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Whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings

9 Posts tagged with the behaviour tag
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179 animals in 39 days, that's a lot of work! Things seem to be easing up a bit now though, thank goodness!

 

 

“We saved more of them than we normally do,” she said. “Of the 179 only 71 were found alive and we successfully released 53 so that’s a 75 percent success rate. That was really high. In a great part that’s due to our fantastic volunteers and our ability to get to the animals quickly.”



Read more: Dolphin rescuers glad the tide of Cape Cod strandings is over - - Wicked Local Eastham http://www.wickedlocal.com/brewster/news/x587877869/Dolphin-rescuers-glad-the-tide-of-Cape-Cod-strandings-is-over#ixzz1oROEaORK

 

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Sorry for the long break in updates, the New Year is always a bit of a crazy time with the previous years data needing to be sorted and validated. There will be a report, which will head over to Defra probably sometime around April, then hopefully I'll be able to post up some of the main points of 2011's strandings up here shortly after that.

 

And more dolphin related news, some interesting interspecies behaviour for you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source with interesting write up: http://animalwise.org/2011/12/14/an-uplifting-dolphin-story-literally/

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Woo!

 

I particularly like this bit ‘"The porpoises have found a way to not only avoid the ships, but it's also the noise they make," says Keener.

 

Harbor porpoises haven't been seen in San Francisco Bay for more than 60 years. But now, they're coming back through the Golden Gate in growing numbers and researchers are trying to understand why they’re returning.

 

 

 

 

 

The best place to look for them is 220 feet above the water on the pedestrian walkway across the Golden Gate Bridge. That's where Bill Keener of Golden Gate Cetacean Research photographs them, holding a massive telephoto lens over the side of the railing.

 

 

 

"There's a porpoise right there, coming very, very close," he says pointing. A dark shape appears in the water. It's a harbor porpoise, coming up for air. "And here's a mother and calf coming straight at us."

 

 

Porpoise-11-300x168.jpg

 

Source: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2011/12/05/after-60-years-porpoises-return-to-san-francisco-bay/

 

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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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    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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    The sonar vs. strandings debate has always been a very contentious one, and one I'm not going to comment on. However it is fantastic to see the US Navy taking the problem seriously and conducting some research.

     

    That’s why a team of marine mammal specialists, engineers, acousticians, and biologists were placing suction cup tags on whales and dolphins from the Santa Monica Bay to the Orange County Coast these past few days.

     

    The tags gather a plethora of information including how deep the whales dive, their exact route and location and their response to loud underwater noises.

     

    This is the second year of this Navy funded study called SOCAL-11 and it seeks to determine how different species in different scenarios react to sonar.

     

    Of course the overall goal is help the Navy become environmentally compliant.

     

    “The Navy has been wonderful as they really want to discover where and when they should not be using sonar,” said senior scientist Brandon Southall from SEA and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

     


    Source: http://lagunaniguel.patch.com/articles/united-states-navy-seeks-to-understand-possible-reasons-for-whale-strandings

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    Some interesting research into feeding behaviour in Guiana dolphin.

     

    Dolphins are famous for their ability to hunt prey via echolocation. Now, scientists have discovered that at least one dolphin species, the Guiana dolphin, can also detect fish by tuning into their electrical fields. It is the first time this sense has been reported in a marine mammal—or in any placental mammal. The researchers expect that electroreception, as this sense is called, will be found in other cetacean species. Until this discovery, it was known only in fish, amphibians, and two egg-laying mammals, or monotremes, the platypus and echidna.

     

    All animals generate weak electric fields from the activity of their muscles and nerves. Species with electroreceptors can sense this bioelectric field and use it to spot prey that they can't see. And visibility is a real problem for Guiana dolphins, which live off the western Atlantic coast of Central and South America and hunt fish in turbid water and muddy sediments.

     

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    More infomation: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/07/guiana-dolphins-can-use-electric.html