Scott Eastwood Has Magical But Potentially Dangerous Close Encounter with Orcas While in Mexico

December 6, 2018

Scott Eastwood encountered a group of wild orcas while vacationing in Mexico.

Eastwood, 32, shared moments from the magical yet slightly scary encounter on Instagram Wednesday.

“Stopped at some random beach along the coast of Baja to get a beer, and while eating lunch saw a group of Orcas out in the bay,” Eastwood captioned the video.

“We grabbed the paddle boards yelling at each other to paddle faster thinking we lost them until @parkstrailtale started making orca noises and slapping the water with his paddle. They turned around and came in to check us out!! Dory was right. We do speak,” Eastwood added in reference to the animated film Finding Nemo.

To read the FULL story and watch video of the encounter, visit the source at People.com

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Orca ‘apocalypse’: half of killer whales doomed to die from pollution

September 27, 2018

At least half of the world’s killer whale populations are doomed to extinction due to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans, according to a major new study.

Although the poisonous chemicals, PCBs, have been banned for decades, they are still leaking into the seas. They become concentrated up the food chain; as a result, killer whales, the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.

PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.

Among those most at risk are the UK’s last pod, where a recent death revealed one of the highest PCB levels ever recorded. Others off Gibraltar, Japan and Brazil and in the north-east Pacific are also in great danger. Killer whales are one of the most widespread mammals on earth but have already been lost in the North Sea, around Spain and many other places.

“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.

PCBs were used around the world since the 1930s in electrical components, plastics and paints but their toxicity has been known for 50 years. They were banned by nations in the 1970s and 1980s but 80% of the 1m tonnes produced have yet to be destroyed and are still leaking into the seas from landfills and other sources.

The international Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants came into force in 2004 to tackle the issue, but Jepson said the clean-up is way behind schedule. “I think the Stockholm Convention is failing,” he said. “The only area where I am optimistic is the US. They alone produced 50% of all PCBs, but they have been getting PCB levels down consistently for decades. All we have done in Europe is ban them and then hope they go away.”

The researchers said PCBs are just one pollutant found in killer whales, with “a long list of additional known and as yet unmeasured contaminants present”. Further problems for killer whales include the loss of key prey species such as tuna and sharks to overfishing and also growing underwater noise pollution.

The new research, published in the journal Science, examined PCB contamination in 351 killer whales, the largest analysis yet. The scientists then took existing data on how PCBs affect calf survival and immune systems in whales and used this to model how populations will fare in the future. “Populations of Japan, Brazil, Northeast Pacific, Strait of Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom are all tending toward complete collapse,” they concluded.

Lucy Babey, deputy director at conservation group Orca, said: “Our abysmal failures to control chemical pollution ending up in our oceans has caused a killer whale catastrophe on an epic scale. It is essential that requirements to dispose safely of PCBs under the Stockholm Convention are made legally binding at the next meeting in May 2019 to help stop this scandal.” Scientists have previously found “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution even in the 10km-deep Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.

“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group. “If the UK government wants its [proposed] Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.”

The research shows that killer whale populations in the high north, off Norway, Iceland, Canada and the Faroes, are far less contaminated due to their distance from major PCB sources. ”The only thing that gives me hope about killer whales in the longer term is, yes, we are going to lose populations all over the industrialised areas, but there are populations that are doing reasonably well in the Arctic,” said Jepson.

If a global clean-up, which would take decades, can be achieved, these populations could eventually repopulate empty regions, he said, noting that killer whales are very intelligent, have strong family bonds and hunt in packs. “It is an incredibly adaptive species – they have been able to [live] from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between.”

He praised the billion-dollar “superfund” clean-ups in the US, such as in the Hudson River and Puget Sound, where the polluter has paid most of the costs: “The US is going way beyond the Stockholm Convention because they know how toxic PCBs are.”

Source: The Guardian.com

Diver captures orca knocking out helpless stingray on film

June 19, 2018

A lucky diver off the coast of Mexico has captured the rare moment an orca slapped a stingray. 

Underwater photographer Jorde Hauser was diving in the Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California when he filmed an orca aggressively swinging its tail and knocking out a stingray, Caters Media reported. 

The orca then spent the next hour playing with the stingray by swimming circles around it.

“I had a feeling something interesting could happen, as the orcas had been playing with the ray for a while, coming and going,” Mr Hauser said.

“I’m typically a photographer, but I luckily decided to switch to video and get close to the ray.”

“At first, the orcas were paying little attention to us – they would briefly come to check us out and then leave, but when they saw the ray, the game changed.”

He said it felt like the orcas were trying to show off to him and his fellow divers.

“After the first smack, the poor stingray was left disorientated and without any strength to swim away – it was really sad but he appeared to just float there waiting for another tail slap.”

The veteran diver of 18 years said this interaction and behaviour was without a doubt the most incredible underwater experience of his life. 

To watch VIDEO visit the Source News Hub.co.nz

Killer whales approach snorkelers off Mexico coast

June 12, 2018

A group of snorkelers off the coast of Mexico captured video of their close encounter with a group of killer whales that swam over to investigate the humans.

The video, filmed Saturday in the Gulf of California, shows the snorkelers looking on in surprise as the orcas pass almost within arm’s reach.

The filmer said the killer whales had been eating mobula rays when they spotted the humans nearby.

The orcas swam past the snorkelers to take a look, but didn’t display any aggressive behavior toward the humans.

To watch VIDEO of the encounter visit the Source upi.com

Orcas and freedivers mingle off Cabo San Lucas in rare and mesmerizing encounter; video

May 8, 2018

Freedivers off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, spent nearly three hours Friday in the company of curious orcas.

The accompanying footage, captured by Regi Domingo of Pelagic Safari, shows one orca remaining almost totally motionless in a vertical position for several seconds while watching a diver and his camera.

Domingo said the encounter occurred five miles offshore, in the Sea of Cortez, and that the sleek mammals seemed as mesmerized as the divers were.

The company wrote on Facebook: “Believe it or not… Cabo San Lucas! An absolutely epic day on the water. Orcas in Baja are like the holy grail and yesterday we were fortunate enough to have three hours of playtime with a friendly pod.”

There were at least a dozen orcas, or killer whales, and all but one juvenile were females, Domingo said.

She added that this family unit has been spotted recently elsewhere in the Sea of Cortez, feeding on a type of rays called mobulas, as well as small sharks and humpback whale calves.

The female orcas were protective of the juvenile male, but curious of the divers.

“They were exhibiting really interesting behaviors with us,” Domingo said. “They were staying vertical, checking us out. But they were super calm.”

They would drift back, and come back in for close looks at the divers. Some would open their mouths slightly while looking at the divers in what Domingo described as “strange movements.”

On Monday, the same orca family unit was spotted off La Paz, 70 miles to the north, but the Cabo San Lucas diving community is hopeful that the iconic mammals will return.

Mobula rays, known for their spectacular leaping abilities, are found throughout the southern Sea of Cortez.

OrcasCabo1

To watch the video visit the Source: Pete Thomas Outdoors.com

Pod of orcas, dolphins spotted off Palos Verdes coast

January 24, 2018

A pod of orcas and another pod of dolphins were spotted off the coast of Palos Verdes Wednesday.

The killer whales were located almost 2 miles west of Point Vincente. The large pod of orcas breeched the water several times and not far from them the pod of dolphins jumped through the waves and swam off.

At one point, the situation got a little tense when a seal began swimming near the orca pod. At times the orcas circled the seal.

Source: abc7.com

Killer Whales Observed Playing With Seabird

October 18, 2017

Chase Dekker was guiding a morning whale watch in Monterey Bay, California, on October 16 when he observed some playful behavior from a group of killer whales.Advertisement

The whales, which he first observed feeding under water, were later seen “harassing” a seabird which Dekker identified on Facebook as a rhinoceros auklet.

In aerial footage, the whales are seen treating the bird as a toy, acrobatically flipping it out of water with their tails.While it’s safe to say the bird wasn’t having as much fun as the whales, Dekker wrote that, incredibly, it survived.

He said it was likely the whales were “teaching the younger whales in the pod how to hunt by using an easy target.”

Source: kcra.com

10 curious killer whales ‘blow away’ tourists in this up-close encounter

October 16, 2017

Even after 15 years of guiding whale watching tours in San Diego, Russell Moore still is in awe when he comes across a pod of killer whales.

On Oct. 5, Moore was leading a tour for his business, Xplore Offshore, when a group of 10 curious orcas swam right up to his boat.

“We were all blown away,” Moore said in an interview with NBC San Diego. “You cannot help but be blown away. These animals are as long as my vessel.”

Moore said the group saw the whales in the open water about 5 miles from the shore of Mission Beach.

He also encouraged those who go whale watching to keep a distance from the animals. Let them approach you, Moore said, and be calm and quiet when whales decide to come in close.

“Ecotourism is the No. 1 threat to marine mammals these days,” Moore told NBC San Diego. “Think about that — whale lovers are threatening whales now.”

To read the Source and view a short video of the encounter visit San Luis Obispo.com

Anger spreads after photos reveal apparent harassment of orcas

October 9, 2017

“”Jet skiers repeatedly harassed killer whales today, nearly running them over twice in their quest for selfies, even after we nicely asked them to back off!”

A rare showing of orcas off Southern California last week still has people talking via social media – but anger is the prevailing sentiment.

That’s because images appear to show two pilots of jet-powered personal watercraft speeding around orcas while seemingly trying to capture selfies and up-close footage.

The images were posted Friday night by Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a killer whale researcher who witnessed an intrusion that she described as harassment.

“Jet skiers repeatedly harassed killer whales today, nearly running them over twice in their quest for selfies, even after we nicely asked them to back off!” the researcher wrote on Facebook. “The whales got fed up and took off, after being on a very predictable path for hours. Anyone recognize these three fools – who launched from Cabrillo Marina at 12:45pm? Please share – and watch for their posts!”

Schulman-Janiger, of the California Killer Whale Project, emailed photos to a contact at NOAA Fisheries, but at the time of this post she had not heard whether an investigation had been or will be launched.

NOAA’s California guidelines suggest that boaters and personal watercraft pilots try to stay at least 100 yards from whales and 50 yards from dolphins (killer whales are the largest dolphin species) to avoid harassment. Harassment, which is against the law, is defined as any action that noticeably alters the natural behavior of marine mammals.

Schulman-Janiger’s post is being widely shared, and comments reveal anger among marine mammal groups and enthusiasts.

“This makes me so mad!!! I hope they get caught, these animals have enough stress just trying to get enough food!” reads one of nearly 200 comments beneath Schulman-Janiger’s post.

“These beautiful creatures aren’t your selfie material,” reads another. “They could have injured them. It’s bad enough they harassed them so badly.”

In all, 10 transient killer whales thrilled boaters from San Diego to Huntington Beach over a three-day period that ended Friday afternoon off Huntington Beach. (Transient orcas are rare visitors to Southern California, and spend most of their time further north.)

On Friday, the mammals were traveling north on a steady course at about 9 knots, Schulman-Janiger told GrindTV. They were tolerating boat presence, but became spooked when the men on personal watercraft “ran up on them,” not once but twice.

“When this guy came up [the second time] they dove and were not seen again,” Schulman-Janiger said. “They just took off. That was their reaction to all of this.”

The researcher wanted it noted that she was using a 400-millimeter lens and that the main image showing the man holding out a cell phone was cropped, perhaps making the man appear closer than he actually was to the orcas. But still, she assured, he was dangerously close.

Source: Adventure Sports Network.com

Pod of killer whales seen off the coast of Oceanside

October 6, 2017

It was a whale of a time for some boaters off the coast of Oceanside Thursday morning as they got to see a pod of killer whales!

It was shot by, Russell Moore, the owner of a local whale watching tour group, who said there was as many as 12 whales swimming together. 

Moore captured incredible video of the rare sighting. 
     
“Today we were able to find a pod of killer whales and that makes for an extraordinary day because it doesn’t happened very often, he said. I’ve only had it happen twice before in my life. This would be the third time ever–it’s an amazing event. It’s really something special.”

At times, some of the orcas even swam right past the boat. 

 “These animals come to the boat and they don’t charge the boat, but they’ll come to check us out. They’ll show the curiosity that the dolphins will, but it feels different because they’re the size of the boat,” Moore said.

Moore says on outings gray whales, massive blue whales, breaching humpbacks and mega-pods of dolphins are all possible off the San Diego coast, but this was truly an amazing find.

Source cbs8.com