Orca in the North Sea: Video Footage
Orca in the North Sea on the BBC's Autumnwatch (2009) - a must see!
Surfing With Orca
In 2009, a New Zealand man was pictured surfing alongside three orca - just check out the photo!
With less than 200 individuals, orca found in NZ waters are classified as Nationally Critical and it is important to remember that it is illegal to swim with them in the wild there!
For more information on NZ orca visit the Orca Research Trust website and Facebook page - www.orcaresearch.org
Wherever you are in the world, make sure you always find out the laws specific to that location which outline the regulations for approaching wild orca.
UK-based Merlin Entertainments Group and aquarium division Sea Life has spoken up against sister company SeaWorld. Parent company Blackstone Group "now finds itself a global house divided; the parent of two vast entertainment companies scornful of each other’s fundamental business models."
Cetaceans "are wide-ranging, highly intelligent and social animals which suffer acute sensory deprivation in any kind of unnatural confinement," says divisional director of Merlin Entertainments (Midway) USA, Janine DiGioacchino. DiGioacchino goes on to reveal plans for a retirement sanctuary for captive dolphins, "“we are urgently progressing plans to create a natural sanctuary where these and hopefully others from other public attractions around the world, can be re-homed, retired and if feasible, rehabilitated."
For the full story, read investigative journalist David Kirby's latest article: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/11/12/seaworlds-sister-company-fights-whale-and-dolphin-captivity
To read more about the statement released by Merlin (and to find out about the statement released by the National Aquarium), please visit: http://www.wdcs.org/news.php?select=1344
Blog All About Orca Encounters
Check out this blog sharing Pacific Northwest orca encounters - from as recent as this Saturday (Nov 10th)!
Application to Build Tidal Turbines in Critical Habitat for Threatened Northern Resident Orca
There is an application processing to build tidal turbines in Blackney Pass at the entrance to Johnstone Strait in Canada. This is critical habitat for the Northern resident orca community of British Columbia. Paul Spong of OrcaLab is urgently asking for people to post their concerns about the project on the application before the November 14th deadline:
"This site is one of the most important components of designated Critical Habitat for the threatened Northern Resident orca community. It is also of huge importance to recovering humpback whales. The proposal is for an investigative Licence of Occupation, meaning that it will be years before anything happens, but if it is granted, a clear path to development will be opened. It's a huge threat, and we're urgently trying to mobilise opposition in the form of letters or comments to the responsible government agencies."
To find out more about the proposal and why the site is critical for the Northern residents, read Jackie Hildering's blog at The Marine Detective, where you will also find a sample text that you may use to comment on the application:http://themarinedetective.com/2012/11/10/tidal-turbines-in-whale-epicentre-hell-no/
To comment on the application, please visithttp://arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=34327 and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Reading this 2008 article shows us just how far we have come over the last four years with our knowledge and understanding of orca in UK waters - and we are still a long way to go yet!
New Orca Conservation Publication, Co-Authored by Ocean Scientist Fired by Canadian Government
A new paper about the development of a bioaccumulation model and an environmental guideline for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) to protect resident killer whales in British Columbia (Canada) and surrounding areas has been accepted in Environmental Science & Technology.
Title: Habitat-Based PCB Environmental Quality Criteria for the Protection of Endangered Killer Whales (Orcinus orca).
Authors: Juan José Alava, Peter S. Ross, Cara Lachmuth, John K. B. Ford, Brendan E. Hickie, and Frank A. P. C. Gobas.
Dr. Peter Ross formerly of Canada's DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans), co-author on this paper, has recently been fired by the Canadian Government, who wiped out the entire research department. Peter has done ground-breaking research on contaminants in marine mammals for years. However, the Canadian Government decided that was not where their priorities lie.
To find out more about the recent mass cuts of ocean scientists, visit:
Follow the link to read the abstract and access the paper: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es303062q
New Zealand orca put on a fabulous show for on-lookers this Tuesday, feeding on stingrays in Whangateau Harbour, Omaha.
A mother sea otter escaped a group of orca by jumping aboard a motorboat in Tutka Bay, Alaska in October. Unfortunately, her baby did not make it.
Follow the link for the full story, as well as video footage:
Merit Procedure Hearing of Morgan's Court Case Which Took Place at the Amsterdam District Courts on Thursday 1st November 2012
To find out more about orca Morgan's court hearing and how it went on the day, visit:
The Free Morgan Foundation summary of the hearing is also now available to read, with all documents available for download -
"The court hearing started just after 0900 and finished at 1715, lasting for 8 hours, with short recesses interspersed throughout the day. Three Judges were attending court but only the senior one talked.
Present in the room included representatives from the Orca Coalition and their lawyer; representatives from the Free Morgan Foundation, including expert board members Dr. Ingrid Visser, Lara Pozzato, Jeff Foster and Jean-Michel Cousteau; representatives from the Dolfinarium Harderwijk, including their veterinarian van Elk, the park director Mr. Foppen and their lawyer; representatives from Loro Parque, including head of research Javier Almunia; the representative from the Dutch Secretary of State for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and the Ministry CITES expert; members of the general public from all over the world supporting Morgan’s planned rehabilitation and release. The courtroom was full.
Throughout the entire court hearing, the Judges appeared sympathetic to Morgan’s case and emphasised on multiple occasions that they wanted to perform their roles responsibly by giving due time, care and consideration to Morgan’s case.
Free Morgan Foundation expert board members Dr. Ingrid Visser and Jeff Foster, who both have 20+ years experience working with wild and captive orcas, spoke with expert authority about the observations they made when visiting Morgan on separate and multiple occasions at Loro Parque. They spoke clearly, concisely and presented all evidence and opinions in a scientific manner. They both answered the Judge’s questions honestly and objectively.
Morgan’s lawyer (working on behalf of the Orca Coalition) raised concerns with the transport permit that was issued by the Dutch Government to the Dolfinarium Harderwijk to move Morgan to Loro Parque. He argued the permit has been breached, the clauses included were not respected and the permit itself should never have been issued because it is fundamentally unlawful.
The Dolfinarium Harderwijk representatives constantly repeated themselves throughout the court hearing, to the point that the Judges noted this and asked them to stop. They maintained throughout the hearing that Morgan’s well-being was not an issue that should be raised in this hearing and that the question of her rehabilitation and release from a legal point of view was irrelevant. The Dolfinarium Harderwijk supplied very little evidence, scientific or otherwise, for their case and were unable to substantiate any such evidence that they did submit with citations, references, identification, facts or details when cross-questioned by the Judge or Morgan’s lawyer.
Javier Almunia, head of research, read a few statements on behalf of Loro Parque. Almunia contradicted all observations made about Morgan and her situation by Dr. Visser and Foster. He admitted that stereotypic (abnormal repetitive) behaviours are a common problem in captive orcas but contradicted himself by saying that Morgan’s behaviours and emotions are “normal”. Almunia was unable to provide any details about Morgan’s hearing abilities, despite flagging this as an issue observed (solely) by Loro Parque. His reasons for not yet having Morgan’s hearing abilities tested, despite Loro Parque claiming for a year that Morgan may be deaf, were discredited by Jeff Foster’s expert knowledge of testing for hearing problems in cetaceans.
Morgan’s lawyer explained that rehabilitating and releasing Morgan into the wild will benefit the conservation of the species, habitat and of the individual (Morgan). Morgan is a young, breeding female and currently, the Norwegian population are recovering from a decline. From his expert experience rehabilitating cetaceans (including orcas Keiko and Springer), Foster believes that Morgan 'is an excellent candidate' for rehabilitation and release."
The Free Morgan Foundation Twitter blog of Morgan's hearing, collated from tweets posted by the @Free_Morgan Foundation on the day of the hearing -