Morgan’s Calf Named! Together with mother again

January 13, 2019


On Sunday, December 3, 2017, this newspaper EL  DÍA offered through El Cotarro , in scoop and exclusive, the great news that the already popular and beloved orca Morgan  del Loro Parque, was pregnant (4 months). And we said that the tireless Wolfgang Kiessling,  founder and president of the Loro Parque Group, ordered the development of a super special protocol and operative, to properly and specifically attend to what would be a “first-time mother”. From the first moment and during the 17 months! that the pregnancy has lasted, the own Wolfgang Kiessling , along with the doctor in Sciences of the Sea and director of Loro Park Foundation, Javier Almunia, they were waiting for Morgan until September 22, 2018, the day on which a wonderful orca baby was born that, over time, has been known to be a female and that today, also in scoop and exclusive, I can announce It will be called Ula , a name of Celtic origin that means “jewel of the sea”. Remember that Morgan , was rescued after being found dying on the coast of the Wadden Sea (Holland) and that Loro Parque welcomed her at the request of the Dutch Justice. Today Morgan  and Ula  are from Tenerife and live happily in Loro Parque.

Source: Elcotarro.com

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How beluga whales, orca births are linked

December 31, 2018

Montreal diverted its sewage to the St. Lawrence River; shortly thereafter beluga whales started dying. The deaths were blamed on tanker traffic. No deaths were reported before or after restoration of the sewage treatment.

Victoria is just now in the process of building a Sewage Treatment Facility to serve only the Greater Victoria area, rather than pushing the stuff into the ocean. Until completed and in operation, the region will continue to discharge an average of 82 million litres a day into the ocean.

The orca pods in southern B.C. waters haven’t a surviving birth in five years.

Sewage does not only contain human waste it has in it everything dumped into our toilets. Medications and everything flushed out of bodies, chemicals, spoiled products thru our garburator’s. Making it a deadly source of contamination.

Most of Vancouver’s sewage goes to treatment plants. The older parts of the sewage and stormwater system use one pipe that carries both sewage and stormwater combined. Raw sewage frequently backs up into the stormwater system dumping 36 billion litres of untreated effluent from outfalls in Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster each year. Stormwater overloads the system and discharges from 42 combined underwater outfalls, so people never see the raw sewage that harms marine life all around the outfalls. The worst outfall empties into Burrard Inlet at the north end of Clark Drive. Huge volumes of raw sewage discharge regularly from this site. A large area of the ocean floor is smothered by human feces, and other excrement. The plume reaches New Brighton Park. Outfalls are at Brockton Point, Coal Harbour, English Bay, Kitsilano and five in False Creek. More than a dozen go directly into the Fraser River, where juvenile salmon spend months acclimatizing to saltwater environment.

Greater Vancouver Regional District has set a 50-year timeline for eliminating these raw sewage discharges. Fisheries and Oceans Canada considers them a violation of the Fisheries Act.

Source: Medicine Hat News

Loro Parque not planning to reunite Morgan with her calf any time soon

December 28, 2018

Yesterday Loro Parque announced several research projects it had in the works involving Morgan’s recent female calf. The calf was removed from Morgan’s care after only a few days citing that Morgan “wasn’t producing enough milk.” The calf has been hand reared in the medical pool ever since, and apparently Morgan is being kept in an adjacent tank.

I would have assumed that the calf would be returned to Morgan at the earliest opportunity. Once the calf is coming over for regular bottle feedings and it’s physical health and development were going well the next priority should be to return the calf to Morgan so that its social development can catch up.

Killer whales, like humans, are essentially a blank slate when they are born. Very little about their behavior seems to be instinctive. This is proven by the fact that so far all orca population in the wild seems to have it’s own culture. They not only have their own unique dialects of sound but also their own unique way of feeding and socializing. Resident killer whales in the Pacific North West have strict social hierarchies with individuals never leaving their mother’s pod until the day the matriarch dies. These orca feed only on fish, primarily salmon. Transient whales that share part of their range with the residents feed on marine mammals such as seals, dolphins, and large whales. Transient social structure seems more flexible with individuals seeming to leave their family unites after a certain point. While still another population in New Zealand seems to have their own unique cultural characteristics such as feeding on both fish and marine mammals. There is nothing to explain this difference other than culture, a learned set of behaviors passed down from generation through generation.

In Loro Parque’s blog post they states the following with regard to the development of killer whale echolocation:

There is not much information on whether it is a behaviour that cetaceans learn or if it is innate, nor is there data on the moment in which it appears in their development,

On the surface their plans seem like a great idea. We have this chance to study orca development, why not use it to full advantage? HOWEVER in order to set up an experiment to test if the behavior of echolocation arises on its own through innate instinct you have to control any and all variables for the behavior to appear through social learning. Therefore the Morgan’s female calf HAS to be kept in isolation in order for this experiment to be conducted. Loro Parque has just made it clear that it has no plans to reunite Morgan with her daughter any time soon.

Loro Parque contributes to research on the echolocation of orcas

December 27, 2018

Loro Parque, in its continuous commitment to scientific research, has recently begun to collaborate in research on the echolocation of orcas, a key sense that favours their orientation and the location of prey for hunting.  There is not much information on whether it is a behaviour that cetaceans learn or if it is innate, nor is there data on the moment in which it appears in their development, so that the zoo, recognised as the best in the world, will contribute to providing information on a feature that is vital to their survival.

Loro Parque is working with the University of Southern Denmark in a study with Morgan’s calf in order to try and establish when echolocation begins in the young orcas.  The first experiments have already begun.

Echolocation is the location of an object through the reflection of sound waves, used by animal species such as bats and cetaceans and in sonar systems.

In both bats and dolphins, echolocation skills have been studied for decades, and although there is a deep understanding of their capabilities and use, it is not clear how it develops.  In the case of dolphins, recordings under animals in human care indicate that echolocation may develop after about three to four weeks, although other studies indicate that it may take much longer.

About young orcas, however, there is no information whatsoever, and some knowledge would help to better understand and protect these animals with more reliable risk-assessments on the impact of marine noise, its possible consequences, and even age estimates, based on sound recordings.  Thus, by recording the calf periodically, one can begin to understand the development of its echolocation capacity – when it begins and how this sense evolves until it matches that of an adult orca.

Source: Loro Parque Blog

SeaWorld says DOJ probe into ‘Blackfish’ statements is over

December 13, 2018

  • SeaWorld Entertainment says it has been notified that the U.S. Department of Justice is ending its probe into whether company officials misled investors about the negative impact the documentary “Blackfish” was having on its business.
  • In September, SeaWorld and two former executives agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle federal fraud claims brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging they had made misleading statements about the documentary’s impact.

SeaWorld Entertainment says it has been notified that the U.S. Department of Justice is ending its probe into whether company officials misled investors about the negative impact the documentary “Blackfish” was having on its business.

In September, SeaWorld and two former executives agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle federal fraud claims brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging they had made misleading statements about the documentary’s impact.

The Orlando-based theme park company said Wednesday in a SEC filing that Justice Department has now notified the company that it won’t take any action.

Attendance and revenue declined after the release of the 2013 documentary about the life of Tilikum, an orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer during a performance in Orlando in 2010.

Source: cnbc.com

Talking Killer Whales? Gullible Science Journalists More Likely

February 7, 2018

The single most crucial concept needed for me to explain to anyone what my academic specialism is all about, obviously, is the notion of language. And I sometimes feel a twinge of despair at the fact that the general public simply does not get that concept. Any kind of putative transmission of information, or any animal or device uttering a noise that almost sort of sounds like a word, is spoken of as language.

A paper entitled “Form and Function in Human Song,” by Samuel Mehr and Manvir Singh of Harvard, appears in Current Biology. (Danger sign! Why a biology journal, for a paper on psychology and ethnomusicology?) And The Economist (online January 25, print January 27) cannot resist discussing it in terms suggestive of language, even though the topic is reactions to song snippets. The paper is alleged to offer “evidence that music does indeed permit the communication of simple ideas between people even when they have no language in common.” It does nothing of the kind. The researchers took a large number of music performances from around the globe, established that the people who produced them classified them as either dance music, lullabies, healing songs, or love songs, and then asked a thousand volunteers worldwide to categorize them from random 14-second clips to see if they could match the creators’ reports about the intended functions.

To open the article, The Economist chooses Hans Christian Andersen’s remark that “where words fail, music speaks.” Music must speak in very muffled tones, because the subjects’ ability to classify music samples showed that healing songs turned out to be statistically indistinguishable from lullabies, and love songs could not be distinguished from either lullabies or dance music. (The latter two are of course distinguishable: The paper comments that “lullabies tend to be rhythmically and melodically simpler, slower, sung by one female person, and with low arousal relative to other forms of music.” Quite so. I don’t think we needed a biology journal to tell us that.)

The claim that information transmission was demonstrated in the music is patently ridiculous. You might just as well say that food permits the communication of simple ideas between people, given that they will (I predict with confidence) be able to classify food into broad categories like soup, steak, salad, and dessert. Even when they have no language in common.

An even worse case of perverting the notion of speaking a language appeared in the same week, and got far more coverage. Proceedings of the Royal Society B published a paper entitled “Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer whale (Orcinus orca)” by José Z. Abramson, Maria Victoria Hernández-Lloreda, Lino García, Fernando Colmenares, Francisco Aboitiz, and Josep Call. It concerns the training of killer whales to imitate sounds, including the sound of human words.

Killer whale learns to talk,” said the Daily Mail in an online headline.

World’s first talking killer whale,” said the Daily Telegraph.

“A killer whale has been taught to talk human,” announced John Humphrys, a BBC radio news and politics broadcaster famous for his tough interviewing, his occasional grousing about “incorrect” English, and his $900K salary (soon to be partly reliquishedin the wake of a gender pay-discrepancy scandal).

Again, nothing of the sort has been accomplished. Recordings of the animal trying to use its blowhole to mimic a few words can be found here. Any self-respecting parrot would be furious to hear this medley of squeals, squawks, and raspberries referred to as imitated word pronunciations.

But just suppose for a moment that an orca could be trained to imitate the sounds of isolated English words like “hello” or “bye-bye” for a fishy reward. Describing this as “talking” would still be a shocking untruth. Attempted mimicking of uncomprehended noises to win food rewards is not language!

On most academic subjects you simply cannot talk arrant nonsense or tell direct lies about simple, basic things on a BBC news magazine program and get away with it. Put out a press release asserting that cats are in fact reptiles from Venus, and you won’t get a respectful BBC news program interview, with commentary from a herpetologist and an astronomer. Absurd claims on most topics don’t make it out of the starting gate. But when the topic is supposed to be language, the loony theses gallop off down the course, cheered by thousands.

I was cheered to learn that comedians are harder to fool than science reporters. NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me mocked the killer-whale story mercilessly (Mark Liberman supplies a recording on Language Log here).

Source: Chronicle.com

Experts Call for the Speedy Release of Killer Whales and Beluga Whales from the “Whale Prison” in Primorye

November 29, 2018

Experts believe that the killer whales and beluga whales kept in the bay of Central Primorsky Territory for sale in foreign aquariums should be released as soon as possible, otherwise they will die.

“Delay in releasing killer whales into the wild and in transferring the beluga whales to the rehabilitation regime, and the lack of public and expert control can lead to grave consequences for cetaceans. This is the general opinion of the experts, ”Dmitry Lisitsyn, head of the regional public organization (RPO) Sakhalin Environmental Watch, told Interfax-Far East.

According to him, the longer they sit in crowded conditions and in tight containers, the greater the likelihood of deterioration of their health from stagnant water, poor diet and stress.

  1. Lisitsyn stressed that according to the unanimous opinion of experts, killer whales should be released from the bay as soon as possible.

“They will still be able to find their families who have already left the area of ​​the Shantar Islands and are now migrating to the Kuril Islands and then to the more southern areas of the ocean,” he said.

He added that for belugas it is necessary to create an expert commission of scientists specializing in cetaceans, veterinarians of the aquarium, microbiologists, as well as divers and underwater operators.

“It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive survey of the white whales and clearly separate – who can be released now (who can survive in the wild conditions – IF) and those who need to be grown and adapted. The information gathered by the expert group should be provided to an even wider expert community “in order to make a common and most correct decision,” said D. Lisitsyn.

According to him, Medium Bay is quite suitable for adapting babies to belingas, since these conditions, in contrast to the aquarium, are more close to their natural habitat. As the kids grow, they could gradually expand open-air cages, launch wild fish, imitating hunting conditions, in order to release animals into the sea in the spring adapted to independent living. But according to scientists, other people should take care of belugas, but not trappers.

As reported, at the end of October, Greenpeace Russia and the Sakhalin Environmental Watch public organization stated that 11 killer whales and 90 belugas were illegally kept in the enclosures of Srednyaya Bay in the south of Primorsky Krai. According to zoodefenders, belugas and killer whales were brought to Primorye before being sold to foreign aquariums and zoos. SC initiated a criminal case under Part 3 of Art. 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal extraction of aquatic biological resources). On instructions from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, specialists from the Pacific Oceanological Institute are examining animals to determine if they can be released into the wild.

Source: Maritime News of Russia

Article Found on Maritime Herald.com

Why did SeaWorld killer whales die? Animal activists sue for release of necropsy reports

November 29, 2018

By: Lori Weisberg

Multiple animal rights advocates sued the federal government this week in a move to force the release of necropsy reports related to the deaths of three SeaWorld killer whales, including one from the San Diego marine park.

The lawsuit, which targets the National Marine Fisheries Service, is the culmination of a so far unsuccessful quest by marine mammal researchers and advocates to gain access to necropsies they say will help them and others understand how to better care for cetaceans both in captivity and the wild.

Animal welfare groups, including the Animal Welfare Institute, the Earth Island Institute and the PETA Foundation, have been trying since last year to persuade SeaWorld and the National Marine Fisheries Service to release necropsy reports on the 2017 deaths of three killer whales — Tilikum, the SeaWorld Orlando whale featured in the 2013 “Blackfish” documentary; Kasatka, regarded as SeaWorld San Diego’s orca matriarch; and Kyara, a 3-month-old killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., argues that regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act require that SeaWorld turn over clinical history and necropsy reports to National Marine Fisheries when certain captive whales, porpoises or dolphins die . . . (to read the rest of the article visit the source)

Source: San Diego Tribune

SeaWorld to close Thursday as county braces for storm

November 28, 2018 (Wednesday)

By: Zac Self

SeaWorld San Diego plans to close Thursday as the county prepares for a storm.

According to a news release, the theme park made the decision due to heavy rain and strong winds that could sweep through San Diego.

The park plans to re-open Friday, November 30.

Showers are expected to develop Wednesday night, becoming widespread and heavier by Thursday.

Rainfall totals are expected to average between .50” to 1.50” for the coast and valleys with 2” to 4” in the mountains and .50” in the deserts.

Strong winds will also accompany the storm. A wind advisory is in effect for the coast and valleys Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and for the mountains and deserts from 6 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Friday. Click here for a look at the full forecast. 

Source: 10news.com

THE COURT SEIZED ON THE ORCAS AND BELUGAS CAUGHT FOR SALE IN CHINA

November 24, 2018

The court seized on the orcas and belugas caught for sale in China The court in Vladivostok seized 11 orcas and belugas ‘ 90, discovered the animal in Nakhodka. Animal rights activists suggest that animals were caught for sale in China. The investigative Committee opened a criminal case on illegal fishing. About the arrest of the animals informed the city the site of Vladivostok Vl.ru and non-profit organization “marine mammal Council”. Judgement was delivered on 21 November, but became aware of it today from the letter to the Investigative Committee to Rosprirodnadzor. At the end of October it became known that in the Middle Bay in a remote area Finds contains 11 orcas and 90 Beluga whales caught in Russian waters. According to Russian Greenpeace, pet owners planned to sell them in Chinese aquariums. Commercial exploitation of dolphins is prohibited in Russia by law, but the animals were caught in the cultural and educational quota. The price of one orca in dolphinariums and aquariums China reaches from one to 15 million dollars. Catch animals has caused an outcry among environmentalists. November 16, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on illegal catch of whales and belugas. According to authorities, the mammals are young, and their prey is prohibited. On Thursday, the press service of the Agency, the Agency issuing quotas for the catch of marine animals, said that the Ministry warned the General Prosecutor’s office about the inadmissibility of violation of the law when granting rights to catch cultural and educational purposes. The Agency said in response that all quotas are issued legally.

Сообщение The court seized on the orcas and belugas caught for sale in China появились сначала на Latin script’s.

Source: duv-vest.com