Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.
Six Facts About the North Atlantic Right Whale
The North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is regarded as one of the most endangered species of baleen whales in the world. The species has a very long history of being subjected to human exploitation until the 1930s when laws were finally passed to protect the slow-moving marine mammals from the whaling industry. Yet, despite these efforts, the population in the North Atlantic shows very little to no signs of recovery. So, here are six things to know about these endangered mammals.
When the Water Turns Red: How Red Tide Affects Florida’s Marine Animals
Karenia brevis is a type of dinoflagellate that is known to produce toxins that can accumulate in marine organisms like shellfish, which can lead to poisoning when eaten by other animals. It’s adapted to get nutrients on the West Florida Shelf Oligotrophic where it feeds on copepods and their feces. In order for it to thrive, it also needs low light and an upwelling to initiate a bloom. The bloom occurs in four stages which include initiation, growth, maintenance and termination. Yet researchers have yet to determine which stage could serve as a primary factor to a bloom maintenance since there are multiple sources that are involved in the process. What is known, though, is that once a bloom begins, a combination of winds and current push the newly formed red tide to shore. As a result, the dangers it can have on animals begins to arise when K. brevis gets ingested because after all, they do produce a neurotoxin that bioaccumulate up the food chain of Florida’s marine ecosystem. This toxin can also be airborne when the cell breaks up from wave activity.
Don’t Feed Wild Marine Mammals
In a previous article, I discussed how one California woman attempted to stop a group of beach-goers from harassing a colony of wild sea lions. Although I did talk about how it's illegal to play with, touch, or even feed a wild marine mammal, I did not mention how it can inflict potential harm. Word of caution, what I am about to describe may be a little upsetting to some readers, but at the same time, it’s critical to be very cautious when watching marine mammals out in the wild.
The Southern Resident Orcas Need Our Help
For 17 days, a 20-year-old adult female orca named Tahlequah, also known as J35, carried her dead newborn calf in a tragic effort to continue caring for the calf despite it having to have died just shortly after birth. Around the same time, her cousin, J50, also known as Scarlet, is grossly underweight as the result of possible malnutrition from the lack of the orca's primary food source, chinook salmon. Currently, as of now, there are ongoing efforts to rescue Scarlet from becoming another casualty by using boats to deliver her live salmon through a test feeder while collecting breath samples to monitor her health. Also, researchers also plan to use the live fish to provide medication to the sickly three-year-old orca even though there is no guarantee that she will eat live fish, but at the same time, the fact that scientists are making an effort to feed a wild orca is very unprecedented.
Tips for a New England Whale Watch
Cape Cod is regarded as one of the most popular places to go whale watching in New England as daily tours leave from Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod as well as Boston, Plymouth, Barnstable, and Gloucester. From the end of April, all the way through October, whales can often be seen from shore along Cape Cod beaches like Race Point near Provincetown. I personally have done some shore-based whale watching in Race Point on multiple occasions, observing right whale and humpback whale mothers returning to Cape Cod Bay with their young calves and believe me, it was quite an incredible experience. I would totally recommend it to anyone who plans to go to Cape Cod before late April since that’s the time when the whale boats first begin seasonal operations. Back to the whales, the mammals spend the months between March through October in Stellwagen Bank, a shallow mound of sand and gravel that’s a remnant of retreating glaciers from the last Ice Age. There, nutrient-rich waters that flow from the Gulf of Maine helps create major upwelling of nutrients while creating a bloom of plankton at the same time. The result is a complex ecosystem that provides an abundant of food for various baleen whales such as humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales, and Northern right whales. Yet, the more often you go whale watching, whether if it involves walking along the beach, standing on a headland, or on a boat, finding whales and other marine mammals not only requires good luck, it also requires a good dose of knowledge on the animals and the ecosystem they live in. So here are some tips on how make the best of your New England Whale Watch.
Six Facts About the Whale Shark
The largest shark to ever be alive today, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) feeds on plankton and travels very long distances in order to find enough food to sustain their large size and breed. These sharks can grow up to 40 feet long and weight up to about 11 tons. They are found in all of the world’s tropical oceans and are regarded as gentle giants. Here are some Six facts about these magnificent sharks (Disclaimer: Despite the name, whale sharks are not related to whales in any shape or form).
A Monk Seal Called KP2 (Or Hō’ailona by Some)
They say that not all human-seal conflicts end in death in Hawaii, which is the case for KP2 who, at only a few days old, was rescued by a NOAA veterinarian after seeing he was alone, attempting to nurse from some rocks and calling out for his mother, RK22, who was nowhere in sight. Because RK22 had a history of rejecting her pups shortly after birth, a decision was made to rescue and rehabilitate him in the hopes of, not only preventing a potential death of a rejected pup, but also ensuring the survival of a critically endangered mammal, whose numbers were only around 1,100. From there, he was taken to the Kewalo Research Facility in Oahu.
Six Facts About Dugongs
Dugongs, while similar to manatees, are shorter and slender comparing to their western hemisphere well-known marine mammals to have ever been studied in the Southern Hemisphere, research that has been done on the animals would eventually give way to the rise of manatee research in the United States and Brazil. These animals are known to grow up to 11 feet long and weight up to 2,200 pounds.
The Hypocrisy of Thomas Cook Travel Agency When It Comes to Zoos and Aquariums
Recently, Thomas Cook, a travel agency that is based in the United Kingdom, recently announced that it would no longer include marine mammal facilities that house orcas. The decision was likely influenced by animal rights extremists who target any zoo or aquarium that houses cetaceans. However, aside from the fact that it was an animal rights influence that made the company say “adios” to anything SeaWorld or Loro Parque, it’s the fact that Thomas Cook does have some ties to a facility based in China that houses cetaceans that were collected from waters off of Taiji, Japan.
Dear Parents, Don’t Let Your Kids Play With the Sea Lions on the Beach!
A California woman was recently visiting Point La Jolla Beach just right outside of San Diego, California when she saw a disturbing site: A group of families visiting the state harassing a colony of California sea lions. Andrea Else Hahn was visiting La Jolla’s famous sea lion rookery on Sunday when she witnessed a group of visiting tourists harassing a colony of sea lions by attempting to take selfies with them, feeding them, petting them, playing with them, and there was even a number of kids kicking sand at some juvenile sea lions. For three days, Hahn, continued to film the growing public ignorance and ongoing violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This was despite a number of signs that were written in three different languages that advised the public to not attempt to feed, pet, nor harass the sea lions.
Five Things to Know About Great White Sharks
One of the most celebrated species of shark in the world, the great white shark (Carchardon carcharias) is regarded as the largest species of predatory shark on Earth. A healthy adult shark can grow up to 21 feet in length and weight up to 4,000 pounds. In addition to having powerful jaws that are full of large serrated teeth, they are also capable of exerting lethal forces of more than 20 tons per square inch when biting on prey and foreign objects. So, in honor of “Shark Week”, here are five facts to know about the great white shark...
Freeing Lolita the Killer Whale Is Not an Option
Lolita is a Southern Resident killer whale who was believed to have been born in 1966 to the Southern Resident orca population. She was collected on August 8, 1970 off the coast of Penn Cove, Washington where she was kept in a pen-based facility for about a month before she was sent to Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne, FL. There, she spent the first ten years of her life at the facility with a male orca named Hugo, who was believed to have come from the same pod as she did, until his death in 1980. She has been the only orca in its care since. Today, she currently resides at the facility with four Pacific white sided dolphins, who serve as her companions, and is one of two living killer whales to have been collected from the Pacific Northwest during the 1960s and 70s. Yet, despite the fact that Lolita continues to thrive at Miami Seaquarium, animal rights extremists want Lolita to be “released” from the only home she has ever known for the last 48 years by putting her in a potentially dangerous “return-to-the-wild” that would be run by those with very little to no expertise in animal care. I am here to explain why freeing Lolita may not be in her best interest.