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Whale, dolphin and porpoise strandings

16 Posts tagged with the usa 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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A bit of an ongoing story here, back in November a dolphin was rescued near Alabama, the area has seen a massive increase in strandings recently, see my previous posts here: Further on the Gulf Coast strandings.

 

Well it appears the dolphin, named Chance is still alive and seems to be healing well although still has a long way to go. Sadly the write up doesn't tell us much about the strandings which have now been declared a "Unusual Mortality Event."


GULFPORT, Mississippi -- A nearly dead dolphin found in Alabama in November is recovering at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and yielding data that may help explain 630 dolphin strandings that have occurred in the northern Gulf of Mexico since February 2010.

 

Moby Solangi, director of the institute, said he is not at liberty to talk about details of what has been discovered as the dolphin named "Chance" has been nursed back from the brink of death after being rescued Nov. 24 from near a marsh at Fort Morgan.

 

"What we can say is it has revealed some significant information," Solangi said.

 

"Finding this live dolphin was like finding the black box from an airplane after a crash," he said.

 

 

dolphin-chance-food-b95bcd8b0fab52a5.jpg

 

Source: http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2012/01/dolphin_found_in_alabama_is_yi.html

 

 

 

Massive fingers crossed for Chance and I hope they can work out whats happening and put an end to it soon!

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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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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

 

 

dolphin2-blog480.jpg

 

 

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

 

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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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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 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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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.

 

 

g_image.jpg

 

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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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.

 

porpoise bnd attack.jpg



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

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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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Ah, now this is pretty cool!

 

When Michael Fishbach, co-founder of The Great Whale Conservancy, was boating in the Sea of Cortez, he and his family came across a stranded humpback whale.

 

The massive whale was dying, tangled in a mess of plastic fishing nets. Fishbach and his family spent over an hour freeing the giant cetacean, which then swam off. Hey, if you're a stranded whale, Fishbach is exactly the guy you'd hope to meet.

 

 

Souce: http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/humpback-whale-thanks-rescuers-video-2819162.html

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SeaWorld Orlando is preparing to open a new medical facility for stranded dolphins, two decades after the marine park stopped taking in wild dolphins that washed ashore because of fears that viruses could spread to its captive-animal populations.

 

In the southeastern corner of the park, far out of sight of the more than 5 million people who visit SeaWorld every year, crews are putting the finishing touches on the complex — a kind of quarantined dolphin hospital, with its own water-filtration and sewage systems, food-preparation areas and employee showers.

 

The facility's 40,000-gallon pool is large enough to hold cetaceans as large as a 13-foot pilot whale or as many as five bottlenose dolphins at once. It has been built on the piece of land that once held stables for Clydesdale horses that belonged to Anheuser-Busch Cos., SeaWorld's former owner.

 

More:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/os-seaworld-dolphin-hospital-20110716,0,1943188.storyhttp://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/os-seaworld-dolphin-hospital-20110716,0,1943188.story

 

 

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