Good News for the Holidays
Alaskan Shrimp Fishermen Heroes
Prince of Wales Island, Klakas Inlet
|Jason Vonick, Nick Segal and stuck TO68C1|
Jason Vonick and his fellow fishermen, Nick Segal and John Oakes, owner of the fishing vessel, "Miss Mary," were hailed as heroes for spending hours rescuing a female orca stuck on rocks while chasing a seal.
A YouTube video shows Jason and Nick keeping her calm by stroking her and splashing her with water to prevent her skin from drying out. However, when the tide began to rise, she was still stuck and was in danger of drowning. Knowing they had to do something fast as water was entering her blowhole, they found that by applying a great deal of force with oars from their skiff under her pectoral fins, they were able to budge and eventually free her. She was identified as TO68C1, a six-year-old female.
Jason has given us additional information provided by the Marine Education and Research Society of Canada. There was a large orca, presumably male, staying close and swimming back and forth while the fishermen were trying to rescue the stuck whale. The fishermen were apprehensive of this orca. Later they discovered, through information provided by the Marine Education and Research Society of Canada, that the orcas were part of a family group TO68C. The large orca is the stuck orca's mother, and a smaller orca, also waiting for TO68C1 to get unstuck, is T068C3, a one-year-old sibling. The group had another calf, a white killer whale T068C2, now deceased.
These three men did a great deed by taking the time to respond. They saved the young female orca and kept her family intact. Family bonds amongst orcas are very strong, and they stay in close proximity to their mothers their entire lives.
For more information, click on Canadian orca research; theTO68C family may be found on p. 66.
Jason requests that if you wish to make a contribution, please give to the Sitka Sound Science Center's Whale Research Department and click on one of the amount icons which will take you to PayPal.
Each hero received a Save The Whales T-shirt for rescuing T068C1.
Three Dolphins Released to Freedom
Whale at Venice Beach Identifiedas Perrin's Beaked Whale
Three dolphins kept illegally in aquarium tanks are finally getting to swim free in the open ocean, thanks to the collaborative efforts of animal rights groups worldwide.
The dolphins, named Sampal, Chunsam and Jedol, were all caught and sold illegally in South Korea. Sampal and Chunsam were kept at an aquarium called Pacific Land on Jeju Island, and Jedol was kept at the Seoul Zoo, according to the Earth Island Institute's Dolphin Project, one of the organizations that worked toward the dolphins' release.
After local courts ruled their captures illegal, the Korean Supreme Court and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon ordered that the three dolphins be released. The Korean Animal Welfare Association then worked with the Dolphin Project to facilitate the rehabilitation process, utilizing the proven methods established by Ric O'Barry, director of the Dolphin Project. When the three dolphins were moved from the aquariums to a sea pen in May, Sampal found a hole in the net and escaped on June 22. It was only five days until she had rejoined the pod she'd been taken from four years earlier. This clearly demonstrates the ability of previously-captured dolphins to reunite with their family pods.
The whale found at Venice Beach, California, on October 15, previously identified as a Stejneger's beaked whale or saber-toothed whale, has now been identified as a Perrin's beaked whale.
Genetics testing has confirmed the species. It is the sixth recorded incident of the rare Perrin's beaked whale stranding itself, and all of them have been in California. The Perrin's beaked whale that stranded at Venice Beach was the first of this species observed in Los Angeles County. The whale is a 13.9 foot female Mesoplodon perrini, and it is now part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County collection.
Thank you for the help given to marine mammals throughout the year. We appreciate it very much and wish you all good things in the coming year.
Maris Sidenstecker I
Executive Director, Save The Whales
501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Voted Top-Rated NonProfit 2013
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