What sperm whales eat


This video says about itself:

Bull Sperm Whale Vs Female Colossal Squid

31 May 2014

A battle between the biggest predator and the biggest invertebrate.

However, most cephalopods eaten by sperm whales are considerably smaller than this.

A sperm whale beached in December 2012 on Razende Bol islet near Texel island in the Netherlands. That whale turned out to have much valuable ambergris in its entrails. The ambergris meant enough money for a new exhibition hall for Ecomare museum on Texel, big enough for the skeletons not only of the sperm whale, but also of the humpback whale beached also on Razende Bol a few days earlier; and of a killer whale.

Except for the ambergris, also jaws of five cephalopod species were found in the beached sperm whale’s entrails. They were: Gonatus fabricii, Histioteuthis bonellii, Todarodes (Ommatostrephes) sagittatus, Teuthowenia megalops en Haliphron atlanticus.

Ecomare museum does not exhibit most of these octopus and squid jaws in its whale hall, the museum’s Arthur Oosterbaan said this morning on Dutch Vroege Vogels radio. Most of them are kept separately for scientific research.

White killer whale seen again


This video from Russia says about itself:

White orca in the Fourth Kuril Strait

19 September 2014

In August-September we surveyed the southeastern coast of Kamchatka and Northern Kuril Islands as part of a humpback whale project funded by Russian Geographical Society. In the Fourth Kuril Strait, between Onekotan and Paramushir islands, we met a large aggregation of orcas, but soon after we started photographing them for photo-IDs, the fog thickened. Soon, we couldn’t see anything further than hundred meters, so we stopped to listen for the sounds. Suddenly a group of orcas approached us, and right next to the boat, a white orca surfaced. It was not the famous Iceberg, but a small white orca, likely a juvenile. We soon lost the whale in the fog, but the image was fixed in our mind and in this short piece of video. We hope to meet more white orcas next year.

From Seeker.com:

Sep 2, 2016 10:32 AM ET

All-White Orca ‘Iceberg’ Spotted After Long Absence

The 22-year-old marine mammal is one of a handful of white killer whales that have been documented in Russian waters.

“Iceberg,” an all-white male orca, was spotted after a four-year absence, according to the organization Russian Orcas.

“Iceberg is still travelling with his family of fish-eating orcas,” the organization wrote on Facebook, noting that its FEROPS (Far East Russia Orca Project) team made the sighting.

Iceberg was first spotted off Russia’s Commander Islands in the North Pacific in 2010 by FEROPS scientists and then seen again, in 2012. Believed to be about 22 years old now, he appeared healthy then — a member of a fish-eating pod, in contrast with some killer whale pods that chiefly dine on other marine mammals — though the nature of his all-white status was still up in the air. “We don’t even know if he is a true albino,” FEROPS researcher Erich Hoyt told LiveScience in 2012.

RELATED: Rare White Orca Seen Off Coast of Russia

Now, though, Iceberg has reappeared for the cameras, off Russia’s Kuril Islands, and it turns out he’s not the only white orca on the scene. FEROPS scientists have just published a paper in the journal Aquatic Mammals in which they document the existence of 5 to 8 other white orcas in Russian waters.

The scientists remain unsure of the reason for the orcas’ distinctive coloring, including that of Iceberg. True albinism is a genetic disorder that leaves the skin without pigmentation.

“Russian waters appear to be the world’s number one area for white killer whales who may be leucistic (patchy white pigmentation) or true albinos,” Russian Orcas noted on Facebook. “It’s a dubious honor. As reported in our paper, albinism probably indicates inbreeding of small populations.”

“Albinos or leucistic .. we’re not sure,” Hoyt wrote on social media.

RELATED: Albino Whale ‘Gallon of Milk’ Spotted off Mexico

An especially close-up look at the alabaster animals could help.

“With regard to Iceberg’s pod, we have no genetic data,” Hoyt wrote on whales.org after the 2012 sighting, “but we are hoping to meet them again in summer 2012 and learn more about the phenomenon of white whales, why they occur, what it means and whether Iceberg is a true albino — perhaps we can catch a glimpse of a pink eye — or ‘just’ one of the most beautiful orcas anyone has ever seen.”

White whale Migaloo protected by Australian police


This video from Australia says about itself:

24 September 2012

A one in a million chance encounter with Migaloo the white Humpback Whale as he leaves the Great Barrier Reef, migrating back to Antarctica after spending the worst of the southern hemisphere winter off Port Douglas.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 July 2016:

Migaloo under escort as whale watchers get too close for comfort

By Elise Kinsella and Damien Larkins

Authorities are escorting Migaloo the white whale up the south-east Queensland coast after a complaint of onlookers getting too close.

The Queensland State Government is investigating a complaint about people getting too close to the white whale off the Gold Coast.

As white whales are classified as special management marine creatures, boats must stay 500 metres from them, and aircrafts and drones must keep a distance of 610 metres.

Rangers will begin helping to protect Migaloo during his northern migration on Thursday, until he reaches the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles said it was important whale watchers respected the protection zones.

“The last thing we would want to see is for a whale like this to be injured in a boat strike,” he said.

“It’s just so important people keep their distance, especially as we understand there are a number of boats there.”

He said whale watchers could be fined if they went within the protection zones.

Humpback whales, they are big creatures, they can behave erratically,” he said.

Southern Cross University whale expert Dr Wally Franklin said tourist boats could stress humpback whales if they came too close.

“It’s very important while these whales are in this northward migration not to interfere with their travel, not to get in front of them,” he said.

“You only approach him at a very slow speed, matching his speed; you only come in from the left or right and do not interfere with his line of travel.”

White whale-watching rules:

Boats must stay 500 metres away

Aircraft and drones must stay 610 metres away

Approach whales from parallel and slightly to rear – never from behind or head-on

Move off slowly and leave no wake

Do not get into the water

Whales in Britain


This video says about itself:

Two Beautiful Humpback Whales Dance – Animal Attraction – BBC

6 January 2016

Male humpback whales repeat each others’ songs and add to them so they become ever more complex and beautiful, showing off their memory and sheer volume.

By Peter Frost in England:

When the whales came to town

Friday 15th July 2016

PETER FROST fell in love with whales when, as a tiny nipper, his dad took him to London’s Natural History Museum. He is still fascinated by these wonderful, but threatened beasts today

Yet again whales are in the headlines. A 40-foot female sperm whale has been stranded on Perranporth beach in Cornwall and has died on the shore.

Crowds of visitors came to the beach to marvel at the sad sight of the magnificent creature. Just as they did a few months ago when a series of whales were stranded on various English beaches fringing the North Sea.

So what is the fascination with these behemoths of the oceans? They are of course the biggest animals ever to inhabit the Earth. A fully grown blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) can grow up to 100 feet in length and weigh up to 175 tons, making it far larger and heavier than any dinosaur.

When I was a tiny nipper in the 1950s my dad would take me to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London where I could marvel at the full-size models and giant skeletons hanging high up in the Whale Hall.

Hence they became a lifelong fascination and love affair. I have watched them in Iceland, Norway, New England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Shetland and Orkney. I’ve written about them and campaigned to stop the cruel and unnecessary slaughter still practiced by some nations.

I’ve never watched them in captivity. Whales have no place in a marine zoo or so-called sea-life display. I also try to keep away from whale-watching cruises which in most popular places mean a ring of noisy boats surrounding and disturbing these quiet and gentle creatures.

Watch them from the coast if you possibly can has always been my advice.

I still return occasionally to South Kensington and the NHM where the affair started. The Whale Hall was built in 1938 when Britain was still a major whaling nation and its fleets, mainly in the Antarctic, were a major industry until the 1950s.

About that time whalers decided that the museum’s whales were so popular they wanted to make a few bob from the public’s fascination with these ocean giants for themselves.

In what must have been one of the most macabre travelling shows ever, three dead fin whales, Goliath, Jonah and Hercules, were once on an almost permanent tour of Britain right up until the 1970s. The whales were harpooned in Norway in 1952 and Jonah — the largest at 70 tons — was mounted in a 76-foot purpose-built trailer.

Thousands visited the preserved whales for both education and entertainment. Punters would pay an entrance fee to clamber through the huge whale carcasses strapped on the back of a lorry and parked in car parks and racecourses. The curious show visited The South Bank in London and then York, Coventry, Worcester, Bristol and Plymouth.

Each whale had a doorway cut behind its head. Exit was through a more natural orifice at the other end of the body.

Harpoons and other whaling tools were displayed next to and inside the whales. These almost unbelievable exhibits were initially driven around Europe to promote the whaling industry and the sale of whale meat after WWII.

Later they were purchased by showmen, who gave them their Biblical names.

The whales were crudely preserved, hollowed out and sprayed with formaldehyde and equipped with an internal refrigeration plant. Their insides were illuminated with lanterns.

So where did the three whales end up? Hercules made it as far as Spain before the smell became too overpowering and he had to be disposed of. Goliath finished his days in Italy, and Jonah ended up in long-term cold storage in Belgium.

Even today there are rumours that he is legally owned by a British showman who has plans to resurrect him.

The NHM’s 82 foot female blue whale skeleton is much older as it comes from a animal beached off Wexford, Ireland, in 1891. It was already injured by a whaler before it was washed up. The museum paid £250 for the whale carcass and extracted 630 gallons of oil which helped towards the cost.

The huge decomposing corpse was dumped in the long-established whale pit in the museum grounds at South Kensington and allowed to rot down until the bones could be extracted, cleaned and reassembled as a complete skeleton.

The slow, stinking process of rotting down whales in the pit continued until the 1940s when complaints from locals finally halted the process.

Today the museum has a large whale collection with many remains stored in a London warehouse — a recent addition is the northern bottlenose whale that swam up the Thames in 2006.

The museum still conducts necropsies on the many whale carcasses stranded on Britain’s shores.

Now it has decided to update its whale collection and the massive blue whale skeleton that so impressed me as a kid will be moved to the main entrance hall and from summer 2017 — welcoming visitors as they arrive — and will be rearticulated to a more active pose to look as if it is diving.

It will act as a reminder and a memorial to the 360,000 blue whales that were hunted and killed in the 20th century. Best estimates suggest as few as 15,000 survive, and as these big whales found it hard to recover from whaling because the gene pool was so reduced, the survival of the species is still sadly uncertain.

It will also function as a fitting tribute to the diversity of species with who we share this fragile planet of ours and as a timely reminder of our duty as the supposedly most intelligent species to preserve the rest.

Finding Dory movie, fiction and science


This video from the USA says about itself:

8 July 2016

While Disney/Pixar has produced a wonderful story with “Finding Dory” they have made some rather large mistakes in marine biology and Jonathan is here to discuss his top 3.

1. Destiny is a whale shark, not a whale. How can a whale shark speak whale? Can a Tiger shark speak Tiger?

2. A Beluga‘s echolocation doesn’t work in air and certainly can’t see what is inside a truck on the other side of a mountain.

3. Marine fish (i.e. salt water fish) cannot live in fresh water!

Pilot whales beached in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

16 June 2016

At least eight pilot whales have died after around 32 whales were found stranded on the coast of Randu village in the Bojonegoro Regency of Indonesia’s main island of Java, Thursday, reportedly due to extreme weather patterns occurring over the previous few days.

The stranded whales, discovered on Wednesday, prompted a rescue-attempt by hundreds of locals in the East Java province, including fishermen and local officers, who attempted to push the whales back to sea using their vessels.

Some locals took to the water using their boats to drive other whales in the area further out of the area in fear of further whales being stranded, while rescuers used tarpaulins to wrap around the beached sea mammals and pull them back out to sea.

A total of 23 whales were successfully pushed out to sea, however despite their best efforts, at least eight of the whales had died by Thursday morning with several left extremely weak.

The situation is thought to have been caused by recent changes in sea temperature. Local residents are preparing the deceased whales for burial, as part of a local tradition grounded in the belief that whales purposely come ashore to end their journey.

From the International Business Times:

Dozens Of Pilot Whales Stranded On Indonesia Beach, Several Feared Dead

By Mary Pascaline On 06/16/16 AT 7:55 AM

Over 30 whales were stranded on a beach in Java, Indonesia an official said Thursday. At least eight of those are reportedly feared dead.

The whales are most likely short-finned pilot whales that live in tropical and subtropical waters. At least 32 of them came ashore during high tide early Wednesday in Probolinggo, East Java province, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

“At first there were just one or two whales swimming near the shore, and the nature of whales is that if they are sick they will come near the shore,” a spokesman for the local maritime and fisheries office told AFP. “But whales have such high social interaction – when one fell ill, they approached the sick one to swim back to sea… When the tide fell, all of them were trapped.”

A mass rescue operation involving hundreds of fishermen and local officials managed to pull most of the stranded whales into deep sea. Rescuers used tarps to wrap around the stranded whales and pull them out to sea while swimmers dove into the water to drive others out of the area.

The number of whales feared dead is unclear with some reports saying at least eight whales have died while others report numbers as high as 15.

Beached narwhal investigated in Belgium


This 2012 video says about itself:

A narwhal‘s tusk makes it weird among whales. It’s actually a tooth that can reach 10 feet in length, and scientists have numerous theories about its powers and purpose.

From the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences:

Narwhal in the River Scheldt Probably Died of Starvation

03/05/2016

by Sigrid Maebe

On 27 April 2016, a dead narwhal was found in the river Scheldt, near the sluice of Wintam (Bornem). The autopsy revealed that the animal probably died of starvation. The narwhal is an arctic species that has never before been observed in Belgium.

An autopsy was carried out on the stranded narwhal in a joint effort by scientists of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), the University of Ghent and the University of Liège.

The advanced state of decomposition makes establishing a cause of death difficult. However, no traces of a ship collision were present. The emaciated condition and the out of range position (more than 100 km away from the sea, and many thousands of km from its home range), indicates a natural process of starvation. Narwhal normally eat fish, crustaceans and cephalopods.

No food remains were found in its stomach or intestine, but, in the stomach, a number of small plastic items and small pieces of eroded driftwood were found. These items are very common in the river Scheldt and are concentrated in certain areas. Their presence in the stomach of the narwhal would indicate that the dying animal had swallowed them in the river and not at sea. We speculate therefore that it had swum up the river, and had died there shortly afterwards. The autopsy also revealed a heart condition and possibly also a thyroid problem. Several examinations and tests have started, including genetic and parasite analyses.

The stranded narwhal was a juvenile male with a (body) length 3,04 m long and a girth of 1,81 m. The tusk protruded 0,7 m out of its body (it can be 3 m long in adult males). The narwhal weighed 290 kg which is more than 150 kg too light for an animal of this length.

This is the first record of a narwhal in Belgium. Only a handful of observations and strandings are known in Europe, including an animal that was killed in the (former) Zuiderzee (The Netherlands) in 1912. Narwhals usually stay north of the 70° North latitude, and their home range includes arctic waters of Russia, Greenland and Canada. This is probably the most southerly record from Europe.

The skeleton of the narwhal will be prepared, and will be taken up in the collection of RBINS. RBINS would like to thank all persons involved in the discovery, securing, transportation and study of this exceptional animal that was discovered in a very unusual location.