Beaked whale beaches in Dutch Zeeland


Beaked whale beached near Vlissingen

Dutch regional broadcaster Omroep Zeeland reports that yesterday evening a beached beaked whale was found near Vlissingen.

Beaked whales are very rare in the North Sea.

The animal, about five meter long, has been transported to the veterinary department of Utrecht university; to find out why the animal died and which beaked whale species it is.

Entangled humpback whale frees itself, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Entangled Humpback Whale Frees Itself Off Dana Point As Whale Watchers Cheer

4 March 2016

Whale watchers aboard a catamaran with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari were viewing a humpback whale when they noticed that the whale seemed to be playing with a shrimp trap buoy located about 2 and 1/2 miles off the coast of Dana Point, California. Several minutes later the whale dove down and entangled itself around the tail.

Scientists witness extraordinary feeding event as humpback whales feast on krill ‘super-swarm’: here.

Humpback whales, BBC video


This video says about itself:

Swimming With Humpback Whales – Super Giant Animals – BBC

4 March 2016

Steve Backshall has an amazing experience as he swims with two whales who interact with him.

Baby blue whale nursing, video


This video says about itself:

Baby Blue Whale Nursing (Exclusive Drone Footage)

2 March 2016

While researching pygmy blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight region of New Zealand, Leigh Torres used a drone to capture footage of a baby blue whale nursing. This is believed to be the first time that aerial footage has documented the nursing behavior of this endangered marine species.

Whale saved from illegal net


This video says about itself:

23 February 2016

Sea Shepherd crew rescued a [humpback] whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California.

Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico’s Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO.

Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal.

The vaquita are caught as a result of fishing the totoaba, a fish poached for its swim bladder.

Both the vaquita and the totoaba are endangered species and protected by law.

Both species live only in the Gulf of California.

See also here.

Omura’s whales, new discoveries


This video says about itself:

3 November 2015

This research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science in the paper: ‘Omura’s whales (Balaenoptera omurai) off northwest Madagascar: ecology, behaviour and conservation needs’ by Cerchio et al. The doi link for the article is here.

From National Geographic:

This Bus-Size Whale Is Even More Unusual Than We Thought

Scientists are starting to piece together the secret life of the little-seen Omura’s whale, which has a peculiar diet.

By Traci Watson

PUBLISHED February 10, 2016

Well after its discovery a decade ago, the sleek swimmer called the Omura’s whale remained an enigma. Reports of live animals were vague and unconvincing, leaving the whale’s habits and even its markings a mystery.

Now, scientists are starting to piece together the secret life of the little-seen species.

Recent expeditions off Madagascar revealed the whales devouring tiny shrimp-like creatures, as well as guzzling large mouthfuls of “dirty water”—a phenomenon scientists can’t yet explain.

“People see our photos and videos and say, ‘What are they feeding on? I don’t see anything there,’” says Salvatore Cerchio, a marine mammal biologist at the New England Aquarium and leader of the first team to document the whales’ lives.

“Well, I don’t know yet.” (Read about the Madagascar Omura’s Whale Project.)

The whales’ seemingly invisible food supply only adds to the mystique of the Omura’s whale, whose habitat, lifestyle, and social lives make them standouts in the whale world.

Big Moment

Even so, the Omura’s has avoided the limelight. It wasn’t until 2003 that Japanese researchers identified it as a species in its own right rather than a petite version of the similar-looking Bryde’s whale. Genetic data confirmed the whale as its own species in 2006.  …

Even after it was unmasked in the scientific literature, the Omura’s was still known only from dead specimens, some hauled onto whaling ships, others stranded on coastlines.

Then came the Omura’s big moment.

Scouting for dolphins near Madagascar a few years ago, Cerchio spotted some medium-size whales. After the DNA analysis came back, on December 24, 2014, Cerchio learned he’d stumbled onto Omura’s whales—“a very nice Christmas gift,” says Cerchio, a National Geographic explorer.  …

The team’s first round of data, published in October 2015 in the journal Royal Society Open Science, suggest that these Omura’s at least are homebodies. The sightings also suggest the Omura’s sticks to tropical and subtropical waters.

For a whale, that’s doubly unusual. Most whales migrate, often over long distances, and most spend at least some of the year in cooler waters closer to the poles, where food abounds. (See “Life in Antarctica Relies on Shrinking Supply of Krill.”)

Blue whale with calf, video


Wildlife Extra writes about this video:

Drone footage captures rare sight of endangered blue whale mother and calf

Drone footage of a blue whale mother and calf in the Antarctic Ocean has been released by Sea Shepherd, whose ship the Steve Irwin encountered the pair in late January.

“Filming this endangered blue whale and her calf with a drone was unbelievable,” drone pilot Gavin Garrison said in a statement.

“Spotting a blue whale from the deck of the Steve Irwin is a thrill, but being able to film the biggest animals on the planet from the air is truly awe-inspiring.”

Blue whales occur worldwide including Arctic and Antarctic waters, and are famously the largest animals known to ever live, with a maximum length of 32 metres and a weight of up to 181,437 kilograms.

The calves are eight metres long and weigh four tonnes at birth, and wean off their mothers after seven to eight months once reaching 15 metres in length.

Sea Shepherd did not estimate the size of the pair encountered by the Steve Irwin.

The species has been classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species since 1986.

However, the IUCN recommends listing the Antarctic subspecies separately as critically endangered due to the size of population loss over the past century.

The last population census used by the IUCN lists the Antarctic population at about 1,700 in 1996 and growing at 7.3 per cent every year.

The IWC granted protection to blue whales by 1966 before the total whaling ban in 1986, and says that despite continued whaling by Iceland, Norway, Japan and the Russian Federation, no blue whales have been recorded deliberately caught since 1978.

The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates the total global population at between 10,000 and 25,000.

The Steve Irwin is in the Southern Ocean as part of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Icefish, targeting illegal fishing of the Antarctic toothfish.