Posts tagged: whales
WILDLIFE WATCHING — How far do wintering killer whales cruise in a day in the Puget Sound region:
“It's exciting this time of year because of what we are going to learn,” said Brad Hanson, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.
Each year of satellite tagging is filling in more gaps about the winter movements of southern resident killer whales, while also raising new questions about why some travel as far south as Northern California and others may not, he said.
Read on for the Associated Press detailing why scientists are giddy with curiosity.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — An update on the status of the Colockum elk herd is among a wide range of topics on the agenda when the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meets June 7-8 in Olympia.
The commission also will consider:
Info: Commission office in Olympia, (360) 902-2267, email email@example.com.
MARINE MAMMALS — A U.S. appeals court has ordered American anti-whaling activists to keep 500 yards away from Japanese whaling ships off Antarctica, the Associated Press reports.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction Monday against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which sends vessels every December to disrupt whale killings by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research.
The three-judge panel ordered Sea Shepherd not to attack or approach any of the Japanese vessels until it can rule on the merits of an appeal from whaling groups.
Japan’s whaling fleet kills up to 1,000 whales a year, as allowed by the International Whaling Commission. Japan is permitted to hunt the animals as long as they are killed for research and not commercial purposes.
But whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan, and critics say that’s the real reason for the hunts.
Sea Shepherd activists use stink bombs, lasers and other nonlethal means to interfere with the whalers. The group argues that its activities are supported by international law and that American courts don’t have jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean.
In a news release, the group’s president, Paul Watson, said it is evaluating the court’s order.
“I can tell you with complete certainty, however, that Sea Shepherd remains committed to upholding the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and ensuring the whalers go home with zero whales killed,” he said.
The organization’s vessels have not yet reached the Southern Ocean, the AP reported today.
MARINE WILDLIFE — A boater who was caught by the Coast Guard too close to Puget Sound killer whales on Wednesday won’t be penalized, but next summer violators could be fined thousands of dollars, the Associated Press reports.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working with the Coast Guard and the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department to educate boaters about a 2011 requirement to stay at least 200 yards away from orcas, spokesman Brian Gorman said. Previously it was just a guideline.
“Our intention is to depend on education and warning rather than coming on like gangbusters,” Gorman said.
They’ll make a decision before next summer’s boating season on issuing fines, Gorman said. Civil penalties under the Marine Mammal Protection Act could reach $11,000, and fines under the Endangered Species Act could be as high as $32,500, Gorman said.
Read on for more details from the AP.
WHALE WATCHING — An orca calf, born to the famous J Pod that roams into Puget Sound, was photographed Monday shortly after it was born to an 11-year-old mother.
The killer whales were swimming near the San Juan Islands. See a detailed report here.
See other photos — including some really sweet ones — chronicling the pod's baby whales in recent years.
MARINE MAMMALS — A record six blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, have been documented cruising off the Washington coast — only the third sighting of the huge species in Washington waters in 50 years.
Read the Seattle Times story about the whale researcher who photographed the big surprise about 25 miles west of Westport.
WHALES — And she didn't even have to pay for a whale-watching tour. Close call. Check out this short video and tell me what do you think?
MARINE MAMMALS — A newborn calf has been spotted among one of the pods of killer whales returning to the Puget Sound.
The Kitsap Sun reports the baby orca was seen Wednesday, when a majority of the three pods of killer whales returned to the San Juan Islands, as they do each year.
Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research says all the adult orcas in the three pods seem to be accounted for, including one whale that had not been seen since February.
Balcomb says the newborn calf is male and still had his umbilical cord attached on Wednesday. That means he is only days old. His birth brings the total Puget Sound or Southern Resident orca population to 88. The whales are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
PADDLING — If a guided sea-kayaking trip to the Vancouver Island area or southeast Alaska has been on your back burner, maybe now's the time to act.
Coeur d'Alene-based Sea Kayak Adventures has just announced discounts on their summer trips oriented to seeing orcas in Canada's Johnstone Strait area ($100 off) or a whales, glaciers and hotsprings trip based out of a mother ship near Sitka (25 percent off).
Offers available through Monday.
MARINE MAMMALS — In May, Department of Fish and Wildlife Officers will be back on the water enforcing the laws that protect Puget Sound Orcas.
“There’s an incentive to get close to those whales and give your client that photo of a lifetime,” said the department’s Deputy Chief, Mike Cenci said in a story moved by the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of pressure there.”
On an undercover trip aboard the “Serengeti” out of Victoria, officers recorded the captain giving his philosophy on following the law.
“I’ve had several close passes and it’s not good when enforcement is around but it’s kind of like you speed when the cops aren’t around right?” the captain said.
According to Fish and Wildlife officials, officers were on the water patrolling vessels near the Orcas 15 days out of the entire five-month season.
On the limited patrols last summer officers issued five citations, three of which were issued to commercial whale watch boats.
Read on for details from the AP report.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Satellite technology is allowing whale enthusiasts to click here and join researchers in tracking a type of gray whale that spends summers off Russia as it makes its way along the Oregon coast.
Researchers attached a satellite tag to a 13-year-old, male western Pacific gray whale known as Flex on Oct. 4. The whale moved east across the Bering Sea and south through the Aleutian Islands into the Gulf of Alaska.
Read on for details.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — While Eagle Watch Week is underway at Lake Coeur d'Alene's Wolf Lodge Bay, Oregon has begun Whale Watch Week on the state's Pacific coastline.