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Hearing rumours of a sei whale in Humberside this morning, which is very exciting. These are very rare strandings as they prefer deep off shore waters, we've only seen 3 in the last 22 years. The boys are on their way to investigate, and hopfully perform a post mortem.

 

Sei whales are the third largest Balaenopteridae and are up to 20m long they are filter feeders, enjoying the same diet as other filter feeders, consisting mainly of krill. They got hit hard by the hunting and were initally protected, however sadly they remain a part of the 'research' conducted by Japan. It can be fairly easy to confuse them with fin whales but an inside tip for you is that fin whales have asymmetrically patterened baleen, gray and white, while the sei whales is just white. They can shift as well, reaching 30 miles an hour but only for short distances, but compared to other species they are a bit rubbish are diving, only reaching shallow depths and rarely staying down for more then 15 minutes.

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Happy anniversary!

 

I guess in an ideal world groups like this wouldn't have to exist at all, let alone to have to be around for 21 years. However as they are needed it's great when you get groups that are both professional and caring.

 

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) will celebrate its 21st anniversary at a special banquet on Saturday 19 November at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Co Dublin.

 

The evening will consist of a three-course meal and entertainment including music and dancing, a film show of IWDG activities over the years, an international guest speaker (to be announced) exploring the impact of the IWDG on cetacean recording.

 

The marine wildlife conservation group's AGM will take place earlier in the day at the Grand Hotel at 2pm.

Tickets for the banquet are €60 - book early as places are limited to 120. To book contact Shay Fennelly at shayfennelly@eircom.net or 087 642 8902.

 

Overnight accommodation is also available at the Grand Hotel with special rates for banquet guests of €90 for a single room and €110 for a double/twin room. To book contact Hilary Fogarty, quoting IWDG as the reference, at 01 845 0000, 01 816 8281 or event@thegrand.ie.

 

 

Source: http://afloat.ie/port-news/marine-wildlife/item/16958-iwdg-21st-anniversary-banquet-in-november/

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You don't have to look deep into your hearts to know that keeping these animals in tanks just feels wrong. I think the caption on the picture says it all really.

 

 

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In a new study, nearly a year in the making, former SeaWorld trainers Jeffrey Ventre, MD and John Jett, Ph.D, take us deep behind the scenes of Marine parks and their ability to provide environments adequate for keeping killer whales alive in captivity.


Drs Ventre and Jett introduce us to detailed observations and strong statistical calculations that add up to an abundance of evidence that captivity kills orcas, usually at a young age… and that stresses, social tensions and poor health are chronic issues in marine park facilities.

 

Interview with Jeff Ventre: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/09/killer-whale-trainer/

 

Full report: https://theorcaproject.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/keto-tilikum-express-stress-of-orca-captivity/

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I'd like to pretend I'm a bigger person than I am and say I'm in no way jealous of this lady, but I can't, what a cool job! Worth clicking the link to watch the video.

 

 

Next year Dr. Herzing plans to begin a new phase of her research, something she says has been a lifetime goal: real-time two-way communication, in which dolphins take the initiative to interact with humans.

Up to now, dolphins have shown themselves to be adept at responding to human prompts, with food as a reward for performing a task. “It’s rare that we ask dolphins to seek something from us,” Dr. Herzing said.

But if she is right, the dolphins will seek to communicate with humans, and the reward will be social interaction itself, with dolphins and humans perhaps developing a crude vocabulary for objects and actions.

 

 

Source with a really good video: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/science/20dolphin.html?_r=1

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When they say 'found' they don't mean as in down the back of the sofa, didn't know it was there. More, they though it was something else but research and DNA shows its a new species.

 

Previous research had shown that the DNA found in the dolphins differed from that of the known bottlenose speciesTursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus.

 

But in order to define a new species, more evidence is needed. Kate Charlton-Robb of Monash University in Melbourne and her colleagues studied dolphin skulls found in a number of museums, as well as more detailed analysis of DNA, to show that T. australis is clearly a different animal.

 

 

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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14921665

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I've not updated for a few weeks as I've been on holiday and we've had a bit of a busy run of things.

 

A live stranded harbour porpoise on the Isle of Wight was picked up for pm by our team http://www.islandpulse.co.uk/b2/british-divers-attempt-to-rescue-porpoise-8756/

 

I went to Dorset on Friday to pick up another porpoise that stranded in Dorset last week, a massive thank you to Dave and Dorset council for all their help!

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It's not unusal for bottlenose dolphins to attack harbour porpoises, it's something we've known about for years and is often their largest cause of death here in the UK. I wanted to put the link up for this as I know it's not very commonly known about outside scientific cetacean research circles and also as it's very rare to get pictures.

 

It had two badly broken jawbones, fractured ribs on both sides and a broken scapula, evidence of a sadistic attack. Worst of all, the female porpoise, which had been seen twice before and identified by researchers in Monterey Bay, was lactating when she was killed, according to marine biologists.

 

It was a clear case of what scientists are calling "porpicide," the deliberate slaying of a harbor porpoise by a surprising and, to most people, unlikely culprit.

 

"We suspect that it was a bottlenose dolphin," said Bill Keener, a researcher for Golden Gate Cetacean Research.

The brutal battering wasn't an isolated incident. Scientists say there has been a dramatic increase in dolphin attacks on harbor porpoises along the California coast over the past few years, including an attack Wednesday off Half Moon Bay.

 

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Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/16/BADK1L3JVQ.DTL#ixzz1YOpvZF00

 

 

 

 

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Sadly its unlikely to survive, as is all too often the case.

 

 

A male sperm whale, the world's largest predator, has beached itself on the Cunnigar Strand in Dungarvan.

The incident follows numerous sightings of the cetacean off the south-east coast over the past 24 hours.

Andrew Malcolm of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said this afternoon that the whale, around 10m in length, was "still very much alive".


SpermWhaleBeachedDungarvan19082011TWITTERPIC.jpg

Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/sperm-whale-beaches-itself-in-dungarvan-517187.html#ixzz1VZAgI3zyli

 

 

UPDATE: Sadly this animal didn't make it, and unfortunately it looks we may never know why it stranded in the first place - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0822/1224302806444.html

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News article about the sowerbys beaked whale CSIP pm'd, as mentioned in an earlier post.

 

“We won’t know why she ended up in the North Sea and then stranded at Thornham but she wasn’t very old so she may have been separated from her mum and then couldn’t find her way home.

 

“It would’ve been completely hopeless to try to re-float this whale in this situation because she was far away from home and in a poor condition. She wouldn’t have survived for much longer.”

 

He added: “In the water these whales are weightless but once they are on land they cannot support their own body weight. They have a lot of heavy muscle and tend to crush themselves and eventually their lungs collapse.”

 

 

Source: http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/sad_end_for_stranded_whale_found_off_norfolk_coast_1_995405

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Sad news

Posted by Strandings Officer Aug 18, 2011

Sadly I have to report that 'Mama' the gray whale in California has passed away. I know a lot of people would have worked very hard to get the best possible result, and that the animal was much loved by the locals so it's all the more heartbreaking.

 

I believe she was originally in the water with a calf, who did go back to sea, so hopefully its the start of a long, happy but no doubt adventurous life for him/her.

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Just this second got back from picking up a porpoise that was reported as live stranded in Ulrome. A MASSIVE thankyou to Tanya who was an amazing help with this animal (and who also has an absolutely beautiful baby girl).

 

The animal was male, and incredibly fresh as you can see in the photos. Hopfully the animal will be pm'd in the next few days but I know the boys at the Zoo are shattered after a long night pming a sowerbys beaked whale! Busy here at the moment.

 

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Photo courtesy of Tanya

 

 

As always I'll post up cause of death, if known in a few weeks time when the pm results come back.

 

UPDATE: Cause of Death Category: Pneumonia, Parasitic.

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Had a couple of animals coming in over the weekend at this stage they are all believed to be harbour porpoises, although I'm waiting on photos to confirm this.

 

1 came in on Berwick beach in Northumberland, thanks to the local council for all their help with this animal.

1 at Thurlstone beach in the Wirral, thanks to Gemma for reporting it and for still managing to find time to chat to me this morning dispite dogs and kids all wanting her attention!

Finally thanks to HM Coastguards at Happisburgh for reporting their porpoise that stranded at Cart Gap in Norfolk.

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You can catch up with this animals day to day adventures and see some amazing photos of it in photographer Ashala Tylors blog.

 

Its been an amazing 50 days for the animal, after attempts to get it back out to sea with killer whale song and noise failed. The scientists gave up and decided the best course of action was to simply monitor it.

 

I love these stories as its often the human behaviour that is the most interesting!

 

 

Surely, no river whale beforehand has been so showered with so much affection, especially since scientists have abandoned attempts to drive the whale to sea. People have swum alongside the whale; they've also canoed and kayaked with the leviathan.


She has been serenaded not only by ukulele but by flute and violin. Poems have been written about and for the whale. Song and chants have been issued and prayers read in the hope that Mama will leave before the water level drops much farther, placing her in jeopardy.

 

grey whale.jpg

 

 

Link to: Photo and quote

 

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I made a post a few days ago about the amazing rescue of a baby humpback on the Gold Coast in Australia. Sadly I have to follow this happy story up with the sad news the the 1 week old didn't find its mum and restranded 2 days later, and had to be put down. It must be so heart breaking for all those involved, that would have worked so hard to keep this little guy alive.

 

"It's been a very sad morning for everyone involved in this operation who helped to give the young calf the best chance of survival by getting him into the ocean so he could have the best possible chance of being reunited with his mother," said Trevor Long, who led the rescue.

 

Long, from the SeaWorld marine park, said the whale would not have been able to survive long without receiving nourishment and protection from its mother.

 

 

New sorce: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/10011584/baby-whale-to-be-put-down-after-second-beaching/

 

Hate this, I really wish it had a happy ending.

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We've had several reports of a fin whale at Lynmouth beach in Devon. Its on a very popular beach in the middle of summer so unsurprsingly the press is all over this one! The animal is approximatly 55ft and believed to be female.

 

Our CSIP collegues are also all over it and I believe will be performing a post mortem today.

 

fin whale.jpg

Photo by Apex

 

As always I'll up date this post when we get the pm results back.

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