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Archive for the 'Whales' Category

Marine Mammal Center: Rescue & rehab of ill & injured marine mammals

Harbor seal pup

The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals – primarily elephant seals, harbor seals and California sea lions – and to the study of their health.
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Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010
Under: Marine mammal, Marine Mammal Center, Sea lions, Seals, Whales | No Comments »

Local talks: Humpback Whales of San Francisco, A Journey Home

Humpback breach. Photo by Alaska Whale Foundation
Humpback breach Malleson

Fred Sharpe, Ph. D, Alaska Whale Foundation, will be in the San Francisco Bay Area this week on Thursday and Friday ( March 4-5), to give talks about humpback whales (“Humpback Whales of San Francisco: A Journey Home”). Here are the times and locations:

*** 7 p.m. Thursday, March 4, at Benicia Camel Barn, 2024 Camel Road, Benicia.

*** 7 p.m. Friday, March 5, Imani Center, 3276 Sonoma Blvd., Suite B, Vallejo.

*** Suggested donation for these talks is $5. Info line: 360-808-0579

Below is an interesting article Dr. Sharpe wrote for us to tweak your interest in his humpback lectures.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
Under: Humpback Whale, Whales | 1 Comment »

Copenhagen: Animals in trouble, the 12 Species of Christmas

Caribou crossing. Photo by Flickr user Phillie Casablanca used under a Creative Commons License
Caribou Crossing

As world leaders convene during the 12 Days of Copenhagen, many animals are already in trouble due to climate change. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has identified 12 species looking for hope from the 12 Days of Copenhagen:

1 — Caribou. With rapid climate change impacting their circumpolar habitat, some types of reindeer, or caribou, have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Of 43 major herds that have been monitored during the past decade, 34 are declining; none so dramatically as the Peary caribou of the High Arctic, whose numbers have declined from some 50,000 in the 1960s to only 7,800 today.
IFAW recently petitioned the U.S. Government to list Peary and Dolphin-Union caribou under the Endangered Species Act.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Under: Caribou, Cats, dogs, Elephants, Grizzly bear, Lions, Penguins, Polar bears, Sea turtle, Seals, Walrus, Whales | 1 Comment »

Judge protects whales, rules against Bush & Navy

Environmental groups seeking to protect whales from the possibly harmful effects of sonar scored a legal victory against the Navy and the Bush administration.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled Monday (Feb. 4) that the Navy is not exempt from complying with the National Environmental Policy Act and a court injunction that created a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California.

The president signed a waiver Jan. 15 exempting the Navy and its anti-submarine warfare exercises from the injunction.

The judge also said she has “significant concerns about the constitutionality of the President’s exemption,” but that “a finding on this issue is not necessary” to reinstate the sonar injunction.

Scientists have said loud sonar can damage the brains and ears of marine mammals, and may mask the echoes from natural sonar that some whales and dolphins use to locate food.

Whales throughout the Pacific reportedly showed their approval of the ruling by spraying HUGE spouts of water up through their blowholes.

Ocean waters all along the California coastline looked like they were covered with giant lawn sprinklers.

Let’s hear it for the whales! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
Under: Navy, President Bush, Sonar, Whales | No Comments »

Bush exempts Navy and its sonar from protecting whales and dolphins

A federal judge ruled the Navy was violating an environmental law (Coastal Zone Management Act) when it used powerful sonar off the California coastline during training exercises. The judge ordered the Navy to use special safety measures to protect whales and other marine mammals from the LOUD sonar noises that harmed them during sonar exercises.

The Natural Resources Defense Council had sued to force the Navy to lessen the harm of its sonar exercises. In November a federal appeals court said the sonar problem needed to be fixed. Scientists say loud sonar can damage marine mammal brains and ears. Sonar may also mask the echoes some whales and dolphins listen for when they use their own natural sonar to locate food.

President Bush has responded to the above court ruling by exempting the Navy from the environmental law in the name of national security. Bush claimed that complying with the environmental law would “undermine the Navy’s ability to conduct realistic training exercises that are necessary to ensure the combat effectiveness of carrier and expeditionary strike groups.”

“The president’s action is an attack on the rule of law,” said Joel Reynolds, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Santa Monica. “By exempting the Navy from basic safeguards under both federal and state law, the president is flouting the will of Congress, the decision of the California Coastal Commission and a ruling by the federal court.”


** Did the Navy really violate the law, as the judge said, by using its powerful sonar equipment and injuring marine mammals during training exercises along the California coast?

** Could the Navy follow the federal judge’s ruling to use special safety measures “to protect whales and other marine mammals” and still conduct adequate training exercises?

** Was Bush right to exempt the Navy from having to protect whales and other marine mammals?

** Should conservationists be filing papers with the District Court to challenge Bush’s exemption? (They plan to do this.)

** So what’s the big deal about a few whales and dolphins?

I’m interested in your thoughts on this. Please let me know what you think by clicking on “leave a comment” below and adding yours. Thanks. /gary

Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008
Under: Dolphins, Navy, President Bush, Sonar, Whales | No Comments »


Delta and Dawn the humpback whales
A poetic look by S. R. Chapman of Benicia at the mother and daughter humpback whales and their trip up the Sacramento River and their encounters with us “helpful” humans before they finally returned to the sea. Interesting.

Delta and Dawn
     came to visit us
On a quiet and sunny day —
Were they lost, were they hungry,
     were they lonely,
Did they come just to play?
The stars and seasons
and constellations —
instinct and sheer will
Took them off their course
     for an unknown “reason” —
But we remember them —
We always will.
     We asked, “have you seen the
     whales today?
     Did they get help?
     Are they OK?”
We tracked them with every device
known to man
But they were guided
by an Unseen Hand!
     I know they are safe
     I know they live
Their visit is forever in our minds —
They helped us realize that some
     things transcend time —
     Some things transcend space —
     Some things transcend all the
     mundane “things” of life.
Our visit with the whales will be in our
memory and in our hearts FOREVER
because they represent something
bigger than we are
and something truly worthwhile.
— by S. R. Chapman, Wed., 5-30-2007, Benicia, CA, 5:45 p.m.

Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007
Under: Whales | No Comments »


Hard to believe — they’re deciding who can and can’t kill these intelligent mammals
Even as Delta and Dawn the humpback whales are nearing the Golden Gate Bridge and their freedom back into the welcoming waves of the sea, the International Whaling Commission is meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, and trying to decide if they’ll let Japan kill and carve up humpback whales for sushi.

On Tuesday, they “overwhelmingly” approved a 5-year quota extension for Alaska Eskimos that allows them to continue to hunt bowhead whales.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, Japan has long sought “community whaling” status which would give it quotas similar to those allowing Alaska natives and other indigenous groups to hunt the big mammals. Japan already kills more than 1,000 whales a year and sells the meat under a so-called scientific research provision allowed by the IWC, which enacted a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

It’s not much of a “moratorium” when you have all those loopholes to get around it.

The IWC is expected to take up Japan’s quota request today.

Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory, also wants to increase its aboriginal quota of minke whales and add bowheads and humpback whales (an endangered species!) to its hunt.

AP writer Rachel D’oro also reported in her Tuesday story that Japan’s Joji Morishita, the alternate IWC commissioner for Japan, met in close-door talks with representatives from anti-commercial whaling nations, including New Zealand, Australia and the United States, who vowed to avoid deals allowing commercial whaling by Japan. They are also outraged by Japan’s plan to kill 50 humpback whales as part of its “science” program.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area are holding their collective breath and crossing all their toes and fingers and hoping with all their might that Delta and Dawn make it back out of the Bay and into the ocean.

Good luck, little whales. Watch out for those big, bad, mean ‘ol whalers.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Under: Whales | No Comments »


I still think they should back off and let the whales do their thing. We’ve been doing OUR thing for long enough.

Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2007
Under: Whales | 2 Comments »


Maybe the whales are too disoriented by all the ruckus
Nothing seems to be working to get the whales to swim back into the Bay and out into the ocean under the Golden Gate Bridge. So how about backing off and starting from scratch?

** Pull back all the boats and helicopters until they are out-of-sight of the whales.

** Turn off all the boat motors.

** Stop traffic going across any of the bridges if/when the whales approach them.

** Basically make things as calm and normal and natural — and quiet — as possible. No unnatural vibrations anywhere.

Maybe all the noise and activity … and banging on pipes … and playing of this and that whale feeding sounds … and now threatening them with the sounds of attacking killer whales … is so disorienting that those whales simply don’t know what to do.

The swimming around in circles and slapping of their tails on the water seems to indicate that. Actions of distress, confusion and irritation.

Back off, return the river area around them to normal and wait and see what happens.

It couldn’t hurt.

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2007
Under: Whales | 3 Comments »


How do you lose two BIG whales in a little river?
I was listening to the news this morning when they announced that they had lost the two humpback whales. They lost two whales??

Here’s what the Associated Press had to say about it:

By Marcus Wohlsen and Judith Prieve

Article Launched: 05/22/2007 07:20:13 AM PDT
RIO VISTA — Two wayward whales, last seen just south of the Rio Vista Bridge at 9 p.m. Monday, are still missing in action this morning.
Here’s the latest from the scene:
8:30 a.m. Flotilla awaits in Rio Vista.
A CHP helicopter will soon begin an air search in the area of the Rio Vista Bridge and beyond in an effort to try to locate the two wayward whales.
Earlier this morning, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter failed to locate the missing duo despite repeated sweeps of the area.

Hey, you don’t suppose the whales finally escaped from that huge crowd of paparazzi during the night, do you?

While they’re looking for the whales, did I happen to mention that this week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week?

This has always been a special week for the PG&E meter readers. Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Every day, PG&E meter readers, gas service representatives and other employees enter yards and homes to read meters, re-light gas pilots and provide other types of customer service. During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 20 through May 26, PG&E reminds customers to make sure their dog is safe and secure whenever a PG&E employee is scheduled to visit your home or business.

“Each year approximately 50 PG&E meter readers are moderately to severely attacked by dogs. Because of these attacks, PG&E provides meter readers the opportunity to attend a dog bite prevention course that informs employees about dog behavior and temperament, and how they can protect themselves in the event of an attack.

“PG&E recognizes dogs as pets and works with customers to keep animals safely away when employees are scheduled to visit their home or business. Customers can find out when their meter is scheduled to be read by visiting or by calling PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5000. These schedules are subject to change, so please re-check the day before a scheduled meter read.

“Here are some tips to provide a safe environment for your dog and PG&E employees:
** Restrain or relocate your dog when it is time for PG&E employees to read your meter.
** Confine your dog as necessary. If the employee is outside, keep your dog inside. If the employee is inside, keep your dog outside. If the employee must work near your dog, make sure it is secure. Dogs may become more protective in the presence of their owners.
** Post a Beware of Dog sign on your fence or house to avoid any surprises.
** Leave a note on your meter explaining that you have a dog and how it is confined.
** Be sure all vaccinations and inoculations for rabies and parasites are up to date.

“For more information about PG&E, please visit

Hey, they just spotted those missing whales about 3 miles north of the Rio Vista Bridge!

Now, back to our story …

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
Under: Whales | 1 Comment »