The Lurkdragon's Lair

Fifty percent animals, fifty percent fandom, one-hundred percent nerd.

Posts tagged cetaceans

586 notes

trynottodrown:

Skulls of Marine Mammals (L to R)

  1. Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops truncatus
  2. Orca - Orcinus orca
  3. Dugong - Dugong Dugon
  4. West Indian Manatee - Trichechus manatus
  5. Steller’s Sea Cow - Hydromalis gigas
  6. Dwarf Sperm Whale - Kogia sima
  7. California Sea Lion - Zalophus californiaus
  8. Hooker’s Sea Lion- Phocarctos hookeri
  9. Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata
  10. Crab Eater Seal - Lobodon carinophagus

(via theoceanisourhome)

Filed under skulls death animal death marine life wildlife cetaceans sirenians pinnipeds dolphins whales bottlenose dolphins orcas dugongs west indian manatees steller's sea cows dwarf sperm whales california sea lions hooker's sea lions minke whales crab eater seals seals sea lions manatees tags longer than post queue

990 notes

trynottodrown:

Exclusive: Three Former Employees Reveal The Shocking Realities Of SeaWorld’s Dolphin Feeding Pools

Krissy Dodge: We weren’t allowed to give guests the animals’ names because if one died they don’t want any guests asking any questions. We were told if a guest asks you about a specific animal that died the joke was “tell them they went to Ohio [where SeaWorld used to have a park].” We said the animals are happy here. They get the best fish. The whole thing. We would say the life expectancy here is a lot longer than it is in the wild. 

Cynthia Payne: What I remember most about the dolphin pools was that there was nowhere for those animals to go to get away from one another. The center island [of the original SeaWorld Florida dolphin feeding pool; now the nursery pool] took about 30 percent of the pool, so it wasn’t much larger than a swimming pool and there was nowhere for those animals to go. And every single person would have their hands on them and try to pet them on their blowholes. My spiel was “Please stop reaching for their blowholes.” The dolphins would hate it. There was no peace for any of those animals anywhere. The majority of their feed came from these feeder booths [where guests would pay for a plate of fish to feed the dolphins that came up to them]. A lot of their food came from the public. What a completely stressful situation. The only way to get fed is to let strangers touch you left and right. 

Krissy Dodge: The night before a big event or a big park day, such as the 4th of July, they would say ‘don’t give [the dolphins] as much food because tomorrow we want them to be hungry and we want them to eat from the guests.’ People didn’t realize that they shouldn’t hold the tray [of fish] over the water. One of the dolphins while I was there figured out that if the kids held out the tray he could take the whole tray instead of just getting one fish. So within a matter of minutes all the other dolphins learned the same thing. They would go up to the guests and grab the whole tray right out of their hand. During this time one of the dolphins grabbed onto a child’s hand, and raked [i.e. gouged the skin with its teeth] the whole hand. I was the one that had to talk to the parents and go to management. 

In the end the parents were soothed. They were given free park passes. They had one of the Animal Care staff get inside the wall and walk around [the pool] to tell people over and over and over not to put the tray over the pool. For the dolphins it was something new in their environment that we were walking along the pool ledge. They would come up to us and bite our ankles and grab onto our ankles. It hurt, but we weren’t allowed to show any reaction because then the dolphins would get a kick out of it and keep doing it. We’d have guests ask, ‘Does that hurt?’ and we’d say ‘Oh no, it’s not bad at all. They are just playing.’ When really, it hurt pretty bad. Enough to let you know, ‘I could really hurt you if I wanted.’

Dolphin Rodeo

Taking care of a large group of often untrained dolphins presented some interesting Animal Care issues. The need to take regular blood samples, and to weigh the dolphins, among other routine husbandry practices, was particularly challenging. 

Jim Horton: [Before Key West] SeaWorld had a smaller feeding pool. It was a long oval pool with a big island in middle. We had to go in there twice a year and catch every dolphin. And do a physical. The physicals were hard. We would basically drain the pool, about knee deep. [It had] somewhere around 20 dolphins. And we’d have a net or a couple of nets and we would single [the dolphins] out one by one and jump on them. The dolphins never went after us. Some would put up a fight, some wouldn’t. It was very random, but you knew who would struggle and who wouldn’t … usually. This was based on age, sex and personality. Some didn’t care, to some it was a game, some were unaccustomed to it. Two to four-year olds would always thrash around requiring at least four people to restrain, Older males and females were mellow, even Ralph [a more aggressive male dolphin]. But for human safety, there was a minimum of 4 to 6 guys required to hold the animals stable, and a few animals required as many people as possible. The standard was 2 guys at the head, 2 at the dorsal and 2 on the tail, one guy driving the crane [suspending the stretcher], one guy directing the crane and 2 guys to spread the stretcher from each end. 

A highly fractious animal would require us to lock our bodies together with additional staff. Sometimes, we did not have enough people and just did the best we could with what we had. There was always a vet or two on hand and a supervisor calling the shots, but we became a well-oiled machine over time and just a look in your eye to your team and we all knew when we were going to make our move. We got very good at what we were doing and we protected each other and prevented the animals from hurting themselves as well. We knew how certain ones liked to be held. Some animals, it appeared as if it were a game, just to see if they could throw us off, testing their testosterone, usually teenage males. We knew if the animal did throw us off, then he would repeat the attempt in the future, possibly causing injury to us or them, a learned behavior. The ones who were capable of doing it and had a history of getting away from us were the toughest. Some would wait until they felt the team relax just a little bit and then bust loose, sending bodies flying. But this rarely happened as we honed our skills. Occasionally we’d have to get a young calf whose Mom was still in the pool. Mom would do anything trying to get the calf away from us. I broke my nose once on [the vet’s] head. I had the calf. He was trying to stop the female from getting to me, and she whacked him. And he went flying and his head went right into my face and knocked me practically unconscious. 

We did not mess with calves until they were one year old. But when we did at that age of one year and up, the little ones really put up a good fight as this was something new. So that generally took two to three guys. But then the mothers would come after us in attempts to dislodge the calf. A coordinated effort was required to grab both mother and calf at the same time and hold them very close together, face to face. We would handle only one animal at a time, unless it was a mom and calf. So it was always a battle in that pool and those animals weren’t really trained to do much. They did very little. This physical was only done twice a year, on a schedule. It was important to have baseline data (blood values) on each animal to determine possible infection if the animal was acting sick. Animals were also weighed in the stretcher to be certain that they were gaining or maintaining weight. Generally, it took about 12 staff minimum on these days, starting at first light. All of the animals were fed lots of food afterwards. By 10 a.m. and the first public feeding, you would never know that this had transpired based on the animals’ behavior. The weights varied from 100 to 700 pounds. Each weight was guessed by us, as the scale was calculating and we got very good at weight judgment. This became a very efficient tool when having to guess the medication dosage for a sick [wild] animal in the field where knowing the weight was very important to the veterinarian. 

Krissy Dodge: [At SeaWorld Texas] every six months they would do what they called a ‘dolphin rodeo.’ Those animals weren’t highly trained. Basically their job was to take fish from people, so they didn’t understand all the husbandry [behaviors], like giving a blood sample. So what they would do every six months is lower the water in the pool down to a foot or so. You have all these dolphins on the bottom of the pool and it was kind of a scary thing even though I think they were probably used to it. But they didn’t like it. And they would sort of flounder and start to panic. and it was our job to basically wrestle them and grab them. So one person was in charge of jumping on the animal, and the other was in charge of coming and grabbing the other side so that they are kind of restrained. And at that point they would be led over to a stretcher which was lowered down into the bottom of the pool. Once the animal was in the stretcher it would usually calm right down. But trying to get them to that point was just a crazy thing. I was thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’

Aberrant Behavior 

The Dolphin Rodeo was not the only challenge in managing Seaworld’s dolphin feeding pools. The feeding pools attract casual visitors as well as dedicated dolphin fans, who come out day after day and get to know all the dolphins. But not all guests behave well, which can makes Animal Care’s work around the dolphin pools difficult. 

Jim Horton: We had groupies that would come out to that pool and they would be there all day. A handful of them. And the animals, after a while, would just flock to them because they recognize them, and they didn’t even need food. One of them we had to expel because he was fingering the female dolphins. And then licking his fingers. And the females were digging it. The groupies were a problem.

[Note: Other sources have told me about this same problem, how some of the dolphins would recognize groupies who liked to touch them sexually and swim up and roll over in anticipation of what was to come, and how difficult it was for Animal Care staff to detect and police this sort of guest behavior because much of it took place under the water and there was an understandable fear of falsely accusing a guest. SeaWorld was also contacted about this allegation, but they haven’t responded. 

It was also impossible to keep the pools clear of objects, which the dolphins often ingested. 

Jim Horton: People were throwing coins in the pools all the time. Idiots. We had one young one year old [dolphin] that turned white. And we thought it was some kind of genetic mutation. The animal died during the day. So we pulled him out and put him on a cart, spraying him with water and rubbing him down so it looked like he was still alive while we were going through park. What we found out was that the white dolphin had a stomach full of coins and rings and jewelry. Everything was perfectly shiny except the pennies. They were the only things that were dissolving. 

After 1982, I think, they started making pennies out of zinc and coating them in copper. So it was zinc poisoning. The zinc killed the dolphin. We had another dolphin in there, a young calf, that ate four coffee cans of coins and jewelry. It took six months to get all the coins out of her stomach. There was really a unique invention by Dr. Walsh [a vet]. He was really brilliant. And what he did was he used an endoscope and he ran two plastic tubes along the length of the scope — hard plastic — and at the very end was a little net made out of panty hose. So we’d put a piece of PVC pipe, padded and foamed, inside the dolphins mouth, and he’d put the endoscope in, all the way into the stomach, and behind the pile of coins. [He’d] push on the plastic tubing and manipulate it so the net would extend and scoop. Then we’d retract it and pull the tube all the way out. 

We’d do that for about an hour every few days until we finally cleaned that animal out. [It came to] $30-plus, and four completely full coffee cans. The animal’s stomach was completely full of coins. And sharp, pointy stuff, like name tags or brooches. How it did not perforate I have no idea. So then we used that technique on some of the other animals and basically cleaned them all out. They did a spiel before every feeding. Please do not drop anything. There were signs everywhere, but people would still do it. You’d go over to the alligator exhibit and you’d see the alligators cruising around with coins on their backs. People are idiots. It was also a problem with the walruses. We had to wrestle quite a few walruses, because they were impacted. You’d throw the net over them and you’re just hanging on and they are throwing you everywhere. I was part of several walrus surgeries. Baby pacifiers were big. There would be a wad of baby pacifiers and a bunch of paint chips from the pool, and stuff like that blocking the intestine. 

read more

(via freedomfororcas)

Filed under beastiality cw animal abuse animal death (if you follow the link to the next half of the article) dolphins bottlenose dolphins cetaceans cetacean freedom pinnipeds sea lions sea world what the fuck long posts dolphin petting pools

315 notes

thelonelywhale:

As a paleo-artist, one of my biggest pet peeves are prehistoric whales reconstructed not as whales but as sinewy, snarling, shrink-wrapped marine reptiles. It’s just not a plausible reconstruction, even if it’s highly speculative, and it paints an incorrect image in the public eye. Granted, this is a struggle I’ve exlpored in all forms of paleo-art and reconstructive illustration. But the whales have really been getting to me recently.
Here are some recontructions of Basilosaurus, if you don’t know what I mean (one by Karen Carr, the other by an artist I could not determine):


These snakey, reptilious reconstructions may stem from the fact that Basilosaurus, one of the first early cetaceans to be found, was believed to be a reptile when first discovered (hence the name). Maybe we simply haven’t fully shaken that mindset.
But still! Even the damn Smithsonian, which has such a wonderful collection of ancient cetaceans, is at fault in this:

Don’t even get me started on their recently-closed dinosaur hall. Thank the lord they’re finally renovating that dated piece of crap.
I have struggled to find a way to reconstruct these animals so that they are just a little bit more believeable. Up top I’ve done a really really quick sketch of Dorudon. I tried to not only make its body more streamlined and whale-like (because Dorudon has a lovely, almost but not quite modern-looking skeleton), but I also tried to give it markings similar to what we find on modern cetaceans for camouflage. Because hey, who’s to say they didn’t have ‘em? I tried to make them familiar but not directly copied from any modern species.
Aaaaand end rant.

thelonelywhale:

As a paleo-artist, one of my biggest pet peeves are prehistoric whales reconstructed not as whales but as sinewy, snarling, shrink-wrapped marine reptiles. It’s just not a plausible reconstruction, even if it’s highly speculative, and it paints an incorrect image in the public eye. Granted, this is a struggle I’ve exlpored in all forms of paleo-art and reconstructive illustration. But the whales have really been getting to me recently.

Here are some recontructions of Basilosaurus, if you don’t know what I mean (one by Karen Carr, the other by an artist I could not determine):

These snakey, reptilious reconstructions may stem from the fact that Basilosaurus, one of the first early cetaceans to be found, was believed to be a reptile when first discovered (hence the name). Maybe we simply haven’t fully shaken that mindset.

But still! Even the damn Smithsonian, which has such a wonderful collection of ancient cetaceans, is at fault in this:

Don’t even get me started on their recently-closed dinosaur hall. Thank the lord they’re finally renovating that dated piece of crap.

I have struggled to find a way to reconstruct these animals so that they are just a little bit more believeable. Up top I’ve done a really really quick sketch of Dorudon. I tried to not only make its body more streamlined and whale-like (because Dorudon has a lovely, almost but not quite modern-looking skeleton), but I also tried to give it markings similar to what we find on modern cetaceans for camouflage. Because hey, who’s to say they didn’t have ‘em? I tried to make them familiar but not directly copied from any modern species.

Aaaaand end rant.

(via derangedhyena-delphinidae)

Filed under long posts marine life cetaceans basilosaurus dorudon prehistoric life queue

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endcetaceanexploitation:

blackfishsound:

via Orca Research Trust:

Today, at 11am Dr Ingrid Visser received a call from Bob Brook that he and his crew had found an orca entangled in a cray pot line. He remained with the orca for the two hours it took for Steve Hathaway, Dan Godoy and Ingrid to arrive on the scene. Keeping the orca afloat were other members of its pod, including its presumed calf. Ingrid has identified the orca as Dian, named after the famous gorilla researcher, Dian Fossey. Dian the orca was entangled in a line approximately 40 m long, attached to a ‘pot’ used for catching crayfish. The pot was weighted with concrete blocks of about 35 kg. Dian remained calm during the disentanglement and she was successfully released and followed for a number of kilometres afterwards, to ensure that she was ok and remained with the other orca. If you see orca in NZ waters please call 0800 SEE ORCA. Thank you to everyone who helped save her and good luck out there Dian!


Happy ending :)

endcetaceanexploitation:

blackfishsound:

via Orca Research Trust:

Today, at 11am Dr Ingrid Visser received a call from Bob Brook that he and his crew had found an orca entangled in a cray pot line. He remained with the orca for the two hours it took for Steve Hathaway, Dan Godoy and Ingrid to arrive on the scene. Keeping the orca afloat were other members of its pod, including its presumed calf. Ingrid has identified the orca as Dian, named after the famous gorilla researcher, Dian Fossey. Dian the orca was entangled in a line approximately 40 m long, attached to a ‘pot’ used for catching crayfish. The pot was weighted with concrete blocks of about 35 kg. Dian remained calm during the disentanglement and she was successfully released and followed for a number of kilometres afterwards, to ensure that she was ok and remained with the other orca. If you see orca in NZ waters please call 0800 SEE ORCA. Thank you to everyone who helped save her and good luck out there Dian!

Happy ending :)

Filed under orcas new zealand orcas ingrid visser happy marine life wildlife dolphins cetaceans long posts queue

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http://cute-whales.tumblr.com/post/96756891703/bondedwiththesea-l-41-has-seaworld-condemned

derangedhyena-delphinidae:

fightingforwhales:

bondedwiththesea:

l-41:

Has SeaWorld condemned the Taiji hunts yet? Or are they still turning a blind eye? How can the claim to be all about saving the oceans when they choose to ignore the awful annual slaughter of hundreds of cetaceans? They could have a huge influence and really…

I also recall reading/hearing somewhere that they said they refuse to condemn or deny support to aquariums who actively participate in drives.

I think it might have been in that interview with Brad Andrews, but I’ll have to double check.

Since I’ve been reading about this stuff, I’ve seen similar discussions come up every year around the Taiji hunt. And I’ve seen that video flung back as a “response” more than once.

Seaworld tripe does not amuse me. Let’s take a look.

The linked video was released in 2010, a year after The Cove. Text because nobody likes to hear them talk/give them pageviews:


"Seaworld’s position on the drive fishery […] our position is very clear. We are opposed to the drive fisheries, we do not support the drive fisheries. Our opinion of the drive fisheries has never changed in the history of our company. we’ve been appalled and opposed to the idea of driving animals up onto the beach and slaughtering them.

Back in the 1980s we took a little different approach and we decided to save a few of those animals that were being driven up, and being slaughtered, so we had a few of those animals, and we saved them, and brought them back to our parks. As we’ve progressed through history, and as we’ve evolved as a company, we’ve realised that that may not be the best message, and we want to make sure that we’re absolutely sending that message clear, that we want to put a stop to the drive fisheries.


(also want to point out that the guy in the video was ~inspired~ by Seaworld to… you guessed it… work at Seaworld. )

Let’s compare to excerpts from Fred Jacobs, from a 2009 article (1 year prior, in response to The Cove) 


Jacobs, for example, refused to condemn those who still buy from Taiji. He likened such purchases to a salvage operation that prevents some animals from being killed. “We stopped [buying from drive hunts] and have not resumed, not because we are ashamed, but it was not something that we cared to be involved with any more. It is difficult to go over there even if you are saving animals, and that is how we viewed it.”
-

Sea World, the largest marine park enterprise in the world, would seem to have a great deal of clout in industry organizations. But aside from issuing statements, Jacobs could not name any action Sea World has taken or plans to take.

Sea World is trapped, he argued, by its history. “I do not know how to answer what our position is. We are opposed [to the hunts] but we find ourselves defending against the kind of criticism O’Barry levels at us and we are distracted by that. And, at one point, we collected animals from one of these hunts. We do not want to be accused of being disingenuous … if we go to an aquarium in China and say ‘You guys should not be involved,’ the first thing out of their mouths will be ‘Well, you did it’ and we cannot argue that point.”

In addition, O’Barry points out…

This reluctance to call out others, and then take action, is O’Barry’s biggest beef. […]  “They know who the dealer is: Ted Hammond in Taiji,” O’Barry said, identifying Asia-based American veterinarian and amusement park consultant Ted Hammond. “They could get him under control by isolating him from the rest of the community! Sea World and these other parks know who traffics from Japan and the Solomon islands. They should see what they could do to stop them other than have some politically correct statement. They have to make up their minds what they want to do about it.” But they won’t.

Hammond has been instrumental in brokering Taiji sales and has consulted for the Solomon Islands capture operations. But he remains a member in good standing of major international organizations. For example, a 2008 “Proceedings of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine,” edited by Sea World’s chief vet, lists him as both a “founding member” and an “honorary life member.”

Bonus:

Jacobs denied that the international market for animals spawns drive hunts. “The question I would ask Ric O’Barry is if there were no dolphinariums, would the drive fishery sustain itself? Would it collapse under its own weight? It’s centuries old!

I believe that is widely accepted as/demonstrably false. Though yes, there is a long history of Taiji as a whaling town with many traditional practices, every source I have ever seen talk about the dolphin/small cetacean drive hunts stress that they only began on a commercial scale/in its current format in the 60s/70s. ([x], for example.) If anyone has information that counters this, please share.
___________

So for a recap, Seaworld’s supposed “official position” on the drive fisheries as of 2010 is:
>they are “appalled” and opposed
>they do not support
>they want to put a stop to
>their "position is very clear"

Yet from a year prior’s on-high, the verbage is:
>no meaningful action taken
>refusal to condemn
>no moral stance, just distancing the business
>’I do not know how to answer what our position is’

What reason do I have to believe anything said in the PR video? 

Are there any newer actions taken, statements against, or updates on their feelings about the drive fishery? All I have seen is 4+ years of their complete inaction (+filing a permit to import an animal of dubious origin), which lends a lot more support to the latter non-position than the one enshrined in the cheery video (aka empty words.)

Filed under long posts taiji cetaceans cetacean freedom dolphin slaughter seaworld queue

64 notes

mojavedolphins:

J-37 Hy’Shqa, (“Hy’shka”), F (2001). Hy’Shqa had her first offspring, J-49, in August 2012. Hy’Shqa’s family consists of living siblings Suttles (J-40) and Se-Yi’-Chn (J-45), mother Samish (J-14), and great-grandmother Granny (J-2). “Hy’Shqa” is a Coast Salish/Samish word for “blessing” or “thank you.” The name was give to her during a traditional potlatch ceremony held by the Samish Nation on October 6, 2001.


(via Blackberry (J-27))

mojavedolphins:

J-37 Hy’Shqa, (“Hy’shka”), F (2001). Hy’Shqa had her first offspring, J-49, in August 2012. Hy’Shqa’s family consists of living siblings Suttles (J-40) and Se-Yi’-Chn (J-45), mother Samish (J-14), and great-grandmother Granny (J-2). “Hy’Shqa” is a Coast Salish/Samish word for “blessing” or “thank you.” The name was give to her during a traditional potlatch ceremony held by the Samish Nation on October 6, 2001.

(via dreams-of-whales)

Filed under cetaceans hy'shqa the orca orcas marine life wildlife dolphins breaching