Posts tagged wildlife
Posts tagged wildlife
“When the whales at SeaWorld were played a sound recording of a group of whales made at sea, they all stopped moving in their tanks. Then one of them, Corky, began shaking violently. The tape was playing sounds of her family. “I have no idea if this creature shares any feelings that we know as humans, but her reaction reminded me of the times I heard messages from my own family when I was a hostage in Lebanon. I would feel great relief at knowing they were well, but also much sorrow and a sharpened longing to be reunited with them. “What is clear is that Corky could recognize her family’s sounds after years of separation…Knowing only this much I believe it is pointless and cruel to keep these animals apart for commercial reasons - to exploit them for commercial entertainment.” -John McCarthy, journalist
Bird Note: How Do Boreal Chickadees Survive the Winter?
These birds have ways of staying warm during the North’s frigid weather.
At the edge of the Arctic lies the vast boreal forest. In summer, it’s home to legions of nesting birds, from warblers to loons.
In early autumn, nearly all these birds depart for warmer points south. By November, this dark land of spruce and firs is a cold, forbidding place.
Yet one remarkable songbird stays behind: the boreal chickadee. This tiny, dark-capped fluff-ball lives here year-round. How do Boreal Chickadees survive the harsh winter? …
via: Audubon Magazine - Bird Note
photo: David Ardnt/Wikimedia Commons
I’ve been thinking a lot about strange fruits since last week’s episode on the ghosts of evolution that reside in our produce aisle. Lots of people liked that episode. That makes me very happy. In that spirit, I present this question:
What’s the most annoying fruit ever?
The answer, of course, is the pomegranate. But this isn’t about the pomegranate. It’s about the mango. And the mango comes in a very close second on my Fruit Annoyance Scale™.
I’m pretty handy in the kitchen. I know how to cut one. I’m just left disappointed every time. So much deliciousness remains stuck to that wacky, disc-shaped seed. My only choices are to throw it away or to gnaw at it like I’m afflicted with some sort of crazed, herbivoric bloodlust, covering myself in stickiness and drawing many a raised eyebrow from my wife.
But that little trick, that hidden seed, is part of the mango’s evolutionary magic, its very key to survival and reproduction.
If you watched the video, you remember that the avocado, with its ridiculously big seed, evolved to get swallowed whole, and be pooped out later, so they could grow far away and free from big tree competition. The only problem is that the moving truck-sized ground sloths and prehistoric elephants that munched on them in central America are extinct. Yet the avocado lives on, strangely, no longer subject to that cooperation. It’s an evolutionary anachronism.
That’s the story behind the mango’s über-annoying seed. In southeast Asia, the mango’s native lands, forest rhinos and Asian elephants, who love mangos, are some of Earth’s last remaining examples of the megafauna that dispersed so many of the world’s weird fruits (including papaya, durian, avocado, and many others).
The mango has evolved a stringy flesh that clings to its seed (and whoever took the photo above clearly spent hours excavating that thing). Rhinos and elephants find that just as annoying as we do, so they swallow them after only the tiniest bit of munching. After a long, strange trip through the belly of the giant mammal, that seed gets dropped off with its great reward: A dallop of fresh fertilizer.
When you look at an elephant or rhino, you’re looking at the last giant mammals to still roam dry Earth. Sadly, nearly all of them are critically endangered. I and others have often referred to those strange fruits as “ghosts of evolution”, but those great creatures are close to becoming ghosts themselves. That’s really sad. Sure, we’ve taken over for the large mammals in the mango-growing department, but we shouldn’t save one ghost to spite another.
I hope that you’ll never look at a mango, or avocado, or papaya quite the same way again. And maybe, when you consider the mango, you’ll consider these beautiful creatures:
Let’s do what we can to keep them from becoming ghosts, too.
Giant manta ray breaching, unusual colour form
Giant manta ray feeding under the surface, side view
via The Orca Project:
Today is the 44th anniversary of Corky’s capture. Corky is one of the oldest #blackfish in captivity, next to Lolita. Thanks to Paul Spong’s generosity, we are sharing a ABC Nightline segment from 1993 about a Corky; the Nightline crew managed to play audio of Corky’s family calls to her, who have a strong, visceral response.
This is one of the most powerful pieces of footage taken of a captive orca.
25 years after her capture, Corky is played a tape recording of her family in the wild. Watch how she reacts. I’m not ashamed to admit it made me cry
Everyone needs to see this.
Agreed, everyone needs to see this.
the end as well with Keiko’s bit:
'Ironically the orca that helped fueled this debate is due to spend the rest of his life in captivity'
Oh no… i think he didn’t ;)
I’d read about this, but never actually seen the footage of her reaction. It makes me wonder if she was recalling her capture.
That sounds like a pretty good reason! Thanks! :)
I feel like this is also subjective. If they bought one of the Russian orcas now, or within the near future I would feel the need to stop supporting them. However once they’re already in captivity and have been long enough so that releasing wouldn’t be an option, if their conditions were less than admirable I would respect Sea World’s choice to purchase one or more to get them out of a bad situation.
How does waiting a few years make it any different? To me, there is none. These animals were captured specifically for captivity - for entertainment.
Purchasing animals caught from the wild does nothing but continue to promote wild captures. It makes as much sense as being against puppy mills but buying all your pets from a pet store to “rescue” them. It doesn’t matter if your reasons are supposedly good, at the end of the day, the money still ends up going to the people who continue to abuse animals and you end up making the cycle of abuse worse.
I think I remember reading in Death At SeaWorld that SeaWorld used the whole “wait a couple years until they’re considered fully captive” strategy when importing wild orcas from Iceland. They would go out and capture the whales, send them off to other parks for a couple months or a couple years and wait until they received the permit from the US government for importation.
Meet Shamu - The original Shamu.
She represents the first intentional capture of an Orca. In October 1965 Ted Griffin captured her in Pugent Sound.
'Griffin made no apologies about the whales that died in the hunt, including Shamu's mother. Griffin shot her with a harpoon and she drowned' - x
She was very young at the time and only 14ft long. Griffin named her ‘Shamu’ and leased her to SeaWorld for $2,000 a month as she did not get on with Namu and would rake him. She spent her first day in San Diego sending out distress calls in the J-Pod dialect.
She survived 6 years in captivity before her death in 1971, except she never really left - now each orca is dubbed with her name for the stage. For performances, merchandise and media.
Source / Source / Source
it’s disturbing that seaworld decided to choose her to represent their company; she had such a dismal and terrible life at seaworld.
Granny J2 (102 years old) and Slick J16 (41 years old) pass a thrilled crowd at Point Robinson on Maury Island today.
Photo credit:Wild Northwest Beauty Photography.
It still blows my mind that Granny is so old and yet is still kickin’! A very different story from captivity, unfortunately.
she’s like the betty white of the ocean. she just doesn’t quit!
Plus I consider curiosity a factor with wild orcas because DO consider that a wild orca NEVER has DAILY INTERACTION WITH A HUMAN BEING. Where as a captive whale should be rather desensitized by that interaction by now. They are even trained to circle the pools and ignore an individual if someone has fallen into the water. A wild orca can be rightfully curious as they may have never seen/been in that close of proximity to a human before. I can hardly consider a captive orca’s decision to attack to be mere curiosity when these animals had their trainers riding on them nearly daily. And oh my god how can someone consider BODY SLAMMING a human an act of curiosity. Literally whales in the wild will body slam a baby whale in attempts to DROWN them. You can hardly consider that curiosity.
tagging the person who had the gall to question my statement in a separate post because apparently it’s really hard to reblog and respond lol.
photo by Tim Melling
This rare antelope (Nyala angasii) has a highly restricted global range, being found only in the high mountain forested grasslands of Ethiopia at 2000-4000m. They were the last of the great antelope species to be described new to science in 1910, and the global population (listed as endangered by IUCN) is probably fewer than 2500 mature individuals. They spent a lot of time shading under trees in the heat of the day, but are more active mornings and evenings. They were also incredibly variable in colouration and pattern. I thought that this was a particularly beautifully marked individual.
An Alaskan oil spill disrupted family structure in killer-whale groups, with lasting and dramatic repercussions.
Very good read if you’re interested in the effects of oil spills on orcas.
Ulysses Aldrovandi’s marine mammal illustrations from exactly 400 years ago (1613). Some have human emotions, feet!, and imaginative bodies, while characteristics like teeth, baleen and bones are described accurately. Just makes me wonder what we will think of “modern science” in another 400 years…
The spouting sawfish is also a surprisingly reasonable portrayal; they have enormous dorsally-oriented spiracles that could be mistaken for blowholes by naïve early naturalists. It’s certainly a lot better than Medieval portrayals.
It’s really great to see the original illustration of the Cetacean Centipede — my favorite monster. There’s… no obvious explanation for where this idea came from.
Thanks to a former NBA star, a coalition of Chinese business leaders, celebrities and students, and some unlikely investigative journalism, eating shark fin soup is no longer fashionable here. But what really tipped the balance was a government campaign against extravagance that has seen the soup banned from official banquets.
“People said it was impossible to change China, but the evidence we are now getting says consumption of shark fin soup in China is down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years,” said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, a San Francisco-based group that has promoted awareness about the shark trade. The drop is also reflected in government and industry statistics.
“It is a myth that people in Asia don’t care about wildlife,” Knights said. “Consumption is based on ignorance rather than malice. ”
The dramatic expansion in China’s middle and upper classes has transformed the country into a major driver of global wildlife trafficking. The Obama administration is so concerned about Chinese demand for endangered wildlife that it made the subject an important part of its bilateral dialogue this year.
More than 70 million sharks were killed last year, largely to satisfy rapacious demand from China’s newly rich for shark fin soup.
Lavish spending by China’s wealthy has also sent demand for ivory skyrocketing, fueling a massive expansion in elephant poaching in Africa.
The consequences of the traffic go beyond a crisis for wildlife. The illegal ivory trade has financed global crime networks and local insurgents, including Somalia’s al-Shabab — responsible for last month’s attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.
“Conservation is more about China now than it is about Africa,” said Knights. “China can be the savior of wildlife or it can be the demise of it.”