Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sharks are in Trouble
There's a brief article in the May-June 2007 issue of Audobon Magazine about the horrific practice of shark-finning. Nearly 73 million (yes, million) sharks are killed each year worldwide, many of them only for their fins. After being caught, fisherman slice the dorsal fins off of live sharks, then toss the sharks back in the ocean to die a slow and miserable death. Keeping only the fins leaves the fisherman more room on their boats. There is a high demand for shark-fin soup in Asia and a growing appetite for it in the United States, as well. Many shark species are now considered "critically endangered," "endangered," "vulnerable," according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and National Resources (IUCN). See their "Red List of Threatened Species." You can read the Audubon article (NOTE: there's an unpleasant photo there) and can do your part by avoiding shark-fin soup in restaurants and by expressing your concerns to any restaurants who offer it on their menus.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Humpback Mother & Calf Swim to Sacramento
Have you been following the story of the Humpback whale mother & calf (now named Delta & Dawn) who took a wrong turn in San Francisco and swam up a shipping channel all the way to the Port of Sacramento? They ended up about 90 miles inland and authorities have been trying a variety of methods to encourage them to turn around and head back to sea.

View Larger Map
It appears that they have each sustained injuries from either a boat propellor or rudder. Getting back to the salty water of the ocean should help the wounds heal, but the whales are taking their time getting home. They have turned around and are headed west, but have been reluctant to swim under the Rio Vista Bridge. On the map above, note the blue dot near Sacramento to see how far inland the whales swam. Let's hope they find their way back to the ocean soon.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Does Military Sonar Sidetrack Whales?
There's an interesting video from National Geographic. It discusses the impact of military sonar on the Killer Whales in Puget Sound. Debate continues on the impact of underwater sonar on marine mammals who use echolocation as a means of navigation, communication, and foraging for food. It seems hard to believe that man-made noise is not having a negative impact on these mammals. What do you think?