Sometimes, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the little things. Earlier this year, San Juan County announced a “determination of nonsignificance” (DNS) for a proposal to build a dock on the west side of San Juan Island – an important foraging area for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. Under the State Environmental Policy Act, projects that require government action have to undergo an enviro
Written By: Stephanie Wrobel
It’s been a bit over two weeks now that I’ve been interning with WDC and so much has happened that it feels like it should be a lot longer. Before I came here I’d never seen humpback whales before, but due to studying in Australia I guess I always had a picture of the Pacific humpback whales in my head. I quickly learned how many differences there are between the populations in the Atlantic and Pacific such as the different flipper coloration or the fact that only the population here shows the kick-feeding behavior.
After a fantastic season it’s time for Shorewatch’s bi-annual Big Watch Weekend: 12th, 13th and 14th September. During this weekend our dedicated Shorewatchers layer up and anchor themselves to their Shorewatch sites, with the aim of completing as many Shorewatches as possible. We will then be able to see what is going on at that exact point in time with whales, dolphins and porpoises around the Scottish coastline. We have 24 specific Shorewatch sites where volunteers complete 10-minute surveys that monitor presence and absence of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
In the past year, global attention has been on a young albino bottlenose dolphin calf called Angel (or Shoujo) who was captured in the Taiji drive hunts in January. Angel is currently living in small, cramped and confined conditions in the Taiji Aquarium where sadly her life will be a far cry from what she would have experienced had she been left with her family in the wild.
The Irrawaddy dolphin is a wonderful and unique species of dolphin with several different populations, and sub-populations, displaying their own particular fondness for a specific kind of habitat. Unfortunately, it is this preference that is contributing to their decline, some faster than others. One of these sub-populations lives in Songkhla Lake in the south of Thailand and unfortunately their future looks bleak.
We are saddened to learn that two members of the Southern Resident orca population in the Pacific Northwest are unaccounted for this year and are presumed dead. Two members of L pod, Lulu and Indigo, have not been seen with their families this summer. The annual census of this population, which started in the mid-70’s, has been able to get a complete head count of Southern Residents every year due to their small population size and proximity to a heavily populated coastal area in the summer.
What now for Russian orcas?
Following the news that two orcas were captured in the Okhotsk Sea, Russia, we now have the announcement of the 2014 quota allowing potential captors to apply for permits to catch 10 more orcas. Actually, usually the quota and the permit process happen before the actual captures, but this is Russia.