found guilty on August 1st in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Buccola was sentenced to 36 months probation with search terms, 200 hours of community service or 20 days in jail, $5,000.00 fine plus penalty assessment and forfeiture of the narwhal tusks. Antonio Bella Casa, Inc, was sentenced to 36 months probation with search terms, a fine of $5,000.00 plus penalty assessment and forfeiture of the narwhal tusk. The penalty was set pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 2022, which took effect on July 1, 2016.
The investigation began in December 2016, when wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division Trafficking Unit saw two narwhal tusks displayed at the retail antique store. The tusks were 79 and 87 inches long. An officer visited Antonio’s Bella Casa and an employee offered to sell the narwhal tusks for $35,000.00 each. He ultimately agreed to sell the tusks to an undercover officer for $30,000.00 each.
The tusks were seized as evidence and the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Lab conducted additional analysis. Wildlife forensics specialists confirmed the tusks were from narwhal, a small arctic whale.
“We would like to thank the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and specifically their Environmental Justice Unit for their assistance in this investigation and the subsequent prosecution,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Law Enforcement Division Chief in a statement. “The penalties assessed by this court should deter further acts of ivory trafficking and prove California’s commitment to halting the demand for ivory which contributes to poaching of narwhal in their native range.”
“Selling ivory is not only illegal, it’s immoral,” said Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney. “The ivory trade is abominable, with devastating consequences that imperil threatened species like the narwhal. This prosecution and conviction sends the strong message that those who may think of selling ivory tusks will be held accountable. I also want to thank our partners at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for their close partnership on this important issue.”
Assembly Bill 96, authored in 2015 by then Assembly Speaker and current Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), made it unlawful to purchase, sell, offer for sale, possess with intent to sell or import with intent to sell ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified. AB 96 defines ivory as the tooth or tusk from a species of elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, walrus, warthog, whale or narwhal, or a piece thereof, whether raw ivory or worked ivory, and includes a product containing, or advertised as containing, ivory.
A first-time violation of this law is a misdemeanor subject to specified criminal penalties and fines between $1,000.00 and $40,000.00, depending upon the value of the item.

https://worldanimalnews.com/southern-california-man-convicted-after-illegally-selling-narwhal-tusks-to-an-undercover-officer-for-30000-each/

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Breaking! Myanmar Expands Protected Area For 76 Critically Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins Living In The Ayeyawady River – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 16, 2018

Irrawaddy Dolphins in Myanmar. CREDIT: WCS
Working in collaboration with Myanmar’s Department of Fisheries (DoF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced the creation of a new protected area for a population of critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Ayeyawady River of central Myanmar.
Sadly, earlier this year, conservationists counted a total of 76 Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Ayeyawady River between the river towns of Mandalay and Bhamo.
The new 100-kilometer (62 mile) zone will serve as an extension to an existing protected area established in 2005 between the towns of Mingun and Kyauk Myaung in collaboration between DoF and WCS.
“Establishment of the new Ayeyawady Dolphin Protected Area demonstrates the significant commitment of the Myanmar Government to conserve this charismatic species of the Ayeyawady River,” Saw Htun, Deputy Country Program Director, WCS Myanmar Program said in a statement. “WCS will collaborate with all stakeholders on coordinated efforts to save the threatened Irrawaddy dolphins in existing and new protected areas.”
To establish the new protected area, DoF and WCS consulted with over 50 villages along the river. Based on those meetings the protected area status was agreed for a 100 kilometer stretch of the river from Male to Shwegu, with a further 100 kilometers designated as a less restrictive buffer area.
Within the new protected area, use and size of gillnets are restricted to prevent dolphins from getting entangled, sometimes drowning. In addition, other methods like electric fishing and the use of dynamite and gold mining are strictly prohibited along with damage of habitat such as sandbars, grasslands, and vegetation.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-myanmar-expands-protected-area-for-76-critically-endangered-irrawaddy-dolphins-living-in-the-ayeyawady-river/

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California Moves to Ban Fishing Nets Blamed for Killing Numerous SpeciesNow

By Lorraine Chow

Silvertip Sharks (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) caught in gillnet. Jeff Rotman / Oxford Scientific / Getty Images

The California State Assembly unanimously approved a bill on Thursday that phases out the use drift gillnets in the state by January 2023.

The controversial fishing gear, which can stretch a mile long and suspend 100 feet underwater, is used by fishers to target sharks and swordfish, but the nets inadvertently entangle and kill scores of other marine animals, including endangered species.

The Assembly voted 78 to 0 on Senate Bill 1017, sponsored by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). It passed 36 to 1 in the Senate in June. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Sept. 30 to sign it into law.

“So grateful to everyone for their hard work pulling together a strong bipartisan vote in support of protecting marine-life from unnecessary death with SB 1017,” Allen tweeted Thursday.

Gillnet with white perch. NOAA / Chris Doley

Should the bill become law, it would create a buy-back program that offers up to $110,000 to fishers to give up their nets, NBC Bay Area reported.

California fishers said the ban threatens their livelihood and the buyout amount is not enough for them to transition to another type of fishing.

“I don’t know what I’d do,” Mike Flynn, who has used drift gillnets to catch swordfish for the past 40 years, told the publication. “There’s very few of us left, and we don’t seem to have a chance … we’re being villainized, unjustly.”

The news site reported that some 20 fisherman actively use the gear off the California coast, down from 141 active permits at its peak in 1990, according to NOAA.

The bill’s passage comes just months after conservation group Mercy For Animals and the Ban Death Nets coalition released grisly undercover footage showing the harmful impact of driftnet fishing on marine life.

Mercy For Animals celebrated the vote and urged Gov. Brown to join other governments that have outlawed the nets. “California is the last remaining U.S. state to allow driftnets, which have already been phased out off the U.S. East Coast and banned by Oregon and Washington states, the United Nations, and countries around the world,” the group stated on their website.

World Animal Protection released a report highlighting that 640,000 metric tons of fishing nets are lost or discarded in our oceans each year, trapping and killing countless marine mammals, including endangered whales, seals and turtles. Shallow coral reef habitats also suffer further degradation from the gear, which can take up to 600 years to decompose.

Earlier this week, fishermen found roughly 300 dead sea turtles off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. The olive ridley turtles, which Mexico classifies as being at risk of extinction, were entangled in an abandoned illegal fishing net.#turtlesbit.ly/2NzxXF8

Mexico’s office of the federal attorney for environmental protection said the turtles were found in a 393-foot long net that is not approved for fishing, according to the Associated Press.

https://www.ecowatch.com/california-bans-fishing-nets-gillnets-2600792569.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=385f9967e3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-385f9967e3-86074753

Breaking! The Center For Biological Diversity Sued The Trump Administration For Failing To Protect Orcas’ West Coast Habitat – World Animal News

By WAN –
August 17, 2018

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration yesterday for failing to protect the West Coast ocean habitat of the last remaining Southern Resident killer whales. The critically endangered species is down to just 75 orcas, the lowest number in more than 30 years.
According to a statement, The National Marine Fisheries Service failed to act on the Center’s 2014 petition calling for an expansion of habitat protections off Washington, Oregon, and California that could help Southern Resident killer whales. Sadly, they are starving for lack of salmon as well as being hurt by boat traffic and water pollution.
“Time is running out fast for these magnificent, intelligent orcas,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center. “It’s heartbreaking to watch them starving to death and mourning their dead calves. Every day that Trump’s people delay action is a step toward extinction for these whales.”
In 2015, the Fisheries Service decided that expanded habitat protections were needed to safeguard key West Coast foraging and migration areas, but the Trump administration has failed to implement protections, despite broad public support for them.
While spending their summers in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea (areas protected as critical habitat in 2006), these killer whales travel extensively along the West Coast during the winter and early spring, congregating near coastal rivers to rest and feed on migrating salmon.

Map by Curt Bradley / Center for Biological Diversity

The Endangered Species Act prohibits federal agencies from authorizing activities that will destroy or harm a listed species’ critical habitat. Animals with federally protected critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be recovering as species without it, a Center study found.
“Federal law requires protection of endangered species’ habitat. Our basic humanity should lead us to help prevent these beloved orcas from dying out right in front of our eyes,” Kilduff said. “So, now we’re turning to the courts to compel the Trump administration to do the right thing.”

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-center-for-biological-diversity-sued-the-trump-administration-for-failing-to-protect-orcas-west-coast-habitat/

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TAGS Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,Endangered,Killer Whales,Marine Life,
Trump Administration,West Coast

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A Mother’s Cry to Justin Trudeau Please Sign the Petition

greenpeace.org
https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/story/3817/a-mothers-cry-to-justin-trudeau/

by Keith Stewart
It’s been absolutely heartbreaking to watch (and hear).

Photograph: Michael Weiss/Hysazu Photography

For the past nine days a grieving mother orca has carried the body of her dead calf.

The calf was the first in years to be born into the endangered Salish Sea orca population, but it died within just hours. The mother Orca however refused to leave her baby behind and instead carried its body with her. She pushed it by herself for days.

When she started falling behind the rest of the pod — the pod joined her in pushing and supporting the infant’s body.

It’s a truly inspiring and heartbreaking story – watching another species mourning its loss in such a dramatic manner. It speaks to the deep love that a mother has for her child, and the importance of a community especially in a time of grieving.

Unfortunately, while we all try to deal with this immediate loss, the future of the pod is also dire.

This population of orcas is on the edge of extinction. There are only 75 Southern resident orcas left in existence. Another adolescent has already been observed as extremely emaciated and because of dwindling food supplies, and increased marine traffic, the entire population is at risk.

Add to this already bleak situation the pipeline Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just pledged to buy for $4.5 billion – the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX). TMX is a massive new tar sands pipeline that would bring a very toxic substance called bitumen from Alberta, Canada to British Columbia and right through the heart of the whales’ habitat.

Only 75 Southern Resident Orcas remain.

One of the reasons these orcas are struggling to survive is because the Chinook salmon they depend on for food are in decline. Without enough salmon to eat, the orcas are literally starving to death. They’re severely emaciated — observers can even see the ribs of some of the whales.

The TMX pipeline would cross over 1300 streams and rivers on its way to the ocean and would put this key food supply even further at risk.

If it goes ahead, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could also turn the home of the 75 remaining orcas into a tar sands tanker superhighway – bringing over 400 tankers through their critical habitat every year.

The noise from a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic may interfere with the orca’s ability to find what little food there is left to eat. It will put them at greater risk of being struck by a tanker. And a catastrophic oil spill could be the final nail in their coffin (as the Exxon Valdez spill devastated other orca pods).

These whales can’t just move on to another area. Their home is in the Salish Sea. We can’t let it be put at risk.

Justin Trudeau promised to protect these beautiful animals (in fact it’s a Federal responsibility). Buying a pipeline that would further endanger these fragile creatures and virtually ensure their demise isn’t the way to do it.

The whales are crying out for our help. Listen to their cries.

Tell Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to protect the orcas and stop the pipeline bailout.

With hope,

Mike

PETITION:Add you name today at: https://act.gp/2MdSyS3

World’s Largest King Penguin Colony Has Declined By Almost 90 Percent

Scientists haven’t visited the Île aux Cochons, an island in the southern Indian Ocean, since 1982 when it had the distinction of being home to the world’s largest colony of king penguins, and the second largest colony of all penguins.

At the time, there were estimate to be 500,000 breeding pairs, and over two million penguins in total, but since then things have taken a worrying turn and scientists aren’t sure why.

According to a study just published in the journal Antarctic Science, their population has declined since that last visit by almost 90 percent, leaving just 59,200 breeding pairs by 2017.
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To come to that conclusion, researchers from the Chizé Centre for Biological Studies (CNRS/University of La Rochelle) examined three decades worth of high-resolution satellite images and aerial photos taken from a helicopter to measure changes in the in the population’s size.

“It was really a surprise for us,” Henri Weimerskirch, the study’s lead author and a member of the research teams in 1982 and 2016, told the New York Times. “It’s really very depressing.”

While the exact cause of the decline remains a mystery, researchers believe climate change could be playing a role. It’s believed the decline started in the late 1990s, when there was a climactic event in the Southern Ocean related to El Niño, which pushed their food sources farther away.

As the authors note, less food with such a large population could seriously increase competition and cause a fast and rapid drop in numbers. Some other theories they have include disease and parasites, or predation by invasive feral cats and mice, but they don’t think those theories offer a “satisfactory explanation” for such a huge loss of penguins.

Right now, king penguins are listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but this study has raised questions about whether they may be endangered and need to be reevaluated.

A separate study published earlier this year already raised the alarm about whether they’ll be able survive on the Crozet archipelago that contains Île aux Cochons, which are about half way between Africa and Antarctica, in the face of climate change. That study projected that half of the king penguin population, which nests on the Crozet and Prince Edward Islands, would lose their habitat by 2100.

Researchers won’t be able to draw any further conclusions until they can do an actual head count to confirm their conclusion, but that won’t happen until at least next year.

Hopefully they’ll be able to find more answers about what’s happening here, which could also help with our understanding of threats other penguin colonies are facing.

https://www.care2.com/causes/worlds-largest-king-penguin-colony-has-declined-by-almost-90-percent.html

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Breaking! U.S. Court Orders Ban of Imported Seafood Caught With Deadly Gillnets to Save Mexico’s Endangered Vaquita Porpoise From Extinction – World Animal News

By Karen Lane –
July 27, 2018
Photo by Paula Olson / NOAA
Great news was reported yesterday after U.S. Court of International Trade orders the Trump Administration to ban seafood imports from Mexico that are caught with gillnets, in order to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.
Sadly, scientists believe that the vaquita population has dwindled from 567 in 1997 to only 15 remaining in the wild today, which has created an urgency to protect them from going extinct in the wild.
According to Viva Vaquita, an organization that aims to promote awareness and conservation for the endangered propoise, its fate is tied to that of the upper Gulf of California ecosystem and is one of the rarest and most-endangered mammal species in the world.
Mexico has continued to fail to ban all gillnets permanently in the vaquita habitat, despite scientific evidence showing the damage they are causing to the dwindling species.
Unfortunately, gillnets are commonly used by commercial and artisanal fishermen. Gillnets are vertical panels of netting normally set in a straight line that are made of transparent monofilament line, so fish and other animals are unable to see it before becoming entangled.
Often times other larger ocean animals that are not targeted by fisherman become entangled in the netting, including whales, seals, sea turtles, seabirds and sharks, many of which are also threatened or endangered by extinction.
All of this evidence makes it more apparent as to why the ban of these gillnets is so crucial.
Natural Resources Defense Council stated, “A ban on gillnet-caught seafood from Mexico’s Gulf of California is the life line the vaquita desperately needs,” said Giulia Good Stefani, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who argued the case before the Court. “Collectively, our organizations have spent over a decade working to save the vaquita—and never has extinction felt so close—but now, the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise has what may be its very last chance.”
The ruling follows a lawsuit filed in March by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity, and it affirms Congress’ mandate under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act that the United States should protect not just domestic marine mammals, but foreign whales, dolphins and porpoises as well.
Mexico must meet these standards that have recently been implemented, and failure of the Trump Administration to enforce the ban would be a direct violation of a federal judge’s order.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-u-s-court-orders-ban-of-imported-seafood-caught-with-deadly-gillnets-to-save-mexicos-endangered-vaquita-porpoise-from-extinction/

© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

Endangered Sea Turtle Killed by Plastic Beach Chair Shows the Impact of Our Carelessness

onegreenplanet.org
Aleksandra Pajda

A photograph of a critically endangered sea turtle found dead after a tragic incident of entanglement shows with tragic clarity what are the repercussions of lack of respect for natural spaces and their inhabitants. The extremely rare animal – a Kemp’s Ridley turtle – was found during the morning turtle patrol on an Alabama beach with a beach chair string wrapped around the neck.

The heartbreaking picture of the strangled turtle washed up at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was shared by the Fort Morgan Share the Beach group on Facebook. Share the Beach spokeswoman Debbie Harbin pointed out that barnacles were found on the chair, which means that it had been in the water for quite some time, KMOV.com reports. “How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up?” Harbin wondered. “It should just be common decency.”
“This is why we ask people to ‘Leave Only Footprints’, ‘Leave No Trace’, pick up after themselves when they leave the beach,” wrote Matt Ware, research assistant at Florida State University. “Please be responsible when visiting the beach — you are not the only one who uses it.”
The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, or the Atlantic Ridley sea turtle, is the rarest and most endangered existing species of sea turtle. The species nests only along a small stretch of coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, and the many threats that affect their population include habitat loss and degradation, wildlife trade, bycatch, climate change, and pollution. The turtle has been on the endangered species list since 1970.

“Sea turtles are important enough that we will go to whatever lengths we can to protect them,” Richard Brewer, a volunteer with Share the Beach, told WALA-TV. “It’s very heartbreaking to know that it’s something that could have been prevented.” And prevented so easily.

The death of the turtle is another painfully strong reminder that our actions have serious consequences, even if to some it may seem otherwise. Littering and leaving our things behind on beaches and in other natural spaces is not only thoughtless and selfish, but often it very literally endangers the lives of wild animals. The incredibly precious rare sea turtle was found when nothing could be done to save the animal’s life anymore – but, hopefully, the story and the pictures will not leave anyone who sees them indifferent.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/endangered-sea-turtle-killed-beach-chair/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477

To learn about how you can reduce the amount of waste you create every day. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/endangered-sea-turtle-killed-beach-chair/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477 here.

All image source: Matt Ware/Facebook

(ICELAND) Disgraceful & Barbaric: Icelandic whalers appear to have killed an endangered blue whale ‘ before chopping it up to be eaten as a delicacy in Japan: Photos of the massive mammal, which can grow to 3 3 metres long, were posted online by conservation groups claiming it was slain by Kristján Loftsson’s w haling company: The huge carcass was seen being hauled in to port by the Hvalur 8 ship while tied to the sid e of the vessel before being dragged on to the dock on Saturday evening #AceNewsDesk reports

Ace News Services

#AceNewsReport – July.12: Crew members then took turns posing for photo straddling its back, having needed run-ups to clamber on top of the world’s biggest animal, video from the scene showed: Blue whales were almost hunted to extinction last century and there are only 10,000 to 25,000 left alive……………One has not been slaughtered for more than 50 years……………………..Sea Sheperd said it was the 22nd whale killed by Loftsson’s outfit in the past three weeks, the others being endangered fin whales…………’Loftsson ordered his crew to butcher the whale just like it was another Fin whale,’ the anti-whaling group claimed……………….’The meat, skin, blubber and bone all now mixed in with the fin whales previously caught, which will make it difficult or impossible to locate during potential inspections by the authorities.’ #AceNewsDesk reports

Blue whales were almost hunted to extinction last century and there are only 10,000 to 25,000 left alive. One has not been slaughtered for more than 50 years

Blue whales were almost hunted to extinction last century and there are only 10,000 to 25,000 left alive. One has…

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Autopsy Reveals The Death Of A Green Sea Turtle Was Due To Plastic

seavoicenews.com
all posts by Alex Larson →

Photo: Department of Marine and Coastal Resources via ReReef

Last week we learned that news that a whale had died due to eating 80 plastic bags and now there is another example of the devastating impact plastic is having on the oceans.

Thailand’s marine officials announced in a report that a green sea turtle was found dead due to plastic that had filled the reptiles stomach.

The turtle was found washed ashore near Chonburi’s Lamchabang Port still living but two days later it died even after receiving medical attention.

Photo: Department of Marine and Coastal Resources via ReReef

The autopsy revealed that was filled with items such as rubber bands, nylon rope, plastic bags and loose pieces of fishing gear. The department’s veterinarian team concluded that the sea creature suffered from a resultant loss of appetite and low levels of protein in its bloodstream, leading to cysts that ultimately resulted in heart failure.

Countries across the world are making a effort to reduce pollution by taking pivotal steps to clean up the environment. One of the many encouraging examples of this over the last year, is India who recently made the decision to ban all single-use plastic by 2022.

Unfortunately for the ocean and the marine life, we have gone way too long looking the other way from the problems we have created and we are now facing the reality where we are finding marine animals regularly dying due to what we have done to our planet.

You can start making a change immediately by saying no to single-use items, reducing plastic usage, and spreading the message of the negative impact single-use plastics have on the world’s oceans.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/06/12/autopsy-reveals-the-death-of-a-green-sea-turtle-was-due-to-plastic/

Costa Rica Makes Santa Elena Bay a Mrine Protected Area

SantaElenaBay

Thanks to the effort of neighbors of the areas of Cuajiniquil, El Jobo and Puerto Soley in La Cruz, Guanacaste, the 732.1 hectares that make up Santa Elena Bay are now a Marine Protected Area. The objective of establishing this zone as a Marine Management Area is to reserve it for particular purposes, among them the conservation of marine life, the promotion of recreation and tourism and the sustainable use of its resources, particularly fishing resources. Santa Elena Bay receives several marine species with reproductive purposes, among them, dolphins, whales, turtles and other pelagic species like the whale shark, which…

Source: Costa Rica Makes Santa Elena Bay a Marine Protected Area

Whales are starving – their stomachs full of our plastic waste | Philip Hoare | Opinion

theguardian.com
Whales are starving – their stomachs full of our plastic waste | Philip Hoare | Opinion
Philip Hoare

In January, 29,2016 sperm whales stranded on shores around the North Sea. The results of the necropsies (the animal equivalent of autopsies) of 13 of those whales, which beached in Germany, near the town of Tönning in Schleswig-Holstein, have just been released. The animals’ stomachs were filled with plastic debris. A 13-metre-long fishing net, a 70cm piece of plastic from a car and other pieces of plastic litter had been inadvertently ingested by the animals, who may have thought they were food, such as squid, their main diet, which they consume by sucking their prey into their mouths.

Robert Habeck, environment minister for the state of Schleswig-Holstein, said: “These findings show us the results of our plastic-oriented society. Animals inadvertently consume plastic and plastic waste, which causes them to suffer, and at worst, causes them to starve with full stomachs.” Nicola Hodgins, of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, added: “Although the large pieces will cause obvious problems and block the gut, we shouldn’t dismiss the smaller bits that could cause a more chronic problem for all species of cetacean – not just those who suction feed.”

The notion of these vast, sentient and placid creatures being stuffed with our trash is emblematic enough of the unequal relationship between man and sperm whale. The fact that the latter possess the largest brains of any animal that has ever lived only underlies this disconnection.

Our use and abuse of animals seems in inverse proportion to the almost ritual reverence in which we purport to hold them

Sadly, to anyone who follows the ongoing story of our impact on cetaceans, the terrible predicament of German whales is not new – although the scale of last January’s strandings is. In 2011, a young sperm whale was found floating dead off the Greek island of Mykonos. Its stomach was so distended that scientists believed that the animal might have swallowed a giant squid. But when they dissected its four stomachs (sperm whales, although predators, have digestive processes similar to ruminants), they found almost 100 plastic bags and other pieces of debris. One bag had the telephone number of a souvlaki restaurant in Thessaloniki. The scientists joked, grimly, that the whale could not call up to complain about the damage caused by their product.

The scale of the fate of the North Sea whales calls to mind the nesting albatrosses of Midway Island, so poignantly recorded by photographer Chris Jordan. He documented the skeletal remains of young chicks, so bloated with the plastic they had been mistakenly fed by their parents – from beer can loops and bottle tops to cigarette lighters – that they had starved from lack of nutrition.

Our use and abuse of animals seems in inverse proportion to the almost ritual reverence in which we purport to hold them. Whales have become the marine icon of ecological threat. We pay obeisance to their grandeur. But sometimes I wonder if it isn’t all an illusion. We congratulate ourselves for having stopped hunting them (well, most of them). Yet many thousands of cetaceans are compromised or killed by the pollution we allow to escape into the ocean. We cannot make the direct connection between the plastic bottles of water and what they are doing to the ultimate source of their supply. Whales are still victims of our industrialisation, our insatiable thirst for growth at the expense of all else – if in not such a direct way as they were in the past.

Recently, visiting the secret storage unit where London’s Natural History Museum stows the thousands of specimens that they are unable – or reluctant – to display in the museum, the curator of vertebrates, Richard Sabin, showed me a nondescript cardboard box in a corner. He suggested I look inside. When I opened it, I found block after block of solid, pure, spermaceti wax, the solidified oil from the sperm whale’s head.

Whales, in boxes – that’s how we saw them. It was for this substance that American and British whaleships travelled to the South Seas. This stuff that, when liquid, lit the streets of London, New York, Berlin and Paris. It made candles and makeup; lubricated the machines of the industrial revolution. So fine is spermaceti oil that Nasa used it in their space mission, as it does not freeze in outer space.

It is the materiality of the whale that haunts me. What it has provided, albeit unwittingly, to allow us to furnish and light our own lives. Even sperm whale excretions – in the form of ambergris – are the most valuable natural substances known to us, still used as a fixative in high-fashion perfumes. Set that usage against what we now know to be cultural animals, deeply bound by family ties. Of course, it is what makes us most alike that ultimately touches us – and which may be the saving of us both. I told Meera Syal, when we met at Radio 4 the other day, that whale society is entirely matriarchal, and in some species, male whales stay with their mothers all their lives. “Ah,” she said, “they’re Indian whales.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/30/plastic-debris-killing-sperm-whales

Breaking! Rare Taiwanese Humpback Dolphins Are Now Protected Under The U.S. Endangered Species Act – World Animal News

Breaking News! Rare Taiwanese Humpback Dolphins Are Now Protected Under The U.S. Endangered Species Act
By WAN – May 9, 2018

Photo by Claryana Araújo, CetAsia Research Group.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has protected rare Taiwanese humpback dolphins, listing the species as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.
The decision comes in response to a March 2016 petition from the Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and WildEarth Guardians seeking U.S. protections to help prevent the extinction of a population that now numbers fewer than 100 individuals.
“These rare dolphins deserve every possible chance to escape extinction, and we are thrilled that the National Marine Fisheries Service has stepped up and given them the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” said Taylor Jones, endangered species advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “A myriad of dolphin species are at risk due to human activities, and we owe these intelligent creatures the best protections we can give them.”
Taiwanese humpback dolphins are threatened by gillnet fishing, pollution, boat traffic, and development along Taiwan’s densely populated west coast, including the proposed construction of large wind farms. An endangered listing will enable the United States to provide technical expertise and resources to support Taiwan in conserving the rare dolphin.
“This is good news that will help these rare dolphins avoid extinction. International cooperation is the key to saving certain critically endangered species,” Abel Valdivia, an ocean scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity also said in a statement. “Now that U.S. officials have made the right call on this listing, they should immediately start working with Taiwan on a recovery plan. The Endangered Species Act is a powerful tool that can still save the Taiwanese humpback dolphin and other small cetaceans struggling to survive.”
The Taiwanese humpback dolphin, also known as the Taiwanese white dolphin, is a biologically and culturally important subspecies of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. In 2014 the service denied a previous petition to protect the Taiwanese humpback dolphin, concluding that the population was not distinct from the Chinese white dolphin, which swims in deeper waters closer to China’s coastline. New taxonomy studies, however, conclude that the Taiwanese humpback dolphin is a distinct subspecies with unique characteristics, whose numbers continue to decline to alarmingly low levels.
“This is a major victory for the Taiwanese dolphin,” said Tara Zuardo, Animal Welfare Institute senior wildlife attorney. “The Endangered Species Act will help enable the United States to provide the resources needed to help protect and conserve this imperiled population. We are grateful that the National Marine Fisheries Service recognized the need to take immediate action.”
An estimated 50% to 80% of all life on Earth is found in the oceans. More than half of marine species may be at risk of extinction by 2100 without significant conservation efforts. Despite this grave situation, the United States largely fails to protect marine species under the Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered Species Act is an effective safety net for imperiled species: It has prevented extinction for more than 90 percent of plants and animals under its care. Scientists estimate that 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006 if not for the Act’s protections. Protecting species with global distributions can help focus U.S. resources toward enforcement of international regulations and recovery of the species.

http://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-rare-taiwanese-humpback-dolphins-are-now-protected-under-the-u-s-endangered-species-act/

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TAGS:Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,Animal Welfare Organizations,
Dolphins,Endangered Species Act

© Copyright 2016 – WorldAnimalNews.com

Justice Must Be Served After Man Heartlessly Carries Stranded Dolphin Off Of A Beach In South China – World Animal News

Justice Must Be Served After Man Heartlessly Carries Stranded Dolphin Off Of A Beach In South China
By WAN – May 4, 2018

Police are looking for a man who was filmed callously carrying a stranded dolphin off of a beach in southern China.
The horrifying footage, taken at popular tourist destination Hailing Island in Guangdong province, was reportedly filmed during China’s three-day labor holiday on May 1st.
According to Channel News Asia, the man picked up the dolphin, which appeared to be lifeless, and swung it over his shoulder before driving away with it in a car.
As per China’s Law of Wildlife Protection, dolphins are one of the species that citizens are not allowed to hunt, kill, sell, or keep, even if the mammals are found dead.
“Dolphins are protected animals in China,” an official stated after the local fisheries bureau launched an investigation. “Whether it is dead or alive, it is wrong to take it away. He should have called the authorities to deal with the matter.”
“Is he going to boil the dolphin,” questioned one person, “This is simply disgusting.”
Local officials have confirmed that the man could face criminal charges for his action.
Could? He absolutely Should!
WAN will continue to update this story as it develops.

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http://worldanimalnews.com/justice-must-be-served-after-man-heartlessly-carries-stranded-dolphin-off-of-a-beach-in-south-china/

© Copyright 2016 – WorldAnimalNews.com

When will sardines return? Not any time soon say scientists

By Annie Roth, newsroom@montereyherald.com

Neil Guglielmo, a 76-year-old commercial fisherman, says he doubts the sardine stock will bounce back in his lifetime. (Annie Roth — Herald Correspondent)
Neil Guglielmo, a 76-year-old commercial fisherman, says he doubts the sardine stock will bounce back in his lifetime. (Annie Roth — Herald Correspondent)

Monterey >> Less than 30 years after the Pacific sardine population was deemed “recovered,” the stock has once again fallen into a severe slump according to stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Scientists estimate the West Coast population of Pacific sardines has declined by 95 percent since 2006. Although sardine populations naturally fluctuate in response to shifting climatic conditions, overharvesting is believed to have accelerated the stock’s collapse. Although no one knows exactly how long it will take for the sardine supply to replenish, many scientists are certain it won’t be anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the stock didn’t come back for 20 years.” said Dr. Geoff Shester, California program director and senior scientist at Oceana, the world’s largest ocean conservation non-profit.

In 2012, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service warned that another collapse was imminent — but this warning went largely unheeded. When this warning was issued, sardine biomass was still above the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing. The Pacific Fishery Management Council — whose members include fishermen, industry stakeholders, and federal and state officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service — said there wasn’t enough evidence of decline to justify a moratorium on commercial sardine fishing.

Sardine fishing continued until 2015, when the stock fell below the commercial cutoff and the directed fishery was closed. Shester believes the council’s failure to take precautionary measures made a bad situation worse.

“Because the population was already declining, and fishing made it worse, the stock is going to have a lot more trouble recovering than it would have had had we stopped fishing earlier,” said Shester.

Pacific sardines were on the rise during the early 2000s, but in 2006 the population took an unexpected downturn. Estimates suggest the Pacific sardine population decreased from 1.8 million tons to 86,000 tons between 2006 and 2017. The latest assessment puts the size of the Pacific sardine stock at a mere 52,065 tons, a fraction of the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing.

“Ultimately, a trade off was made to fish in the short term, and that’s now having this detrimental consequence that may last for decades,” said Shester.

Sardines are an important food source for several marine species including sea lions, salmon, brown pelicans, dolphins, and whales, and in California — whose coastal waters boast relatively large numbers of Pacific sardines — the fallout of their decline continues to be evident from shore.

Starving California sea lion pups have been washing up on beaches by the thousands since 2012, most suffering from malnutrition. According to a press release issued by the Marine Mammal Center in 2013, “The sardine and anchovy fish numbers were extremely low in 2012, and it appears this resulted in female adult sea lions having a difficult time providing enough nourishment to their pups.” Scientists estimate that 70 percent of California sea lion pups born between 2013 and 2014 died before weaning age due to a lack of nutrient rich food.

Even though the commercial sardine fishery is closed, you might still see sardines on the menu. The Pacific Fishery Management Council allows a few thousand tons to be harvested by fishermen who catch them incidentally or intend to sell them as live bait. In April, the council set an incidental catch limit of 7,000 tons for the 2018 fishing season.

Shester says this year’s incidental catch quota is “irresponsibly high” and considers the council’s decision to continue allowing a limited harvest a step in the wrong direction.

“There is no level of sustainable fishing on a stock that’s collapsing,” said Shester.

Fishermen rarely meet incidental catch quotas simply because it is very difficult to catch sardines by accident. In order to commercially land sardines caught incidentally, they have to make up less than 40 percent of your catch. Because sardines rarely form schools with other marketable species, achieving this ratio can be challenging.

If Pacific sardine biomass falls below 50,000 tons, fishery managers are required to close the live bait fishery and implement a moratorium on incidental harvest. In 2018, the estimated sardine stock was only 2,000 tons over this threshold. If current trends continue, it’s unlikely the stock will make this cutoff next year — but many fishermen have high hopes that it will.

In a press release issued earlier this month, Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, said “fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less, especially in nearshore waters.”

Not only does Pleschner-Steele reject the notion that overfishing played a role in the decline of the sardine stock, she calls the stock’s collapse “fake news.”

“Oceana claims that overfishing is the cause of the sardine fishery decline, but the absolute opposite is true: fishing is a non-issue and more importantly, the sardine stock is not declining.”

Pleschner-Steele believes the way the National Marine Fishery Service conducts its sardine stock assessments is fundamentally flawed and urges members of her organization to disregard them.

“This [latest] stock assessment was an update that was not allowed to include any new methods and was based primarily on a single acoustic survey that reached only as far south as Morro Bay and totally missed the nearshore coastwide,” said Pleschner-Steele.

The National Marine Fishery Service has acknowledged its inability to survey nearshore areas, but the agency doesn’t believe the lack of this data has compromised the accuracy of its assessments.

“We’re likely missing some sardines but maybe not at a huge portion,” said Josh Lindsay, a fishery policy analyst from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“There is a broad understanding from the agency that we are not sampling the entire population, and a lot of that uncertainty gets built into our stock assessment model,” said Lindsay

For the last several years, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service have been developing new ways to improve the accuracy of the agency’s stock assessments. The agency recently announced plans to use solar powered autonomous drones, also known as saildrones, to survey waters that their ships can’t reach.

Pleschner-Steele hopes surveys of nearshore areas will prove her theory that the stock is increasing, but not all fishers share her optimism. Neil Guglielmo, a commercial fisherman and member of the California Wetfish Producers Association, fears the stock won’t bounce back in his lifetime. The commercial purse-seiner says he began to suspect the stock was crashing seven years ago, because sardines were becoming increasingly difficult to catch.

“When there’s a lot of fish around, they’re easy to catch,” said Guglielmo.

Guglielmo, who has been catching sardines, anchovies and squid off the California coast for more than 40 years, shares Pleschner-Steele’s view that the latest stock assessment underestimated the true size of the stock, but unlike Pleschner-Steele, Guglielmo doesn’t think the sardine population is bouncing back.

“I’m 76 years old. Unless something drastic happens, I don’t think I’ll ever fish sardines again,” said Guglielmo.

http://www.montereyherald.com/environment-and-nature/20180506/when-will-sardines-return-not-any-time-soon-say-scientists

What to Expect From North America’s First Dolphin Sanctuary

azula.com
What to Expect From North America’s First Dolphin Sanctuary
Martha Sorren
4-5 minutes

As more people come around to the idea that cetaceans are animals that deserve freedom and not to be stuffed into tanks for entertainment purposes, a real shift is occurring.
Soon, North America will see its first-ever dolphin sanctuary built — designed to rehabilitate aquarium dolphins in their natural habitat.

According to the Associated Press, the National Aquarium has begun a three-year program designed to get its seven dolphins ready for release into this sanctuary. Fortunately, they just received a major boost from tour company Virgin Holidays, which pledged $300,000 to make this sanctuary a reality.

The AP reported that the years-in-the-making project is in the early stages of shopping potential locations in Florida and, in the meantime, is painstakingly readying the dolphins for the habitat transition.

For example, the aquarium is raising the temperatures of the dolphins’ tanks so that algae will grow and start to emulate the real waters to which they’ll be relocated.

This donation by Virgin Holidays fits right in line with the company’s stance.
Virgin Group, founded by philanthropist Richard Branson, has long been interested in cetacean issues.

TV3, which is owned by Virgin Media, reported that in 2014 the company pledged to stop working with agencies that took captive cetaceans from the wild. In 2017, they ceased to work with hotels and entertainment attractions that housed captive dolphins and whales.

They also teamed up with the World Cetacean Alliance to forge new whale-watching rules that better respect the animals in their natural habitat.
In pledging money to help create a marine sanctuary for these dolphins, Virgin Holidays is propelling the company’s pro-cetacean policies forward to effect change.

The Independent reported that Virgin Holidays’ managing director, Joe Thompson, is hoping to re-shape how people interact with these wild ocean animals. He said the company aims to steer its clientele away from using animals in “theatrical shows” and places an emphasis on tourism that promotes animal welfare.

So helping build a sanctuary would allow tourists to view dolphins as they rehabilitate, rather than perform. Virgin Holidays hopes to have guests witness these animals beginning in 2020, according to the Independent.

But while tourism factors into Virgin Holidays’ hopes for the sanctuary, John Racanelli, CEO and president of the National Aquarium, told the Independent that the aquarium is thinking only about the dolphins at this point. “It’s the driving force behind the why, how and what’s next for this project,” he said.
“Put simply, we place the welfare of the dolphins above all else — science, the public, donors, whatever.”

Plans for the sanctuary are still in development, but TV3 reported that the $10 million to $15 million project is aiming for a site that is 100 times the size of the dolphins’ current tank — putting it at a cool 100 million gallons of water that will allow the dolphins to dive and swim freely.
Per the Independent, the sanctuary will also feature tides, temperature changes and other fish and plants that are native to the dolphins’ natural environment.

It’s a massive undertaking, and it’s not the only one in the works. According to Mother Nature Network, in 2016, a nonprofit called the Whale Sanctuary Project pledged to create a cold-water sanctuary for orcas and beluga whales to be retired to.
As of early 2018, that three- to five-year plan was still in the works.

These sanctuaries would be the first of their kind in North America and would drastically change the options for entertainment facilities’ captive cetaceans.

The tides have long been changing on how humans view sea animals in captivity, so it’s great that the industry is catching up with the times. Hopefully this all goes according to plan, and all seven dolphins can begin to get their lives back in just two short years with the hope of many more joining them in the future.
It’s the very least these magnificent animals deserve.

https://www.azula.com/dolphin-sanctuary-2562469814.amp.html?__twitter_impression=true

Giphy

Senators Call for Study on the Critically Endangered Right Whale

markey.senate.gov
Senators Call for Study on the Critically Endangered Right Whale
Thursday, April 26, 2018
2-3 minutes

Washington (April 26, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sent a letter this week with 11 of his Senate colleagues requesting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conduct an urgent assessment of the impacts to the North Atlantic right whale from fisheries in Canada. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NOAA Fisheries conducts studies that inform whether the Department of Commerce will take action against foreign fisheries that do not protect marine mammals. Over the past decades, fishing communities across New England have taken steps to reduce impacts on marine mammals. Unfortunately, last year the significant majority of observed right whale deaths were in Canadian waters. This year, Canada’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries did announce new steps to address the right whale crisis. However, NOAA has not yet assessed if those efforts will be sufficient under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“Now is the right time to do the right thing for the North Atlantic right whale,” write the Senators in their letter to NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Timothy Gaulludet. “We need a rapid but sound assessment that can direct any next steps that will need to be taken to save this critically endangered mammal.”

A copy of the letter can be found here. https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senators-call-for-study-on-the-critically-endangered-right-whale.

Also signing the letter are Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

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https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senators-call-for-study-on-the-critically-endangered-right-whale

North Atlantic right whales may face extinction after no new births recorded | Environment

A right whale feeding just below the surface of Cape Cod Bay offshore from Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  Photograph Right Whale Research /AP

By Joanna Walters @Jonnawalters13

Mon 26 Feb 201816:04EST

The dwindling North Atlantic right whale population is on track to finish its breeding season without any new births, prompting experts to warn again that without human intervention, the species will face extinction.

Scientists observing the whale community off the US east coast have not recorded a single mother-calf pair this winter. Last year saw a record number of deaths in the population. Threats to the whales include entanglement in lobster fishing ropes and an increasing struggle to find food in abnormally warm waters.

The combination of rising mortality and declining fertility is now seen as potentially catastrophic. There are estimated to be as few as 430 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, including just 100 potential mothers.

“At the rate we are killing them off, this 100 females will be gone in 20 years,” said Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Without action, he warned, North Atlantic right whales will be functionally extinct by 2040.

A 10-year-old female was found dead off the Virginia coast in January, entangled in fishing gear, in the first recorded death of 2018. That followed a record 18 premature deaths in 2017, Baumgartner said.

Woods Hole and other groups, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have been tracing right whale numbers in earnest since the mid-1980s.

Federal research suggests 82% of premature deaths are caused by entanglement in fishing line. The prime culprit is the New England lobster industry. Crab fishing in Canadian waters is another cause of such deaths.

A lobster fisherman in Maine. Right whales can become entangled and ropes used for fishing. Photograph: Daniel Grill/Tetra images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Baumgartner said that until about seven years ago, the population of North Atlantic right whales was healthy. But then lobster fishermen began greatly increasing the strength of ropes used to attach lobster pots to marker buoys.

Whales becoming entangled are now far less able to break free, Baumgartner said. Some are killed outright, others cannot swim properly, causing them to starve or to lose so much blubber that females become infertile.

“Lobster and crab fishing and whales are able to comfortably co-exist,” Baumgartner said. “We are trying to propose solutions, it’s urgent.”

Baumgartner said the US government should intervene to regulate fishing gear. He also said the industry should explore technology enabling fishermen to track and gather lobster pots without using roped buoys.

The whales migrate seasonally between New England and Florida, calving off Florida and Georgia from November to February. They primarily feed on phytoplankton. Scientists believe rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, linked to climate change, is drastically depleting that food source.

Past measures to prevent ship collisions and to safeguard feeding areas have helped. Several environmental groups have sued the federal government, demanding greater protection for right whales.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/26/north-atlantic-right-whale-extinction-no-births-fishing