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Archive for the ‘whale’ Category

Let Dolphins Be!

Posted by feww on March 17, 2010

Thrill-seeking holidaymakers are putting dolphins at risk

Public release: Newcastle University

Tourists wanting to watch and swim with dolphins are now being urged to keep their distance in a bid to protect both the animals and the local communities whose livelihoods depend on them.

A study of bottlenose dolphins living off the coast of Zanzibar has found that the many tourist boats operating in the area are harassing the animals, preventing them from resting, feeding and nurturing their young.

The research, led by Dr Per Berggren of Newcastle University, also highlights swimming with dolphins – in particular where tourists swim in very close and try to touch the dolphins– as being incredibly stressful for the animals.

Printed today in the academic journal Endangered Species Research, the authors say regulation of the dolphin tourism industry is “urgently needed” to minimize the potential long-term negative impact on the animals.

Dr Berggren, who joined Newcastle from Stockholm University earlier this month, explained: “The current situation in Zanzibar is unsustainable. The local community is dependent on tourism – and therefore the dolphins – but unless the activity is regulated the animals will leave.

“Our study found that whenever the tourist boats were present the dolphins were very unsettled and spent less time feeding, socialising or resting. This has a negative impact, not only on individual animals, but on the population as a whole and long term it could be devastating.

“The problem is that any change needs to be tourist-driven. Many visitors will pay drivers extra in tips to steer their boats in close, herding the dolphins so they can dive right in amongst them. Our message is, keep your distance and put the dolphins first.”

Dolphin-watching was introduced off the South coast of Zanzibar in 1992. Today it is one of the few places in the world where tourism has completely replaced the traditional dolphin hunt – an activity which threatened the local population of around 150 bottlenose dolphins.

“Abolishing the hunts was a major breakthrough and dolphin watching offered a humane, sustainable alternative,” says Dr Berggren.

“Unfortunately, without regulation, dolphin tourism brings with it its own challenges.”

Watching the dolphins over a period of 40 days, the research team found that in the presence of the tourist boats, the time the dolphins spent resting dropped from 38 per cent of the time to 10 per cent while the time they spent foraging and socialising dropped from 19 and 10 per cent to just 10 and 4 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, travelling behaviour more than doubled in proportion, from 33 to 77 per cent, becoming by far the most dominant activity state during interactions with tourist boats.

“Overall, the dolphins are using more energy than they are taking in because they aren’t resting or feeding as much but are swimming more as they try to avoid the tourist boats,” explains Dr Berggren, based in the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University.

“Zanzibar is a wonderful place, the dolphins are incredibly interesting and between July and October there are also breeding humpbacks in the area. I would recommend that anyone go there for a holiday and support the local community but act responsibly and ask operators to follow existing guidelines.”   Contact: Dr. Per Berggren per.berggren@ncl.ac.uk

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Posted in Dolphin, eco-terrorism, new zealand, seal, whale | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eat S***, So Many Canadians Can’t Be Wrong!

Posted by feww on March 11, 2010

Image of the day:

Canada MPs Eat S*** to Defy “ignorant” EU and ROW

“The Europeans simply don’t know what they’re talking about. Since time began human beings have lived with animals and they have culled animals,” said Michael Ignatieff, leader of Canada’s the main opposition Liberal Party.


Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff gives a thumbs up while eating a seal meat appetizer during an event to mark the first time seal meat is served in the parliamentary restaurant on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 10, 2010.  Credit: REUTERS/Chris Wattie. Image may be subject to copyright. [Photo edited for the occasion by Fire-Earth.] Click image to enlarge.

“Canadian parliamentarians tucked into a meal of seal meat on Wednesday to defy both animal right activists and the European Union, which has banned imports of seal products.” Reuters reported.

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Posted in ban on seal products, Canada Parliament, Celine Hervieux-Payette, Gail Shea, whale | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Whale of a Story

Posted by feww on February 19, 2010

Submitted by a reader in Australia

As Sea Shepherd protester boards a Japanese whaling vessel to ‘arrest its captain,’ New Zealand govt agents quietly euthanize 28 Pilot whales

Pete Bethune, a Sea Shepherd protester from New Zealand, boarded a Japanese whaling vessel, Shonan Maru No. 2, to ‘arrest its captain’  for the ‘‘destruction of the Ady Gil and attempted murder of the six Ady Gil crew members,’ ‘A statement on the Sea Shepherd website said.

Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd’s ‘stealth vessel,’ collided with Shonan Maru No. 2 on Jan 6, and sank later.  Both parties have since blamed each other for the incident.

According to Sea Shepherd skipper Paul Watson Bethune traveled by jet ski from the Steve Irwin, the group’s flagship vessel to deliver a letter to the Shonan Maru No. 2 requesting he return with him to the Steve Irwin, to be transferred to New Zealand’s Maritime Safety Authority and police.

‘‘If you refuse to be arrested, then I am requesting that you deliver me to Wellington (New Zealand),’’ Bethune wrote in his letter to the Japanese captain.

‘‘Having sunk my vessel, and with our issuing of a mayday call, you have an obligation under maritime law to provide me with safe passage back to land,’’ he added.

‘‘I will only leave the Shonan Maru when you transfer with me to the Steve Irwin, or when we arrive on land, be it New Zealand or Australia.’‘

Bethune reportedly delivered an invoice for the cost of replacing Ady Gil, threatening the captain with criminal charges if payment was not received in four weeks.

‘‘We will be seeking punitive damages, in addition to the full replacement cost of the Ady Gil…further to this we will be laying criminal charges against the captain of the Shonan Maru (No. 2),’’ wrote Bethune.

Meanwhile, amid all the action on the high seas, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation quietly euthanized at least 19 pilot whales that were allegedly beached at West Ruggedy Beach on Stewart Island.

Department of Conservation (DOC) employees said they were forced to euthanize the whales, because the seas were rough.

“They were in reasonably good health when we got there but the weather conditions were so bad it would have been far too dangerous to try anything else,” an official said.

In December 2009, at least 150 whales died after they  became stranded on Coromandel peninsula, most probably due to noise pollution from NZ oil exploration, tourist boats and planes, as well as toxic pollution in New Zealand’s coastal waters.

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