Wednesday, November 25, 2020

OCEANS's OCEAN section dives into ocean conservation, including activism to save whales, dolphins, turtles, and bluefin tuna. Find news about Sea Shepherd and efforts to stop the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Plus, learn how to help end keeping dolphins, whales, and other mammals captive in theme parks like SeaWorld.

India Jumps Ship On Shark Finning

(SHARK FINNING/ANIMAL WELFARE) INDIA — Big news! After recently banning animal testing for cosmetics and shows featuring performing dolphins, India has now banned shark finning. With dozens of endangered shark species in Indian waters, the legislation is expected to help protect these threatened species and better monitor indiscriminate hunting. As the world's second-largest shark fishery—only second to Indonesia, India's bold decision to ban the cruel practice comes on the heels of the European Union's closing of several enforcement loopholes in existing shark fin legislation. Read on to learn how shark finning has pushed some shark populations to the brink of extinction, and see how conservationists are reacting to the radical ruling. — Global Animal

Sea Serpents in Spain?

(OCEANS/ANIMAL DISCOVERY) Recent pictures of unknown marine animal remains have sparked interest around the globe. Scientists speculate the animal found on a beach in Spain is likely a shark, but could possibly be an oarfish. However, because of the similarity of the remains to legendary sea monsters, such as the Loch Ness Monster, the remains are attracting attention. Read on for more details in the full article.  — Global Animal
Orcas, Killer Whales, PETA, SeaWorld, Whale Sanctuaries

Whales Win Battle with California Farmers

(OCEAN CONSERVATION/WHALES) Victory! After a year spent reviewing a petition to delist 82 southern resident orcas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced the whales will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act. The organization found the killer whale pods, who spend their summers in Puget Sound, met the legal standard for a distinct population group in response to a petition on behalf of California farmers who faced restrictions to protect salmon farms. Read on to learn more about the decision and see what officials are suggesting for recovery-plan options. — Global Animal

Plastic Proves Lethal for Sea Turtles

(OCEANS/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) As if we needed anymore proof of the dangerous ecological footprint humans are leaving on the planet, a study of green and leatherback turtles shows these sea creatures ingest plastic at more than twice the rate they did 25 years ago. Plastic products consumed by turtles and other marine life can be lethal, killing the animals by either blocking their stomachs and starving them, or through puncturing their intestinal system. Conservationists also warn that, in cases where plastic ingestion does not immediately kill a turtle, the animal will suffer from ailments including reproductive complications, which has long-term consequences. Read on for more information regarding plastic waste and the danger it poses to our marine life. — Global Animal

Shark Attack Survivors Unite to Save Sharks…Would You?

(ACTIVISM/ANIMAL CONSERVATION) There are many shark conservationists who protest shark finning and other forms of animal abuse, but this group's compassion is truly amazing. "Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation" has not only forgiven the species that left some of them maimed, but they've also become the shark's most passionate advocates. Read below for one survivor's horrendous ordeal and how she found the strength to move forward in such a positive way. — Global Animal

Scandinavian Fish Target Testicles

 (WILDLIFE) Scandinavian skinnydippers, no need to fear! Pacu, a relative of the piranha, are getting a bad rap these days. Given these freshwater fish with human-like teeth normally eat nuts, fruit, and smaller fish, human testicles are also said to be a natural target. While officials are warning men to keep their swimsuits on, others believe the pacu's "testicle-eating" reputation is just a fast-spreading rumor. In fact, experts maintain man is still more likely to drown than have his privates bitten off. Being the first time the freshwater species has been caught in the wild in Scandinavia, read on to learn the truth about this already-infamous fish. — Global Animal

Shocking Rise in Dolphin Deaths

(OCEANS) It’s proving to be a cruel summer for one of the planet’s most intelligent animals, bottlenose dolphins. Between the months of July and August, the East Coast of the U.S. has already seen 120 dolphin corpses wash up on its beaches. Possible causes of death are currently being investigated, but evidence suggests a measles-like virus is behind the dolphin fatalities. A similar outbreak rocked the East Coast from 1987 to 1988, leaving over 900 dolphins dead in its wake. Continue reading below to find out what the dolphins' fate could mean for the rest of the ocean. — Global Animal

Georgia Aquarium’s Russian Beluga Request Rejected

(OCEANS) Hoorah! In a landmark decision, the U.S. has denied the Georgia Aquarium's request to import 18 beluga whales from Russia, blocking the first attempt in over two decades to import marine mammals recently taken from the wild. The belugas, captured from Russia's Sea of Okhotsk between 2006 and 2011, were intended for display in Atlanta as well as at SeaWorld parks and Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deemed the plan "too ecologically murky." Read on for the NOAA's reasons for declining the Georgia Aquarium's request and learn more about the ethical and environmental implications of imprisoning these intelligent, migratory animals. — Global Animal

Remember: A Dolphin Never Forgets

(DOLPHINS/ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE) A new study suggests bottlenose dolphins have an extensive social memory that could be the longest in the animal kingdom. The dolphins in the study were able to remember past tank mates from over 20 years ago based on their unique whistles, similar to how humans remember names. The study could raise further ethical issues concerning the holding of these creatures in captivity when their intelligence and social memory is comparable to that of humans. Read on to learn more about this remarkable new research. — Global Animal

Shark Week Surfaces With Colossal Question

(SHARKS) For some, the idea of a 67-foot shark swimming beneath us as we wade in the ocean can be a bit scary. However, the possibility of a megalodon shark amongst present day ocean life seems to be far from the truth—not unlike the recent made-for-TV disaster film, Sharknado. Megalodon, believed to have existed about 28 to 1.5 million years ago, was the subject of Shark Week’s faux documentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, which aired Sunday night. Despite the sharks’ unlikely current existence, the show follows a group of researchers looking for evidence of the megalodon. Continue reading below to learn what these researchers discovered, and find out the actual possibilities of finding a megalodon in the wild. — Global Animal

Satan Shark Discovery Shocks Scientists

(ANIMAL SCIENCE) A new prehistoric shark species has been discovered in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Diablodontus michaeledmundi, also known as “Devil Tooth,” had dangerously sharp teeth and hook-shaped head spikes, giving the creature a somewhat demonic appearance. Scientists suspect the horn-like protrusions evolved either for self-defense or for attracting potential mates. In addition to their devilish prongs, these unique predators also had spines on the front and back of their fins and highly advanced teeth that were almost unheard-of during their time period. Continue reading for more on "Devil Tooth" and this fascinating discovery. — Global Animal

Whales still get hit despite ship speed regulations and observation systems. Photo Credit: Discovery

Blue Whales May Find New Safe Haven

(WHALES) In an effort to help protect our marine mammal species from the constant threat of human impact and endangerment, one ecologist, Joyce Boyer, has proposed the idea of creating a large safe haven, or Marine Protected Area (MPA), which protect critical marine habitat for vulnerable and endangered marine populations. Similar to a national or state park, human activities would be limited within these danger zones. The outcome of these protections could lead to a drastic increase in the number of marine mammals, and hopefully, an eventual comeback from their threatened status. Read on for more on Boyer and how she conceptualized the idea for these marine sanctuaries. — Global Animal

SeaWorld In Hot Water After Dolphin Escapes Tank (VIDEO)

(SEAWORLD) Just days after footage leaked revealing a struggling pilot whale stuck at the edge of the pool at SeaWorld Florida, another disturbing video has surfaced from SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. The footage, shot by an eyewitness, shows a dolphin lying injured and bleeding on the concrete beside a pool. According to witnesses, only one employee was initially present during the accident and poured water over the dolphin until other employees came to help. Although the incident is said to have occurred last summer, it has not yet been publicly reported. Fortunately, the dolphin recovered, but the release of a second video in just one week seriously begs the question, "How many videos does it take to get people to stop visiting SeaWorld?" Read on to learn what SeaWorld is saying about the event and see the video for yourself below. — Global Animal

Cannibal Crustaceans: Are Lobsters Eating Their Young?

(OCEANS) Consider yourself lucky if talking back to Mom and Dad just gets you a severe grounding, because baby lobsters are getting it much worse. Scientists have conducted experiments and concluded juvenile lobsters are extremely likely to be fed on by adult lobsters over other types of fish. Continue reading to find out why scientists believe juvenile lobsters are falling prey to their own species. — Global Animal