Biologist and orca researcher Alexandra Morton has had her attention turned to the fast-depleting salmon stocks of British Columbia, Canada for the past 10 years. Local salmon farming practices have been negatively impacting wild Fraser River sockeye salmon populations. Amongst other issues, salmon farms promote the spreading of disease, one of which (the salmon anemia virus) could "have a deep impact on survival of salmon in the Pacific Northwest". And what do resident ORCA of the Pacific Northwest eat? SALMON!
On the 16th August (just two weeks ago), Russian fishermen from Magadan near the Sea of Okhotsk, set free an orca calf trapped in netting. The young animal was guided into deeper waters.
According to the Russian news report, there were 3 adult orca waiting offshore for the young calf, so hopefully he/she was able to reunite with his family after the fishermen untangled the little one from fishing nets.
It is still legal to capture marine mammals for the public display industry from Russian waters, so it is good to see that this individual was returned back into the wild.
Orca in the Bay of Biscay: Organisation Cetacea (ORCA) Wildlife Officer Tom blogs about his encounter with the apex ocean predator (with photos)!
Remembering Captive Orca Junior: Kept in concrete warehouse at Marineland Canada for last five years of life
Following news of the recent allegations of sub-standard animal care against Marineland (Canada), the Orca Aware team felt that it is important to share the story of ORCA JUNIOR:
Junior was captured off the Icelandic coast in 1984 and died in 1994 at Marineland, where he was contained in an indoor warehouse, mostly alone, for the last 5 years of his life.
This article takes a look at what became of Junior's life, with a video interview from Cara Sands who uncovered this tragedy and footage of the conditions Junior was kept in. It also investigates the laws and regulations governing the keeping of marine mammals in Canada, as well as the history of marine mammal care at Marineland.
Marineland Ontario in Canada has recently been in the news due to allegations from ex-employees that the park is providing sub-standard animal care. The Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), as well as the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) conducted an inspection of the park last week. Following the inspection, Marineland issued a press-release stating that there were "no major issues" found but CAZA says that this is not the case and that the investigation is still ongoing:
Following the sad news of the orca who washed up in Uruguay, we wanted to remember the female orca who was found on Thurso Beach on the north cost of Scotland on the 10th June of this year. The orca was approximately 4.3m long and had very worn teeth, the state of which is indicative that she may have been a fish-eating individual. We are just waiting to hear back regarding the post-mortem results.
Sadly, an orca washed up yesterday (we believe) near La Pedrera, Uruguay - little is known about the populations off the Atlantic coasts of Uruguay and Brazil. They tend to be sighted in offshore waters near fishing vessels, where they help themselves to fish off the lines. Other smaller groups have been observed feeding on marine mammals, although sightings are rare. It is unclear where this orca has originated from.
Katharina Heyer of the Foundation for Information and Research on Marine Mammals (FIRMM) blogs about her encounter with orca and other cetaceans in the Strait of Gibraltar:
Dr. Jeffrey Ventre talks about his experiences working with orca in captivity to Alex Lewis of Cyber Whale Warrior:
A blog from OrcaLab about the Norhern resident I15 orca who can be heard on the hydrophones at Johnstone Strait, Canada: http://orcalab.org/blog/?p=438