How do they know that Granny, the killer whale in J pod in the San Juan Islands who is estimated to be 103 years old is that old? Here is Monika’s tribute post to her when she turned 100 that explains that (which is cool) as well as offering insight why we all love her so….thanks, Monika!
In recent years years, bottle-nose dolphins were documented riding humpback whales in Hawaiian waters. The dolphins actually slide down the backs of the whales into the water like a makeshift “slip and slide.”
Scientists believe it is just a game between the two species, because neither of them displays aggressive or distressed behavior toward the other. It seems to be play-time that they both genuinely enjoy. When the dolphins are riding on the whales’ backs, the whales will sometimes go up to the surface and lift the dolphins into the air. The interactions are rare or at least, very difficult to capture on camera.
Human/killer whale attacks are rare, which prompts this expert in New Zealand to suggest this event was unfortunate, but more of an accident – here’s more:
An expert on marine animals is skeptical about reports of an orca grabbing a free diver’s catch bag and dragging him underwater until the rope became free.
Whale rescue co-founder, Far North-based Jo Halliday said it was not unheard of for such an incident to occur but she doubted it was a case of “whale attacks man”.
Levi Gavin, who was diving for kina and crayfish two weeks ago at Horahora estuary, on the coast east of Whangarei, said he was dragged beneath the water for about 40 seconds after the orca grabbed the catch bag tied to his right arm.
Mr Gavin described being down to his “last breath” in a death spiral, and trying to relax to conserve his breath as the huge creature dragged him deeper and deeper.
If the marine entertainment industry folks tried to capture orcas in Atlantic waters, or off the Pacific coast….you bet there would be a fight.
So they’re doing it in the cold seas of Russia. According to Erich Hoyt:
Four more orcas have now been confirmed to have been captured in Russian waters for ocean amusement parks and aquariums. That makes seven total captured in the past 2+ months in two separate captures in the Sea of Okhotsk—the massive far eastern inland sea of Russia, lying due north of Japan. Having spent time with these wild, beautiful orcas, I feel personally, as well as professionally, depressed about these developments.
The first 2013 capture happened in mid-August. The three orcas, or killer whales, were taken by a Russian catching team, the same team that caught a female orca in the same general area at the same time last year. For the past year, that young female — someone named her Narnia and the name stuck — has been swimming alone in a tiny makeshift pen near Nakhodka (Vladivostok area), awaiting her fate. The rumors have consistently pointed to her eventual transfer to Moscow.
Just what you want to hear. And yeah, more than a coincidence.
On Tuesday, killer whales came close to a ferry from Seattle as it approached Bainbridge Island. The killer whales surrounded the ferry and splashed in the water.
By coincidence, on board the ferry were officials from The Burke Museum in Seattle who were returning tribal artifacts to the new Suquamish Museum. The artifacts were dug up nearly 60 years ago from the site of the Old Man House, the winter village for the Suquamish tribe and home of Chief Seattle.
Also on board was Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman. He believes the appearance of the orcas was no coincidence. He believes they were welcoming the artifacts home to the reservation.
The amount of plastic in the world’s oceans is staggering, and it makes its way into the animals who live there. I’m happy to see that people like Angela Sun are making documentaries about this (here’s her trailer for her film, Plastic Paradise):
This is not isolated to any one part of the world – it is everywhere. The whale in the photo above died because it was filled with plastic waste, and there’s a lesson in its death about the direction it – and we – as a species are headed.
Here’s a story you’ll find fascinating: NOAA shares research showing how humpbacks manage their bottom-feeding, including eating sand lance (sand eels.) And you can watch, as they attach a “crittercam” to the whale to actually see it in action.
Do you remember where you were, the first time you sawFree Willy? For me, it was in a movie theatre in Eugene, OR, USA, with a packed house that screamed & cheered & clapped when Willy gets away at the end (see the poster at right, for spoiler). It was a football game where the home team won, a fairy tale that wasn’t Grimm, it was a tale of justice, unpeeled. It was awesome.
One of the byproduct events of the movie was the eventual real-life release of the whale who played Willy, a captive killer whale named Keiko. Was this a good idea? DId it work out? Did humans learn anything from the experience about orcas, or about themselves?
I got to shake David Kirby’s hand last summer when he was passing through Friday Harbor (WA) on a promotional tour for his new book, Death at SeaWorld. I found him thoughtful, articulate, and an impassioned warrior against marine mammal captivity. Reading Death at SeaWorld made want to read the article linked below.
He shares his take on what we could have learned, what we missed, and perhaps what lies ahead in this penetrating essay. Let me know what you think.
And…. here’s the trailer for the movie, back then.
Thought for the day…
"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings." -- J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan
About Brother Ian
Over the centuries, Brother Ian has been collecting stories & information & discourses for the purpose of elevating the human condition as needed, dissecting it when necessary, and building the case for hope.
In the spirit of noting that organized crime, organized baseball, organized labour, and organized religion tend to engender controversy & occasional discord, I promise to be neither organized or critical of those who are.