Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Greeting Ceremony

A greeting ceremony is a unique social behaviour unique to the southern resident killer whale community. Upon meeting, after separation of a day or two, they will often group up in front of each other and stop at the surface. After less than a minute the groups dive and create astounding underwater bioacoustics while milling around in tight groups. This behaviour has been exhibited by the northern residents but is much more common among the southern residents as is breaches and aerial displays.

An assembly of whales grouped up tight along the shoreline making loud surface whistles moving very slowly north. Another group turned toward them and lined up in front. The two groups then slowly traveled towards each other in long lines. Upon meeting they dove and made intense underwater vocalizations. The whales regrouped, one heading north while the other went south. (Lime Kiln, San Juan Island - October 4 / 2005, 17:00)

Monday, December 10, 2007

South Korea's worst oil spill

Dead birds washing ashore after South Korea's worst oil spill - Link
Mallipo Beach (S. Korea) (AP): Dead birds coated in oil from South Korea's largest-ever spill are starting to wash up on the coast, activists said on Monday, warning that environmental effects from the disaster could linger for years. Cleanup efforts off the western coast have intensified every day since Friday's spill, which sent 66,000 barrels of crude oil gushing into the ocean after a tanker was struck by a wayward barge. About 8,800 people - including volunteers, local residents, civil servants, police and military personnel - were working on the region's shores today to clean up the oil. Coast Guard personnel, sailors and fishermen worked aboard 138 ships and five helicopters offshore, the Coast Guard said in a statement. Crude oil from the spill started washing ashore Saturday onto the region's picturesque beaches, about 150 km southwest of Seoul. Residents used shovels and buckets to clean up the muck. Officials said today they were considering declaring the site a "special disaster area," which would open the way for direct aid to the battered region that regularly drew millions of tourists to its natural beauty. The spill itself has already been declared a "disaster", enabling regional governments to more easily mobilise personnel, equipment and material. At Shinduri Beach, several mallard ducks could be seen hovering over the oil-coated waters neither diving for fish nor finding anywhere to land.

S Korea’s worst oil spill nears preserve -
South Korean workers using skimmers and containment fences battled on Saturday to clean up the worst oil spill in the country’s history, as part of the slick hit shore near a nature preserve on the west coast. A Hong Kong-registered tanker began leaking an estimated 10,500 metric tons of crude oil on Friday after a barge carrying a crane slammed into it while the tanker was anchored off Daesan port about 110 km (70 miles) southwest of Seoul. “A part of the slick reached the shores of Taean and onto the beaches. There are about 1,200 residents helping in the clean-up,” said Cheon Myeong-cheol, a Taean coast guard official. The region is popular for its beaches and home to a national park. It is also an important rest stop for migratory birds. There has been no major impact yet on marine life where the first oil reached shore, according to the coast guard but that batch was only a small part of the entire spill. “We’re installing oil-containment fences to prevent further inflow,” said Song Myeong-dal, head of the maritime ministry’s Information and Policy Monitoring team. Heavy winds and high waves hurt oil containment efforts on Friday but seas were calmer on Saturday. The leak is about a third of the size of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill of crude oil onto Alaskan shores, which was the costliest on record. That clean-up alone from that disaster cost around $2.5 billion while the total costs, including fines and settlement of claims, were an estimated $9.5 billion. reuters

Volunteers struggle against S Korean oil spill -
Thousands of South Korean soldiers, police and volunteers are still battling to clean the stretch of coastline affected by the biggest oil spill in the country's history. Maritime Minister Kang Moo-Hyun says the clean-up operation could last at least two months while concern grows that South Korea's maritime economy and fragile ecology is being threatened. Reports from Mallipo beach say thick black oil is still coming in, with each tide giving off an overpowering smell. Using buckets, shovels and even dustpans, the volunteers battled to save one of the country's most pristine beaches. "I felt like crying. This was such a good place for my kids," said Kim Mi-Sook, a Salvation Army volunteer from nearby Seosan county, as she scooped up oil with a dustpan. "The sand was so good, with flowers blooming here and there," she said. "The sludge was initially 50 centimetres high on the beach in some places. The waves could not get over it." About 10,500 tons of crude oil leaked into the Yellow Sea when a drifting barge holed an oil tanker on Friday. The Coast Guard said the slick has already hit 50 kilometres of coastline and more was expected to come ashore.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A sea anemone is a small sac, attached to the bottom by an adhesive foot, with a column shaped body ending in an oral disc. The mouth is in the middle of the oral disc, surrounded by tentacles armed with many cnidocytes, which are cells that function as a defense and as a means to capture prey. Cnidocytes contain cnidae, capsule-like organelles capable of everting, giving phylum Cnidaria its name. The cnidae that sting are called nematocysts. Each nematocyst contains a small vesicle filled with toxins—actinoporins—an inner filament and an external sensory hair. When the hair is touched, it mechanically triggers the cell explosion, a harpoon-like structure which attaches to organisms that trigger it, and injects a dose of poison in the flesh of the aggressor or prey. This gives the anemone its characteristic sticky feeling.

Killing Humpback Whales


Gales, N.J., Clapham, P.J. and Baker, C.S. A case for killing humpback whales?

Abstract: During the austral summer of 2007/08, hunting of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales will recommence after almost half a century of protection. The stated rationale for this hunt, by the Government of Japan, is to gather important scientific information for use in management. If the scientific need was defensible, and the proponents had accommodated reasonable conservation concerns, then criticisms of the hunt would be limited to philosophical issues. This is not the case. The program’s research objectives are unlikely to be achieved by lethal methods and do not address the principal research needs for SH humpback whales identified by the International Whaling Commission.

The complete pdf document can be downloaded free at the wesbite.


Japanese whalers hunt humpbacks

Environmentalists have clashed with the crew of Nisshin Maru before
A Japanese whaling fleet has set sail aiming to harpoon humpback whales for the first time in decades. The fleet is conducting its largest hunt in the South Pacific - it has instructions to kill up to 1,000 whales, including 50 humpbacks. The humpback hunt is the first since a mid-1960s global ban and has drawn strong protests from environmentalists. Commercial whaling was stopped in 1986 but Japan is permitted whaling in the name of scientific research. Four whaling ships, including the lead craft Nisshin Maru, set off from the southern port of Shimonoseki on Sunday. The 239-man mission plans to kill more than 900 minke whales as well as fin whales and humpbacks, in a South Pacific whale hunt that will run until mid-April. The 8,000-metric ton Nisshin Maru was crippled by a fire on a whaling mission in the Antarctic in March. One crew member was killed. A Greenpeace campaign ship will be following the Japanese fleet.

Sensitive mammals

Tokyo's plan to target the humpback - which was hunted to near extinction four decades ago - has drawn condemnation from environmentalists. "Humpbacks are very sensitive and live in close-knit pods so even one death can be extremely damaging," Greenpeace spokesman Junichi Sato said. Japanese fisheries officials insist both humpback and fin populations are back to sustainable levels. "Humpback whales in our research area are rapidly recovering," said fisheries spokesman Hideki Moronuki. "Taking 50 humpbacks from a population of tens of thousands will have no significant impact whatsoever." Mr Moronuki said killing whales allowed marine biologists to study their internal organs. Meat from Japan's scientific catch is sold commercially but Japanese officials deny that the mission plans to make a profit. Tokyo argues that whaling is an ancient Japanese tradition, and has pushed unsuccessfully at the International Whaling Commission to reverse the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. Environmentalists say Japan's research programme is a pretext for keeping the whaling industry alive.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Save Wild BC Salmon

salmon fry

The rich waters of the British Columbia coast are home to recently returned humpback whales and vast shoals of sardines. Wild salmon feed bears, whales, eagles and forests that draw wilderness tourism into BC. Wild salmon also support commercial and tidal recreational fishing, which combined with, wilderness tourism, means wild salmon annually lure over $1.6 billion to BC, as compared with $600 million earned by farm fish. Why isn’t your government listening to the businesses that depend on wild salmon?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New J pod Calf - J43

J43 baby photo from NOAA Fisheries (by Brad Hanson and Candi Emmons taken Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007)

J43 was born this month to Samish/J14 (b.1974). This is the fifth calf for Samish one of the southern resident endangered killer whales. Samish's first born only survived four years which is common because built up environmental toxins are offloaded while nursing and new mothers can have some difficulty relative to older experienced female matriarchs. J43's siblings are big brother Riptide/J30 b.1995, Hy'shqa/J37 b.2001, and Suttels/J40 b.2004.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Robson Bight oil spill update


On October 19th, two months after the August 20th oil spill in Robson Bight, Canada's federal & provincial governments agreed to conduct an underwater investigation of the spill site, and to share the costs involved. This certainly came as good news, though the timing was odd in that the announcement came just hours after NGOs had released details of their plan to the media. Had the NGOs proceeded, the first ("side scan") phase of the investigation would have already been accomplished, and a week hence we could have had the answers we've been seeking. As things now stand, the investigation has been delayed, but given a suitable weather window, it should happen soon. If weather conditions permit, we should know the actual situation on the bottom of Robson Bight within a few weeks.

Here is a link to a more complete story we posted on our OrcaLab web site yesterday: http://www.orcalab.org/news-archive/orcalab_general/07-10-29.html

In case it's useful, we're also attaching our update as a Word file. Please feel free to do anything you wish with it.

As we say at the end of the story, our fingers are crossed!

As ever, this comes with our warmest wishes to you all, and our heartfelt THANKS for caring, and helping.

Paul & Helena

Friday, October 19, 2007

Humpback song & oil spill update

Hello everyone,

As a change of pace, we want to pass along something wonderful for you to listen to. It’s the first true “song” from humpback whales that we’ve heard since they started returning to the inland waters of northern Vancouver Island 25 years ago, after having being totally wiped out by the last gasp of North America’s whaling industry in 1967. Year by year, especially over the past decade, the humpbacks have been becoming more & more comfortable in these waters that were home to their ancestors, and now it seems they are bursting into song!

Please enjoy the sounds we were mesmerized by in the early hours of October 11th. Click on the link to the sound clip. Best to download the whole 150mb file first.

Also, to bring you up to date on the aftermath of the August 20th oil spill in Robson Bight, please check out our most recent story and the latest episode of Twyla Roscovich’s video diary.

As you’ll see, oil is still upwelling from the bottom of Robson Bight, Canadian governments are still doing nothing of substance, and NGOs led by Living Oceans and Greenpeace, having raised the funds needed to do the job, will soon conduct an underwater inspection of the spill site. We can only hope that the imagery obtained from Nuytco’s mini sub will compel Canada’s governments into a full cleanup of the contamination, and launch a formal inquiry into the incident and the broader issue of marine safety in British Columbia’s vulnerable coastal waters.

As always, this comes with our very best wishes to you all,

Paul & Helena

Monday, October 08, 2007

Saving Luna Premiere

Luna star

Members of the Maquinna family and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation sing and dance at the Saving Luna Vancouver Premiere

Suzanne & Mike talk about winning top award at the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Wyoming.

Encore screening of SAVING LUNA Tuesday, October 9th at 6 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatres in Vancouver. Tickets are available online or by phoning 604-685- 8297.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Protest Japan's brutal slaughter of over 22,000 dolphins

Nancy Morris (206) 533-6155
Howard Garrett/Susan Berta, 1-866-ORCANET

WHERE: Japanese Consulate, 601 Union Street, Seattle
WHAT: Orca Network joins many local and international organizations in a day of worldwide protests against Japan's brutal slaughter of over 22,000 dolphins and for deliberately not informing their citizens about mercury contaminated meat.
Activists in Japan are asking the world community to speak out; they believe this is the best way to make their government stop the brutal killing of over 22,000 dolphins, including some species that are endangered. Japanese officials force Japanese children to eat mercury contaminated meat. Most of the Japanese people do not know this slaughter happens or that they are exposed to toxic levels of mercury. There is a media blackout in Japan regarding the dolphin slaughter and mercury contamination. The mercury levels exceeded the numbers that caused Minimata Disease in the past, which killed or caused severe birth defects in innocent children. The slaughtered dolphins are also processed and used as pet food or fertilizer still containing toxic levels of mercury.

The dolphin drive hunts destroy defenseless, highly intelligent, self-aware mammals in the most brutal way imaginable. These socially complex mammals witness the screaming slaughter of their close family group in a sea turned red with blood, but won't abandon their pod. Some of the survivors are captured and sold to unscrupulous dolphin traders.
For more information on the dolphin slaughter, mercury contamination, and the dolphin captivity industry, please visit Orca Network's web site at: www.orcanetwork.org/captivity/dolphinslaughter.html .
Demonstrations will be held at Japanese embassies and consulates around the world including numerous cities in the U.S. For a complete list of protest cities and organizations, visit: www.savejapandolphins.org.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Save Robson Bight

Rubbing Beach

Many of you already know about the August 20th oil spill that happened when a barge tipped its load of logging equipment into the waters of the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve in British Columbia, Canada. The Reserve was created in 1982 to protect vital orca habitat. Nearly 60 orcas, fully 25% of the Northern Resident orca community, were exposed to toxic diesel vapours in the aftermath of the accident. Severe health consequences (e.g. lung lesions, pneumonia) are possible, though it may take considerable time for them to appear. Next year, we may know more. In the meantime, the equipment, which carried 19,000L of diesel and other oils, remains on the bottom in an unknown state. It needs to be inspected as a matter of urgency, before winter storms arrive, to assess the remaining danger. Canada's Coastguard, the responsible agency, is dragging its feet on the inspection issue, despite pressure from provincial and local governments, and the public at large. NGOs, led by the Living Oceans Society and Greenpeace, have vowed to undertake the inspection if Canada's federal government refuses. The orcas are simply too important to allow uncertainty.

We are writing this to ask you to do two things that will help:

1. Go to the Living Oceans web site and send a message to Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

2. Contribute what you can to NGO funds being raised for the underwater inspection.

Canada's government needs to hear our voices. NGOs need our support, so they can act if governments refuse.
What we are asking will take just a few minutes of your time, and money you can afford. Please act now.

For the orcas, thank you very much!

Paul & Helena


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Makah Hunt Gray Whale

Gray Whale

Five members of the Makah of Washington State harpooned and shot a gray whale off Neah Bay in Juan de Fuca Strait last Saturday. The whale later died and sank form its injuries. The hunt was unauthorized by the band or government officials. The Makah were successful in an authorized gray whale hunt in 1999, with many of the same members now involved in this week's incident. Each man could face up to a $20,000 fine and a year in jail if convicted of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The tribe will continue to seek a permit to resume authorized whaling. Even though the gray whale population is not endangered there are special sub populations of animals that utilize the bays of Washington and British Columbia each year called 'resident' grays. Through genetic analysis of gene variation researchers estimate as many as 118,000 gray whales roamed the Pacific before commercial whaling started in the 1800s. Today there are only about 22,000 Pacific gray whales, including about 100 in the western Pacific. A rise in sea temperatures may have limited gray whale prey availability. The recent increase in gray whale deaths suggests a limited food source in their feeding grounds of the Bering Sea.


Monday, August 20, 2007

New Calf for L pod - L110

L pod

Moonlight / L83, a 17 year old female, has given birth to her first calf L110. This brings the southern resident population of killer whales to a total of 87 individuals, with 25 individuals in J pod, 19 animals in K pod, and now 43 whales in L pod.
Center for Whale Research

L pod
L pod

Johnstone Strait Fuel & Oil Spill


Times Columnist
A tug and barge towing several vehicles has sunk in Johnstone Strait off of Robson Bight where the northern residents go to rub along several beaches. The diesel spill has spread out and is reportedly flowing towards the rubbing beach area. A barge loaded with logging equipment, including a fuel truck carrying diesel fuel, flipped Monday and dropped its load into the water by Robson Bight, the protected area where threatened northern resident killer whales feed and rub their bellies. An oil sheen, about two kilometres long, could be seen on the water shortly after the accident and environmental groups say it is almost inevitable that some of the 60 whales known to be in the area will come in contact with the oil.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Save the Streams


There are five species of Pacific salmon that die
after spawning; Chinook, Chum, Coho, Sockeye,
and Pink. Salmon return to their natal streams and
rivers each year. Salmon travel thousands
of miles and spend one to five years feeding in the
ocean before returning to their birth streams.
Spawning females dig out a gravel nests, called a
redd. The males then fertilizes the eggs and the
female protects the redd for one to two weeks.
Alveins hatch and mature into fry, developing
vertical bars for camouflage, called parr marks.
After a period of feeding fry migrate downstream
towards the ocean and grow into smolts adapting
to their marine environment.

On top of natural dangers from predators dangers
to salmon from human activities include poor
farming and forest practices, pollution, destruction
of coastal wetlands and estuaries. The territory of
British Columbia salmon has been decimated for
decades by industrial clearcut logging. Roots of
trees anchor steep slopes. Logging increases the
chances of landslides filling vital spawning
grounds with mud, debris, and boulders. Shade
from trees is lost increasing water temperatures.
Other threats include overfishing, urbanization,
hydroelectric dams, and fish farms.

Salmon play an important role sustaining
forest ecology. Spawners bring vital nutrients
from the ocean into the forest. Carcasses are dispersed
by bears and eagles providing the trees with fertilizer;
nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon. Salmon feed the
rivers helping the survival of young salmon. Farmed
salmon does not replicate this vital role and is
detrimental to wild stocks. Dangers from fish farms
include disease, pollution (including contaminating
shellfish), predation on young wild salmon, and
escapement (Atlantic salmon compete for food and
habitat with wild stocks). Conservation actions include
cleaning up salmon streams (ensuring clean and safe
flowing environments), recycling, using biodegradable
and organic products, and choosing wild salmon over

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Spring, Salmon, King, Blackmouth,
Quinnat, Chub, Tyee (14+kg)
Chinooks have a greenish-blue dark back with
long black spots, a red hue develops around
the fins and belly, male teeth are enlarged and
they have a hooked snout. Tyee reach 1.5 m
and 58 kg, average 90 cm and14 kg. Spawning
peak May to June and August to September.

O. keta
Dog Salmon
Females are a metallic
blue, males have a
checkerboard colouration,
a dark horizontal stripe, and
canine-like teeth. Average
from 4.5 to 12 kg. Spawning
peak month October.

O. kisutch
Silver Salmon
Spawning males are red on
their sides, and a bright green
on the back and head areas, with a
darker colouration on the belly, spots
on upper tail fin lobe. They also develop
a hooked jaw with sharp teeth. Females
develop a lesser-hooked snout. Coho
reach 1 m and weigh up to 14 kg, they
average between 3 to kg. Spawning
peak July to August.

O. nerka
Kokanee, Red Salmon,
Blueback Salmon
Varying shades of red resulting
in a brilliant scarlet fish with a
green head. Grow to 83 cm
and weigh up to 7 kg. Spawning
peak month August.

O. gorbuscha
Pale grey, males
develop a hump.
Get up to 76 cm
and to 5.5 kg,
average 1.5 to 2.5 kg.
Spawning peak month


Thursday, August 09, 2007

SARA Transient Killer Whale & Sea Otter Recovery Strategies

Transient Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)
The ‘West Coast transient’ population of killer whales (Orcinus orca) is acoustically, genetically and culturally distinct from other killer whale populations known to occupy waters off the west coast of British Columbia. This population was designated as ‘threatened’ by COSEWIC in 2001, and currently numbers approximately 250 animals. Transient killer whales are long-lived upper trophic level predators that are considered to be at risk because of their small population size, their very low reproductive rate (one calf every five years) and their extremely high levels of chemical contaminants that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. Their high contaminant burdens, which have resulted from bioaccumulation in their prey, combined with other anthropogenic threats such as physical and acoustic disturbance, warrant their protection under the Species at Risk Act, and they are currently listed as Threatened.

Consultation period: 2007-8-7 to 2007-10-6

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

Sea otters ranged once from Northern Japan to central Baja California, but were hunted almost to extinction during the Maritime fur trade that began in the mid 1700s. As few as 2,000 animals, little more than 1% of the pre-fur trade population, are thought to have remained in 13 remnant populations by 1911. The last verified sea otter in Canada was shot near Kyuquot, British Columbia (BC), in 1929. Between 1969 and 1972, 89 sea otters from Amchitka and Prince William Sound, Alaska, were translocated to Checleset Bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Recent population surveys (2001 to 2004) indicate the Canadian sea otter population includes a minimum of 2,700 animals along the west coast of Vancouver Island and 500 animals on the central BC coast. Sea otters are legally listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) but have recently been reassessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as Special Concern as they have re-populated 25-33% of their historic range and the population is growing and expanding. However, the population is still considered small (<3500) and their susceptibility to oil and the proximity to major oil tanker routes make them particularly vulnerable to oil spills (COSEWIC 2007).

Consultation period: 2007-8-7 to 2007-10-6

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

BC Lakes & Streams

Shawnigan Lake
Small Mouth Bass

John's Creek
Salmon Fry

Thetis Lake


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Humpback Injured by Killer Whale

Humpback whale - IMGP0995-crop'
Humpback whale missing part of left flipper due to killer whale attack.

Steller Sea Lions - IMGP1008
Steller Sea Lions - IMGP1014
photos by Amy Valagao

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

DFO Resident Killer Whale Recovery Strategies

Two distinct populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca), known as the northern and southern residents, occupy the waters off the west coast of British Columbia. In 2001, COSEWIC designated southern resident killer whales as ‘endangered’, and northern resident killer whales as ‘threatened’. Both populations are listed in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). These two populations are acoustically, genetically and culturally distinct. Resident killer whale populations in British Columbia are presently considered to be at risk because of their small population size, low reproductive rate, and the existence of a variety of anthropogenic threats that have the potential to prevent recovery or to cause further declines. Principal among these anthropogenic threats are environmental contamination, reductions in the availability or quality of prey, and both physical and acoustic disturbance. Even under the most optimistic scenario (human activities do not increase mortality or decrease reproduction), the species’ low intrinsic growth rate means that the time frame for recovery will be more than one generation (25 years).

Consultation period: 2007-6-21 to 2007-8-20

PDF - Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada (Proposed)

Text -Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada (Proposed)


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Photos for Whales


Print photography available - donate to marine research and conservation by purchasing marine wildlife photography.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Baby Girl for J pod

Photographs taken May 6, 2007, off Freshwater Bay (west of Port Angeles, WA) lead staff at the Center for Whale Research to believe that J42 is a female based on the distinctive markings on the underside of the belly of this young calf (seen May 2, 2007, J42 joins pod, traveling alongside mother J16).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Willy Sighting!

OrcaNetwork - April 27
Jeff Dodd of Langley called to report what he was pretty sure was a False Killer whale, observed 3 miles north of Protection Island (near Port Townsend). The whale surfaced several times near the boat, & seemed very curious about the boat, then left.
There is a lone False Killer whale in the Salish Sea area that shows up periodically, & seems to like to approach boats - this could be a possible sighting - I have seen it in this area in the past - susan berta

Orca Network Link

Willy Link

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Orca Sound Project

These real-time hydrophone streams are brought to you by:

Beam Reach Marine Science and Sustainability School

Colorado College Physics and Environmental Science Departments

The Whale Museum of Friday Harbor

With generous support from NOAA.

A growing coalition of scientists, educators, and citizens are working together to expand a regional hydrophone network in the Salish Sea. This site presents the status of the network and is an experiment in sharing real-time underwater sound from different "nodes" of the network via the Internet.

click - Orca Sound

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DFO Recovery Strategy for Transients


The long-term goal of this recovery strategy is:

To attain long-term viability of the West Coast transient killer whale population by providing the conditions necessary to preserve the population’s reproductive potential, genetic variation, and cultural continuity.

To achieve this goal objectives have been established for the next five years.

Population Objectives
• population size will remain at or above the current level
• number of breeding females in the population will remain at neutral or positive growth rate levels
• determine numerical and demographic population objectives that represent long-term viability for this population

Distribution Objectives
• continue to utilize their known range
• prey will be available, in quantities adequate to support recovery, throughout the currently known range
• studies to determine how range is utilized at a population and sub-population level

Recovery Objectives
• average contaminant load will decline below current levels
• prey populations will be protected from anthropogenic factors
• current measures to protect from vessel disturbance will be maintained or expanded if determined necessary
• will not be exposed to acute or chronic sound levels in excess of those considered to cause behavioural or physical harm in cetaceans
• quantity, quality and distribution of prey necessary to sustain or increase the current population level will be determined
• greater understanding of the impacts of contaminants and other biological and non-biological pollutants will be developed
• the effects of vessel disturbance on will be evaluated
• a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of chronic and anthropogenic ambient noise will be developed


Monday, February 26, 2007

Antarctic Killer Whale Calls

Headphones on, drifting in a small inflatable, protected by a thin layer of rubber from an unimaginable amount of icy-water.

Orca near the Esperanza, blowing!
(photo & audio by greenpeace)


Lots of echolocation click trains indication of whales preying on schooling fish and repetitious calls to maintain cohesion of foraging groups.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SRKW Calls

Southern Resident Killer Whale Vocal Dialect Catalogue

The following calls were recorded in the presence of all southern resident killer whale pods, J, K and L, on September 26th and 30th, 2006, near Stuart Island in Haro Strait:















Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Witty's Lagoon

Great Blue Herons
Aggregating Anenome
Lungwort / Lung Lichen
Lobaria pulmonaria / Lungwort
Lichens have a layer of green algae under an outer skin of fungus. The internal clumps on this lichen are cyanobacteria (cephalodiums). Cyanobacteria can take nitrogen gas from the air and turn it into biologically usable compounds, so lichens with cyanobacteria can make major contributions to soil fertility. The non-sexual reproductive structures on the surface are soraliums, little balls of algae wrapped in threads of fungus (soredia) emerge from the soralium to be dispersed. Some lichens make entire non-sexual reproductive packages in the form of soredia or isidia, which are tiny projections from the surface of the lichen that can break off easily and grow into a new lichen. Most lichens are very brittle when they're dry, and some depend on just plain breakage to produce fragments that, like soredia and isidia, can be blown around by wind, washed along by water, or carried off as passengers on insects or birds. Other lichen fungi make spores to form a new lichen. These fungal spores need to capture new photosynthetic partners after they germinate. Some apparently steal them from other lichens. This lichen is used in Britain as an indicator of undisturbed ecosystems. It reminded medieval European healers of lung tissue, and they took this as a sign that it was a remedy for lung ailments. First Nations of British Columbia used it as a treatment for coughing up blood and for lung troubles. Lobaria pulmonaria was used at a Siberian monastery long ago in brewing a bitter beer.

Arbutus TreeWitty's LagoonFairy TreeWitty's LagoonGreat Blue HeronWitty's Lagoon