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This is a very cool project!

 

 

The people at St Andrews in Scotland, they have tagged 25 pilot and killer whales in various locations and recorded their calls. They are now asking volunteers to match up the vocalisations, to help them better understand their communication. 'Citizen Scientists' from around the world are being asked to listen to and classify the various calls.

 

The increasing size of current acoustic datasets and the large call repertoire make it very difficult for scientists to address these questions. A single person would take months to go through the data, and the outcome would still depend on a single persons’ interpretation.

 

For this reason we want to ask you to help us solve this problem, by categorizing the calls of killer whales pilot whales that you find on this website. The dataset generated by this project will allow us to address interesting questions, such as:

 

  • How well do different judgements of volunteers agree, and how well can we categorize calls of vocal species such as pilot whales?
  • How large is the call repertoire of pilot whales? (is size repertoire sign of intelligence?)
    • Do the long and short finned pilot whales have different call repertoires (or ‘dialects’?).
    • Does this repertoire change during sonar transmissions? if so, how does this related to changes in behavior of the individuals and the group as a whole?

     

     

    Go to http://whale.fm/ to take part!

     

    Write up from the BBC as well: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-15929295

     

     

    Right I'm off to match up a few more calls before lunch! (hope my boss isn't reading this!)

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    I think New Zealand must see the most strandings of pilot whales (pure guess work, not based on data) and sadly there has been another one. 31 confirmed dead so far, this on the back of 22 sperm whales stranding in Tasmania.

     

    THIRTY-one pilot whales were confirmed dead today as the lives of 34 others hung in the balance after a mass stranding on a peninsula at the north of New Zealand's South Island.


    The remote location of the stranding meant rescuers were unable to help the marine mammals and their survival will depend on the tide, the Department of Conservation's area manager John Mason told the Nelson Mail.

     

     



    Not much info so far but read more here: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/dozens-of-whales-dead-after-mass-stranding-in-new-zealand/story-e6frfku0-1226195572623#ixzz1dt0QiU9Z

     

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    We often get reports of 'shot' animals here but it has, so far, never proved to be the case. Scavenger damage can produced perfectly round holes that do look a lot like bullet wounds. In this case however it sadly looks like the animal was in fact shot, as a bullet has been recovered from the jaw.

     

    Very sad story.

     

    The nearly 11-foot-long short-finned pilot whale, which was near death, weighed about 740 pounds but should have tipped the scales at more than 1,000 pounds. It died shortly after police responded, but it wasn’t until a necropsy was performed that the cause of death was revealed.

     

    Someone had shot the whale.

     

    The wound near its blow hole had closed and faded somewhat, indicating the animal had been wounded as long as a month ago, said Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. The bullet lodged in the whale’s jaw, causing an infection that left it unable to eat.

     

    shotwhale.jpg

     

     

     

    Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/officials-search-for-person-who-shot-whale-that-washed-ashore-in-new-jersey/2011/10/04/gIQAuFkiKL_story.html

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    Very sad news filtering through, I'm actully on holiday at the moment so I'm not to sure of our level of involvment in this but I'd suspect the Scottish arm of CSIP will be involved in at least the post-mortems. Amazing work from British Divers again, such a fantastic charity, if you are moved by the story make a donation!

     

    Rescuers returned 44 pilot whales to open water yesterday after a mass stranding in the estuary of a sea loch in the Scottish Highlands. Twenty-five whales from the pod died at the Kyle of Durness when they beached at low tide.


    Attempts to refloat the whales began on Friday night. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) medics, the coastguard and the Royal Navy managed to rotate whales that were upside down to prevent them from drowning when the tide came in.

     

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jul/24/rescuers-race-to-save-whales


     

    Stranded-pilot-whales-in--007.jpg

     

    UPDATE 27/07/12: Just spoke to one of the CSIP vets who has just got back from Scotland. Details still need to be cleared up and confirmed, but latest numbers are, 40(ish) animals stranded and rescued, 25 died and 16 were pm'd.  I'll add more information as I get it.