Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

*Contains graphic images*

It has been a few weeks of sadness but then again this often comes with the territory in the marine conservation world. The images and videos you see not only can be upsetting, but they can make you question humanity as a whole at times. However, as with all campaigns the trick is not to get mad, or emotional, the trick is to fight with quantifiable facts and details that will help you win…. no matter how difficult that may be.

In the UK several whales have beached themselves recently and there is no reason why which is quite frightening in itself, not to mention the UK is not equipped for this, as their survival and rescue rate is not successful. Then again, it would be nice if they actually tried to get these amazing animals back into the water rather than stand there, watch, take pictures and take part in interviews. Marine conservation is not all about standing and doing nothing – ask Paul Watson.

This week, the whale world lost another because humans didn’t help the situation, they were just hoping that it would rectify itself – remind you of another situation where a Northern Bottlenose whale made it’s way down the Thames years ago? This whale made the news and even has it’s own website, but unfortunately didn’t survive.  Maybe it was to do with the water conditions, or perhaps that it had been spotted two days prior to it’s rescue attempt and no one did anything about it, until the final hours before its death. I would like to say that 10 years later the rescue attempts have improved, but it doesn’t look like it – I could be wrong though.

When you have an animal this big who has beaches themselves, is starving, dehydrated and exhausted it needs every help it can get. Waiting for the tide to rise, is not going to solve the problem.

Here are some details of what has happened recently:

Beached whale in Norfolk – February 2016

Whale found on Skegness beach – January 2016

Beaches whales are sprayed with inaccurate graffiti – January 2016

Whale graphics

In other news, “Penny” from The Big Bang Theory (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) is now fighting for the seals, which is awesome. Further details can be read here.

In Taiji, the dolphin hunt continues and while we have been seeing more blue coves than red, it is still not enough. The fact that pods are being driven into a cove, only the prettiest are selected for captivity and then the rest of the family is slaughtered in front of each other is unacceptable.

We often hear the old chestnut of eat a whale, eat a cow. Well while no animal should really be placed above another, cattle is bred for slaughter, their numbers are heavily monitored, how can anyone possibly know how many whales or dolphins there are in the world. You can record what comes out of the water, but how can anyone truly know how many there are in the oceans at this point in time? With a gestation of 13-15 months (for whales) how can these animals hope to repopulate in time for the next ‘slaughter season’ from those who defy the international ban on whaling either for commercial reasons (Japan) or due to some sort of a ritual (Faeroe Islands), especially as these animals only normally give birth to one calf at a time.

Let’s also look at what we can learn from these creatures. Perhaps we should be concentrating on the size and functionality of their brains, rather than the price their carcasses can fetch.

According to the WDC Research and observations in recent years have revealed that whales and dolphins not only have the ability to learn as individuals, but those individuals can then pass their new knowledge onto others. This is a rare intelligence in the animal kingdom.

If anyone has seen Blackfish they would have seen how strategic a pod of orcas can be, especially when hunting, it is like watching a military exercise.

These animals are an unnecessary delicacy and it is a simple case of take the fish out of the ocean, the oceans die. We gain 60-70% of our oxygen from the oceans – we cannot do this if the oceans are dead.

The oceans die, we die – it’s very simple.

In an attached segment, there is light on the horizon with regards to Ric O’Barry and his release from Japan. Japan are deporting him, it was discovered on 5 February 2016, but not before he was detained for 19 days and lost nearly 22lbs in weight.

You can read the full story here.

I would hate to think what this man has gone through, but he will be back, he was the first to uncover the atrocities of the cove and he has not given up. Along with the cove guardians, Sea Shepherd and countless celebrities such as Holly Marie Coombes and Shannon Dehorty, the world is watching – and their eyes are opening wider by the second.

The cove days are numbered.

Here is a reminder of what the international ban on whaling details.

In the UK the Marine Conversation Society is continuously supporting the establishment of marine protection zones (MPZ), and they also are a good source of information with regards to what is sustainable. You don’t have to eradicate meat completely from your diet to be a marine conservationist, but you do need to know what is in danger of going extinct.

Whales

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[This post contains graphic and unfortunately factual images]

Being a marine conservationist is not easy, but then again anyone campaigning for conservation is going to come across ridicule, the trick is to keep emotion out of it and fight with facts. If you have the facts on your side, then they cannot be disputed. They will however be argued by stubborn traditionalists.

I love the ocean, I think there is so much undiscovered ‘country’ under the sea and yet we are obsessed by what is in the sky and not on this planet.

The ocean accounts for 70% of our oxygen, yet it is in danger, we have so many dead oceans and it is getting worse. Marine biologists (myself included) fear strongly based on calculations, based on facts that we will be faced with the majority of the planet housing dead oceans by 2048. Imagine being surrounded by dead ocean, how long do you think we will survive?

This is all due to over-fishing. For example, the reefs and underwater plant life need the fish (and by the term ‘fish’ I mean marine mammals too), but also the fish need the plant life to survive.

The overfishing is the removal mainly of the apex predators either by extinction because humans are taking their food for profit, or they are actually killing the apex predators themselves. To stop this, we can do one simple thing, and break a tradition – whaling.

There is a global freeze on whaling, yet it is opposed by a few countries purely due to either tradition or to make a profit, so in affect our demise would be the cause a nation’s greed.

Killing coves are present in Japan and Faroe Islands.

Killing coves are present in Japan and Faroe Islands.

I detailed the following when I was being ridiculed by a pro-whaler from the Faroe Islands on Facebook a few months ago.

This should provide further information to those that seek it: https://iwc.int/commercial.

Norway, Iceland and of course Japan oppose this moratorium. It has also been stated that Minke whales are the only whales that can legally be hunted. We all know that Japan hides behind its “Scientific Research” banner in Antarctica which we all know was stopped recently by the International Court of Justice because surprise surprise they were not conducting research.  

In Taiji public outcry (including The Cove), has meant the release of several pods of dolphins over the years that were going to be slaughtered and this was in Japanese jurisdiction, on their soil basically. Albeit, it does not outweigh the many they have killed, but it is a sure sign that public outcry changes things.  

Anti-whaling and anti-dolphin slaughter is huge now, it’s worldwide, more and more people are opposing this, and why is that? Sure enough, some can’t bear to think of the slaughter of these animals on an emotional level, others however know the importance of these animals. Without marine life the oceans die. We have many dead zones already and over half of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean, not to mention medicines etc. So we need to keep marine life in the water and fish at acceptable levels, stop polluting and then we will have a healthy ecosystem. But here is the catch (pun not intended), how do we know exactly how many whales there are out there? Not all of them have been tagged and categorised.

Well you don’t see much when you go whale watching nowadays. So let’s crunch some numbers.

Most whale species will only give birth to one calf following on average a 15 month gestation, so if they are being killed in high volumes, and we see the pictures to know that is the case, how can we expect them to repopulate before the next slaughter is carried out?

For all those that say what is the difference between a cow and a whale – we should not place one animal above another, but cows are bred for slaughter, farmers govern the numbers on their land and can monitor the numbers properly, I don’t know of any human that lives in the sea (not on it), so again how can we properly determine the numbers that are out there. Despite the boats, technology etc we will never properly know, because unlike a cow in a field that you can see in front of you, we can’t see everything in the ocean, it’s too big. If we remove the whales, then we have to rely on the other apex predators to keep the oceans alive. Why should that be the case just because of greed?

While the Faroese are not commercially whaling outside of their walls, they are still depleting valuable stocks for no justifiable reason other than for tradition.

Novel over.

I didn’t receive an argument back, and I won’t lie, it is difficult not to become defensive as some individuals will call you names, make you out to be a liar and say that your facts are inaccurate. It is worrying though how naive some can be about the actual facts that scientists, oceanographers, marine biologists and conservationists have seen with their own eyes and know from their research.

We are in trouble, and the time to act is now, ‘too late’ is very much on the horizon.

Baby seal clubbing is also ruining the ecosystem because they are a food source. Babies are clubbed and their dead bodies are dragged away in front of their mothers.

Baby seal clubbing is also ruining the ecosystem because they are a food source. Babies are clubbed and their dead bodies are dragged away in front of their mothers.

 

Scenic

Scenic

There are many organisations to follow and resources to view if you are interested in learning more, a few are listed below:

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society – www.seashepherd.org/

Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1wp2MQCsfQ&feature=youtu.be

Moving Art: Underwater – http://usa.newonnetflix.info/info/80044805/s

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society defending marine life in the Antarctic whale sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society defending marine life in the Antarctic whale sanctuary.

I really need a new project or venture!

Well the caffeine withdrawals are not going so well neither is the lack of alcohol, and if another person tells me ‘it’s a long time until April’ I think I will scream!

Alas for those not in the know, I have been told by doctors that I am not allowed the above…. the alcohol and caffeine that is, apparently I can scream as much as I like. I also have to keep the working hours to a ‘manageable amount’ and keep the stress levels low. In addition, I find myself in what I hope is a temporary flux of fatigue which in turn, is making me perhaps not be as subtle with my comments as I normally would.

In the words of my other half, I am no ‘shrinking violet’, but at the moment comments just keep coming out of my mouth unexpectedly – I must watch this.

When one is an extreme workaholic, it feels somewhat bewildering when you have to take downtime – but it is necessary. I have tried my best over the years to watch my working hours, but time can get away from you.

So while I sneakily working on the fourth instalment of The Dragon Realm Chronicles, it only leaves me to fill my days with e-discovery and any amendments that may be occurring in civil procedures legislation, along with catching up on some leisurely reading of my newly purchased book “Are robots taking over the world?” This is actually old news and I don’t believe so for one second. Cameron and his band of merry men have enough trouble controlling the benefits and pay system in this country, can you imagine what would happen if millions of full time workers were made redundant and replaced by machines – actually don’t think about it, it is mind boggling.

Having a bit more spare time means I can concentrate more on marine conservation, unfortunately this can also raise my blood pressure. It does mean that more factual information can be spread further, as believe me when I say our oceans are in need of help from everyone, otherwise we could find ourselves with them, and considering we gain 70% of our oxygen from the oceans we can’t do without them.

On a brighter note, it is early days yet, but given the most recent news from SeaWorld, hopefully we will be seeing the end of Orcas exploited in captivity.

Why is this so important?

Well have a look at the list below:

  • Orcas are being injured.
  • Orcas and other dolphins are made to do tricks in very small tanks.
  • Orcas stay in their pods for life. At SeaWorld they rip the calves away and sell them to other theme parks. An orca will cry and scream if their child is taken away from them. Their behaviours and personalities mimic ours.
  • Collapsed dorsal fins – this does not happen in the wild.
  • An orca in captivity at SeaWorld will live to their 20s, in the wild they can live to 100.
  • Trainers have been injured or killed by these animals when they become overworked.

seaworld

For more information, please read this article. It is not over yet, but it is a start.

SeaWorld Ending Its Old Orca Show … And Starting A New One

The film Blackfish gives a lot of information regarding orcas at SeaWorld by ex-trainers, but beware, it is a very moving documentary.

Blackfish

So while I ponder the whys and wares of the world, given the disruption of this year I am hoping that next year will introduce some new starts and perhaps reinventions of old ones.

This week saw an amazing display of how social networking can be used correctly.

This post is controversial and will lead you to pages containing some upsetting images/videos, therefore I will not be offended if you leave this site now.

This week, the world became more aware of The Cove in Taiji Japan. Each year they conduct a dolphin hunt so they can select a batch for captivity and slaughter the rest for profit. For all accurate and up to date information, I recommend that you read the Facebook group post by Sea Shepherd’s very own Captain Paul Watson.

As this week has proved to be very disturbing for all animal lovers, the facts on Facebook and Twitter have become somewhat deviated, but the point still remains, there are a lot of people against this practice.

In the meantime, all emotive anger to one side there are a few items I would like to add.

1) There should not be a level of importance regarding which animal should be slaughtered and should not, however the comparison between marine life and cattle is that cattle is bread for slaughter and the numbers are monitored accordingly.

Fishermen have to rely on the population of whales, dolphins etc rising in between hunts. These animals will only have one calf at a time and stay very close to the family until quite old. There has been no proof to suggest that their numbers have been recorded by the Japanese, so it is hard to tell how near to extinction these animals are.

Also it is too late to measure the numbers once they are dead.

It has also been measured that these animals have a high awareness of their situations. Postmortems on dolphins’ brains have concluded that they can identify their surroundings and they emotionally mirror us. In some sense it could quite well mean that they are more intelligent than us.

2) Whether on purpose or not, if you wipe out a species in the oceans, others will follow. Everything is there for a reason, whether it be for food, medicine, habitat, and the oceans themselves need to survive by containing life. You minimise this, or take it away and the oceans will die. Then it will be like a plague, we will be surrounded by dead ocean and then the land will begin to fail, in short our extinction will follow.

You cannot keep taking from mother nature without paying a price.

3) When you have an outrage as high as this one, then it needs to be listened too. Several petitions have circulated with the minimum amount of signatures satisfied within hours, social media has exploded this week where not only activists have shared the inhumane treatment these animals have suffered, but also the general public along with celebrities and ambassadors.

If this is a tradition, perhaps it is now the time to evolve with whatever dignity is left.

For all information regarding the dolphin hunt and several other campaigns please visit the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians website, along with the Twitter feed.

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Picture above is sourced from the Sea Shepherd/Cove Guardians Facebook page.
In 2009, the film The Cove was released exposing the annual dolphin hunt, to purchase a copy of it and find out everything you need to know, please click here.