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In this post  Fin whale in Co Sligo Ireland I mentioned that a dolphin had been discovered in a salt walter lake in Ireland, sadly according to the IWDG's website, it looks like the animal didn't find it's way back to sea after all.

 

IWDG have received a report from local whale watch expert, Colin Barnes, that he has just seen a dead dolphin washed up on the island on Lough Hyne this morning 1/12/11. He described it as a medium sized animal, and can confirm that it is a common dolphin.

 

This sighting brings to a close the mystery as to whether this animal succeeded in returning to open ocean. Alas, this outcome was predictable, and is yet another reminder that cetaceans are at high risk when they venture out of their "normal" habitats. Lough Hyne can now claim another first, as it can now add to its first cetacean sighting, its first cetacean stranding; albeit of the same individual.

 

Thanks to everyone on IWDG's facebook page who took a big interest in this story.

 

Source: http://iwdg.ie/article.asp?id=2507

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A few weeks ago I put up a post about the unprecedented numbers of bottlenose dolphins stranding off the Gulf Coast Dead dolphins still a concern on Gulf Coast

 

Further to this story, a live animal has been found, this will give the researchers a good chance to study the animal and hopefully see if they can untangle whats going on. Fingers crossed 'Chance' as the locals have named it, survives!

 

Four more dolphins washed up on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico this week. For coastal residents from Louisiana to Florida, the beached animals are a familair sight: hundreds of decomposing dolphin carcasses have turned up over the last two years.

 

But last week, Alabama residents came across a stranded dolphin that was still alive, though badly injured.

 

Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss., where the rescued dolphin is being cared for and studied, said the discovery presented the institute’s first opportunity in two years to examine a live dolphin that was ill.

 

The researchers hope that studying the dolphin will yield clues to the principal cause of the die-off. “People in Alabama call it Chance,” Dr. Solangi said of the survivor

 

 

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Source: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/among-hundreds-of-dead-an-intriguing-survivor/

 

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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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    13m Fin whale washed up in Raughley, north Co Sligo yesterday. It's been a busy week for Ireland cetacean wise, with the first confirmed sighting of a dolphin in a lake. A common dolphin was spotted in a saltwater lake in Co Cork. It was seen for 2 days but has since moved on, assumed to have gone back to sea.

     

    Whale story


    The carcass of a whale yesterday lay strewn on a beach after it had been battered against nearby rocks.


    It was swept on to the rocks on Monday night in gale-force winds.


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    Dolphin in Lake

     

    THE IRISH Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has confirmed the first sighting of a dolphin in an Irish lake, in Lough Hyne near Baltimore, Co Cork. This is the first time a cetacean has been found in such an environment.

     

    The group’s sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley said: “The IWDG frequently documents cetaceans in bays, occasionally in estuaries, rarely in rivers, but to the best of my knowledge, and I’m open to correction, this is the first validated record of a cetacean using an Irish lake.”

     

    Whale story: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/carcass-of-13m-whale-beached-by-gales-2949431.html

     

    Lake story: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1130/1224308334281.html

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    I try to steer clear of political cetacean issues, I'm making no comment on this story but I think it's important to post the link.

     

    It's not very nice I'm afraid: http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/23/8973679-sea-turned-red-with-blood-as-faroe-islanders-hunt-pilot-whales

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    It's been a busy week for pick ups, CSIP's head honcho Rob did a gallant round trip to Devon to pick up 2 animals and whilst on the road I got a call about a 3rd on Hayling Island beach. With a squeal of the brakes and a quick turn around Rob was able to squeeze the third animal in the back of his car.

     

    There was then a 'mass' stranding in Kent, nr Folkstone. I say 'mass' as it was 2 animals, probably not quite what you'd term as mass but scientific history states 2 or more animals to be recorded as 'mass'. Unable to get anyone to check the animals were still there and not being too far away myself, I headed there on the Monday morning. I had a fun time scouting what is possibly one of the larges beaches I've ever seen for 2 not very large harbour porpoises. With the help of a very lovely couple (sorry I didn't get your names) we managed to track down the animals and secure them for pick up by James (who was on his way from the museum).

     

    Unfortunately I've been unable to put up PM results so far as they all have to go to Defra first, but after talking to head honcho Rob he said we may be able to put up some basic results a bit sooner, fingers crossed!

     

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    Photo of one of the 'mass' strandings from New Romney, photo by Susanna Clerici

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    A baby bottlenose dolphin gets untangled from a fishing line in the USA.

     

    The baby dolphin would've eventually died, had a determined team of marine biologists and veterinarians not set off on this amazing rescue.

     

    "We were able to go right out and set the net around the animal, capture it, and the vets were able to disentangle it," said NOAA Biologist Jessica Powell.

     

    Several feet of tangled fishing line was digging deep into the calf, through its mouth, around his flipper, and dorsal fin. It could've been a slow and painful death.

     

     

     

    Source and video: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/local/pinellas/dolphin-calf-rescued-near-john's-pass-11162011

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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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    This is great news, these animals have the heavy burden of being in the most endangered mammals group.

     

    Bangladesh is declaring three areas in the southern Sundarbans mangrove forest as dolphin sanctuaries to protect freshwater dolphins, officials say.

     

    "We have decided to declare Dhangmari, Chandpai and Dudhmukhi areas of eastern Sundarbans as dolphin sanctuaries so that these mammals can survive in a safe environment," Tapan Kumar Dey, a senior wildlife conservation official, told the BBC.

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    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-15517214

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    Good Halloween title for you there!

     

    Apart from recording stranded cetaceans, we are also linked to various research project. One is run by Dr Adrian Glover here at the museum and in simple terms he studies what lives off whale bone that has sunk to the bottom of the sea.

     

     

    Bone-eating ‘zombie’ worms may be good at keeping out of sight, living off dead whales in the darkness of the sea floor, but scientists have found out how to detect them, even if there’s no trace of their bodies or a few million years have gone by!

     

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    There is an interesting artical about it on the front page but here is a link  http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2011/october/bone-eating-zombie-worms-can-no-longer-hide105243.html

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    We've had quite a few reports in recently and I'd like to thank everyone that has reported to us. Even if the animal is just a bag of bones and blubber (it happens more then you'd think), we still want to hear about it!

     

    Notably I'd like to thank the Reciever of Wreck and London coastguards who have helped us today with the pick up of a harbour porpoise, in Chiswick London.

     

    Sadly a common dolphin at Shaldon beach, South Devon had to be disposed of as we couldn't organise a driver for it to be picked up (people are always busy during the school holidays), but a massive thanks to Sarah and Paul for all your help and I'm sorry we couldn't make it work.

     

    Lastly a massive thanks to Dave and the owners of Woolacombe beach (nice work if you can get it), who helped us pick up a young common dolphin from North Devon a few weeks ago.

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    Large numbers of strandings, mainly bottlenose dolphins, has been happening on the Gulf Coast.

     

    There has been some press speculation that it is linked to the recent oil spill however its worth noting that numbers were up before the spill happened. It's unlikely that the spill has helped and it looks like the oil may have decreased dolphin immunity, increasing their susceptibility of brucella, but it's not the only/main problem in this situation.

     

    Sorry I'm going to link to 2 stories, the first one has some excellent graphs and maps to get a clear picture of whats going on:

     

     

    graph_bottlenose_strandings.jpg

     

    Source: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/10/whale-dolphin-deaths-gulf-twice-normal

     

    This second one has a good write up..

     

    The strandings peaked this year in March, with 72 reported from Florida to the Texas-Louisiana border. Sixty-seven of those were bottlenose dolphins. Since August, 52 more strandings have been reported, including nine this month.

     

    More than 45,000 dolphins are estimated to call the Gulf home, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

     

    And while many speculate that the deaths may be linked to the Gulf oil spill, scientists say the phenomenon started months before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and began pouring oil into the Gulf.

     

    “We were already consulting with the mortality group (to open up an investigation) when the oil spill occurred. And the number has never gone back down,” Fougères said.

     

    Source: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20111024/ARTICLES/111029742

     

     

    Unfortunetly it is often very hard to tell what is causeing an event like this, not sure if we'll find out why this time.

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    We ladies have been known to go to great lenghts for softer skin but new research suggests killer whales may be showing us all up!

     

    A new study for the first time shows that some killer whales wander nearly 10,000 kilometres from Antarctica's Southern Ocean into tropical waters - but not to feed or breed.

      
    Rather, these fearsome predators at the apex of the marine food chain traverse the sea at top speed, slowing as they reach warmer climes to exfoliate, the study speculates.
      
    They are driven, in other words, by the urge or need to make their skin all shiny and new.
    killer whale.php
    Durban and Pitman suspect that killer whales move into warmer waters in order to shed a layer, along with an encrustation of single-celled algae called diatoms, without freezing to death.
      
    Orcas are the smallest cetaceans, a group including whales and dolphins, which live for extended periods in subzero Antarctic waters. Replacing and repairing outer skin in waters where the surface temperature is minus 1.9 degree Celsius, may be dangerous, even lethal.
      
    Surface temperatures at the killer whales' tropical destinations, by contrast, were a balmy 20.9 to 24.2 C.

    Original source: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1599657/latest-from-wire/

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    We are getting rumbling rumours of a second sei whale stranding (no jokes about buses please), this time in Scotland. There was definitally a stranding yesterday but the species ID is a little uncertain.

     

    Details are all a bit vague, but I believe it was a live stranding that unfortunately died. I'm sure our Scottish team will be involved in the postmortem, the last one was quite badly decomposed so getting details wasn't very easy, sounds like this one should be better.

     

    Its a big shock if its is a sei, to get 2 in a year is unheard of but 2 in a week....

     

    Edit - chanced seemed a bit slim, the animal has been confirmed as a fin whale. It can often be the case that if you get a rare stranding every other stranding for a week or so after is reported as that species, I guess its in peoples minds.

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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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