13 Sperm Whales Found Dead with Stomachs Full of Plastic Trash Back at the end of January, 13 sperm whales washed up dead on beaches in Germany.
And although it has now been revealed that the most likely cause of death was acute cardiovascular failure, the contents of their stomachs was alarming, to say the least. Among the squid beaks and fish parts was a whole lot of plastic–just more damning evidence that plastic isn’t worth the convenience.
Sperm whales normally subsist on a diet comprised mostly of squid, shrimp, crab, and fish. These ones, however, had accidentally eaten a surprising amount of exceedingly strange stuff: a plastic car part, bucket parts, and perhaps the strangest of all, a fishing net that was almost 50 feet long. Read More… 13 Sperm Whales Found Dead with Stomachs Full of Plastic Trash
Discussion about what Humpback Whales are doing in the Pacific Ocean this spring. Steve Stripling and I chat on the Big Alaska Show about whale behaviors and migration from Hawaii, Mexico and Central America as they return to Alaskan waters to feed during the summer.
How Do Barnacles Attach to Whales? It’s hard out there for a symbiotic barnacle, but somehow they find a way...
Barnacles Attach to Whales
Barnacles regularly colonize the skin of filter-feeding whales, and they often do so in huge numbers — one humpback whale, for instance, can host almost 1,000 pounds of barnacles. (That may sound burdensome, but relative to a humpback’s nearly 80,000-pound body, it’s about as much extra weight as summer clothing on a human being.)
Whale-bound barnacles aren’t just regular barnacles with wanderlust; they’re different species, most of them unique to the brand of whale they piggyback on.
For a hungry barnacle, the rim of a baleen whale’s nostril isn’t a terrible place to be. When the whale swims through a cloud of plankton for a meal, the barnacle — which also feeds on the tiny, floating organisms — gets free table service. All it has to do is extend its feathery, filtering arm and wait.
So how does a barnacle get onto a whale in the first place? Like other stationary marine invertebrates, barnacles begin their lives as larvae — tiny, shell-less swimmers that find a place to settle and develop into the sturdy barnacles we know. Easy enough when all you want to stick to is an immobile rock, but a whale?
How Do Barnacles Attach to Whales?
The uniqueness of whale barnacle species means that whaling and whale habitat loss put not only the whales at risk, but also their hitchhiking Barnacle companions
Whale Tales 2016
Whales bring wonder and awe into our island life. Come learn about whales from top international scientists, photographers, filmmakers, and conservationists at the 10th Annual Whale Tales event in West Maui!
Whale Tales is a four-day educational event, full of presentations, receptions, whale watches led by presenters, and opportunities to network with world- renowned personalities in whale research. View or lineup of presenters, artists, and special guests here.
Whale Trust Maui is committed to the goal of promoting and fostering Maui as a unique living laboratory for whale research and marine education. This goal is attainable through the development and participation in community outreach programs not only here on Maui but around the globe.
Learn about whales from top international scientists, photographers, filmmakers, and conservationists at the 10th Annual Whale Tales event in West Maui!
Whale Tales 2016 February 12-15, 2016
Whale Tales 2016
February 12-15, 2016
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui
More than 10,000 humpback whales make the winter journey from Alaska to the warm waters off Hawaii, traveling in groups of three or four, to mate and give birth among larger pods. The season for humpbacks usually runs from November through May, as whales swim along the archipelago. The first whale of the season was spotted on 29 September by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel.
Humpback whales have been slow to return to Hawaii as December usually marks the start of the season, experts say.
“This isn’t a concern, but it’s of interest. One theory was that something like this happened as whales increased. It’s a product of their success,” said Ed Lyman, a Maui-based marine biologist and response coordinator for the sanctuary.
“What I’m seeing out there right now I would have expected a month ago,” said Lyman, who was surprised by how few of the animals he saw while responding to a call about a distressed calf on Christmas Eve. “We’ve just seen a handful of whales.”
It will be a while before officials have hard numbers because the annual whale counts don’t take place until the last Saturday of January, February and March, according to former sanctuary co-manager Jeff Walters.
“They don’t necessarily show up in the same place at the same time every year,” Walters said.
The plankton-eating animals are protected as an endangered species, and federal law prohibits approaching within 100 yards of them by boat. Fewer than 10% of humpbacks’ original population remains, according to the California-based Marine Mammal Center.
“Whale Vomit” from sperm whale is a faecal-smelling commodity used in perfumes.
Muscat: Two Omanis found 13kg Ambergris, a prized perfume ingredient from the guts of a dead sperm whale that washed up on the Fooshi shores of Sadah province in southern Oman last week.
The ingredient, Ambergris (also called “Whale Vomit’) is a wax-like soft substance that originates as a secretion in the intestines of the sperm whale, often found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume manufacture.
Ambergris is used for making high-end perfumes costing up to thousands of dollars. The word ‘ambergris’ comes from the Arabic word ‘anbar’. It initially produces a faecal odour, but when aged, its odour becomes sweet and earthy.
Amouage, one of international luxury perfume brands from Oman, uses ambergris to make its perfumes, which are some of the most expensive in the world.
How a Musician Unraveled the Secrets of Whale Song
Whale songs are some of the most hauntingly beautiful and bizarre noises in the world. These majestic marine mammals interact with each other to create songs of escalating length and complexity over the years, in what one might compare to jazz riffing or Indigenous Australian songlines, the cultural, social, and physical maps passed down through generations.
Research helped to improve our understanding of whales and the way they interact with each other. It also illustrated that activities we often consider exclusively human aren’t so unique after all; whales have a sense of aesthetics and they compose collaborative songs with meticulous care.
Listen to an example Whale Song at: http://www.npr.org/2015/08/06/427851306/it-took-a-musicians-ear-to-decode-the-complex-song-in-whale-calls