A New Reason For Migration Among Whales
 Previous research suggested that whales traveled up to 18,840 miles between their feeding grounds in polar waters to the warmer tropical seas to give birth. According to a new study, it turns out that whales are likely making their annual migrations to maintain healthy skin.
For a long time scientists have wondered why whales travel these long distances every year except to give birth in the tropics away from their usual predators. This pertains to baleen whales, like humpbacks and blues, and toothed whales, such as sperm and killer whales.
Robert Pitman is a marine ecologist at Oregon State University Marine Mammals Institute. He led researchers who deployed 62 satellite tags on the four types of killer whales that inhabit Antarctic waters in order to find out the real reason for the migrations.
After tracking the whales over eight southern summers, the scientists found that some journeyed as many as 9400 kilometers (5828 miles) to the western South Atlantic Ocean, making the round trip in merely 42 days. But they didn’t do it to give birth: photographs taken by the researchers revealed newborn killer whales in Antarctic waters.
The killer whales, with their yellow skin, led researchers to put forth another explanation in 2012. To preserve body heat in the cold Antarctic they hypothesized the whales divert blood flow away from their skin. Because of this, there is a slow down in skin cell regeneration which leads the whales to warmer waters.
Note the yellow diatoms on the photo of orcas above.

   Whales Continue to Strand Due to Plastics

The Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme in the United Kingdom reported that when it examined a 15-foot killer whale recently stranded on a beach near Lincolnshire, it found a large fragment of plastic material in the first stomach. The team is doing more testing to understand what might have killed it and where the plastic came from.
The stranding follows an even more alarming find in December 2019 further north in Scotland. A juvenile male sperm whale was found on a beach filled with 220 pounds worth of plastic bags, tubing, gloves, bundles of rope, netting, and cups.
The Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS) said of the young whale there was a load of marine debris in its stomach.Because whales' skin and blubber insulate them so effectively, bacteria inside a whale corpse can multiply quickly even when air temperatures are low. As the bacteria help to decompose the remains, they produce gases that then build up pressure inside the body, and the sperm whale on the Scottish beach was no exception. It was described as "briefly alarming as it sort of exploded and shameful as there was a load of marine debris in its stomach.”
SMASS also said it couldn’t be certain that plastic killed the whale or caused its stranding. “This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life.”

corky out of water
Corky – 50 Years in Captivity –

I n 1969, a four-year-old baby orca was captured from her family off the coast of British Columbia and sold into captivity. For the past 50 years Corky has lived in an “oceanarium” and performed for the paying public. She has lived in captivity longer than any other orca. Corky had a calf in 1970 - the first in captivity – but since Corky had never had a calf and since she was separated from her family, she didn’t know how to care for it. It slowly starved to death. Corky became pregnant seven times while in captivity, but none of her calves survived past two months. She couldn’t nurse her young because she just didn’t know how. Her mother A23 died In 2000, still living in her home waters.
Her family, known as the A5 pod, still live in British Columbia waters where Corky was taken. It is near a proposed semi-wild sanctuary, a 40-acre inlet called Double Bay off Hanson Island, British Columbia. Dr. Paul Spong, a psychologist and the founder of Orca Lab, and Michael Reppy, the owner of Double Bay Sanctuary, have purchased a former fishing lodge on the bay, in the hope that Corky would be able to enjoy more space while receiving the human care she still requires.
Corky is still at SeaWorld, San Diego, but a group of dedicated individuals are leading a 25-year campaign to return her to her native waters. While SeaWorld is resistant to the plan saying the move would be risky for Corky, the team at Double Bay hopes that they will be able to offer her a retirement home where she can hear the calls of her family swimming nearby.
Dr. Spong says: “Corky has done a lot, a huge amount for SeaWorld over the years and for people because they have learned a lot from her. Let’s give something back, make a gesture that is a powerful message and contribution.”
(Above photo is Corky at Seaworld.)

“CHOPPED" Show Winner Donates
$10,000 Prize to Save The Whales  

On December 10, 2019, Melodie Asseraf competed against three other contestants to win the “Chopped” Food Network Holiday and Charity Show. She generously donated her $10,000 winnings to Save The Whales. The competition was held in three stages culminating with a holiday dessert that emphasized sugar and spice.”This dessert definitely screams holidays and fun and I’m very excited about it," said Melodie.
Melodie grew up in Paris, and is the chef of her own baking company in New Jersey. “This competition is extra special because I’m competing for Save The Whales. I have an emotional connection to whales because I’ll never forget the first time I saw one and the fact that we’re destroying their home, it really touched my heart. ”
Save The Whales is grateful for her generous donation.

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