Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

February 25th, 2015 (Megan Wildhood). After years as a loner adrift in his own world, Ken (Balcomb) had finally found a peer group and a mission,” writes Joshua Horwitz in his new book. Balcomb was the first to do in-depth studies of the various pods of orca whales that live in Washington’s Puget Sound. “(His) and Michael Bigg’s (of the Humane Society) research offered the first science-based understanding of orca behavior and communication, and an appreciation of a mammal group whose social complexity equaled that of elephants and great apes,” Horwtiz writes. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 24, 2015

Scientists Learn Hippos Related to Dolphins, Whales

A great-great grandfather of the hippopotamus likely swam from Asia to Africa some 35 million years ago, long before the arrival of the lion, rhino, zebra and giraffe Pictured is a view of one of the fossils that confirmed this. It shows an upper molar of a species known as Epirigenys lokonensis

A great-great grandfather of the hippopotamus likely swam from Asia to Africa some 35 million years ago, long before the arrival of the lion, rhino, zebra and giraffe Pictured is a view of one of the fossils that confirmed this. It shows an upper molar of a species known as Epirigenys lokonensis

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015. A great-great grandfather of the hippopotamus likely swam from Asia to Africa some 35 million years ago, long before the arrival of the lion, rhino, zebra and giraffe, researchers said Tuesday. Read More…

Photo courtesy NOAA.

Photo courtesy NOAA.

February 23th, 2015. SEATTLE— The National Marine Fisheries Service announced today that it intends to expand critical habitat protections along the West Coast for endangered “Southern Resident” killer whales. The finding, which says a decision will be made in 2017, comes in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 21, 2015

To save orcas, we must save salmon (USA, Canada)

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

February 21st, 2015. Saving our region’s salmon is key to helping Puget Sound’s endangered resident killer whales….

OUR salmon and orcas are at a crossroads. Puget Sound’s resident killer whale population could be headed toward extinction, and saving our region’s salmon — a critical and sharply declining food source for our whales — may be the only way to save these Northwest icons. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 21, 2015

Humpback whale successfully freed from entangled gear (Hawaii, USA)

A pole equipped with a flying cutter knife makes one last cut to free the whale. (Photo: E. Lyman – NOAA HIHWNMS MMHSRP permit # 932-1905)

A pole equipped with a flying cutter knife makes one last cut to free the whale. (Photo: E. Lyman – NOAA HIHWNMS MMHSRP
permit # 932-1905)

February 21st, 2015. A humpback whale spotted off Kona last week has been successfully freed of life-threatening gauge line.

But it wasn’t easy for the rescue team of 11 to catch the 45-feet long marine mammal out in the open ocean.

The entangled whale was first spotted on Feb. 13, heading up the Hamakua coastline 45 miles northwest of Hilo. Due to lack of standby support, the remote location and poor weather and sea conditions, officials could not immediately respond. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 19, 2015

J51 and J50 spotted swimming with their moms (USA, Canada)

J51 with J19 Photo by Naturalist Heather MacIntyre

J51 with J19 Photo by Naturalist Heather MacIntyre

February 19th, 2015. “It was an epic day on the water, what any whale watcher hopes for,” reports Naturalist Heather MacIntyre of Legacy Charters on San Juan Island. “We saw both of the newest Southern Resident orca calves. The wide range of behavior, from spunky J50 porpoising to J51 nursing, truly gives us hope.”

Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) crews observed the the two newest members of Jpod in Trincomali Channel north of Active Pass in British Columbia on February 19. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 19, 2015

People urged to report dead whales (New Zealand)

DoC staff, Project Jonah trained volunteers and others work to save 28 long-finned pilot whales stranded at Farewell Spit

DoC staff, Project Jonah trained volunteers and others work to save 28 long-finned pilot whales stranded at Farewell Spit

February 19th, 2015. The Department of Conservation is urging the public to report any dead whales found after last weekend’s mass stranding on Farewell Spit.

A total 198 whales were first found stranded last Friday. Of those, 66 were finally successfully refloated on Saturday by DOC staff and Project Jonah and other volunteers, and swam away. DOC rangers have tethered 121 dead whales using anchors and rope in the tidal area off Farewell Spit to decompose naturally. DOC Takaka senior ranger Hans Stoffregen said 11 whales were still unaccounted for and dead whales could still turn up, including some that might have died since being refloated. Read More…

Two Bridge City brothers have pleaded guilty to federal wildlife violations in the death of a dolphin.

Two Bridge City brothers have pleaded guilty to federal wildlife violations in the death of a dolphin.

February 18th, 2015. According to a news release from U.S. Attorney John M. Bales,  Cory James M., 23, and Cade Ryan M., 18, pleaded guilty to taking a marine mammal in United States waters on Feb. 17, 2015, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.  Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | February 18, 2015

Giant sperm whale dies in Quezon waters (Philippines)

The dead giant sperm whale floats in the shallow portion of Lamon Bay Wednesday, after it was stranded near the coastline of Barangay Bangkorohan, Calauag, Quezon on Tuesday. PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF CALAUAG, QUEZON POLICE

The dead giant sperm whale floats in the shallow portion of Lamon Bay Wednesday, after it was stranded near the coastline of Barangay Bangkorohan, Calauag, Quezon on Tuesday. PHOTO FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF CALAUAG, QUEZON POLICE

February 18th, 2015. LUCENA CITY — A giant sperm whale that was stranded near a coastal village in Calauag, Quezon, on Tuesday died early morning Wednesday, a provincial environment official said.

Manny Calayag, community coordinator of the Quezon-Environment and Natural Resources Office (Quezon-Enro), said the whale died at about 7:30 a.m. in the shallow portion of Lamon Bay near the coast of Barangay Bangkorohan. Read More…

The search is ongoing for this adult humpback whale entangled in several hundred feet of synthetic line attached to a balloon buoy. Julie Steelman, NOAA MMHSRP - Permit No. 932-1905/Special to West Hawaii Today

The search is ongoing for this adult humpback whale entangled in several hundred feet of synthetic line attached to a balloon buoy. Julie Steelman, NOAA MMHSRP – Permit No. 932-1905/Special to West Hawaii Today

February 17th, 2015 (Carolyn Lucas-Zenk). Marine experts are tracking an adult humpback whale spotted off Hawaii Island with its tail wrapped in several hundred feet of strong synthetic line and dragging a big red balloon buoy. Read More…

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