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Peter Flood mom and calf

Emergency Petition Seeks to Shield Right Whale Moms, Calves From Vessel Strikes

For Immediate Release, November 1, 2022 WASHINGTON-Conservation groups filed an emergency rulemaking petition with the...
The Yushin Maru catcher ship of the Japanese whaling fleet injures a whale with its first harpoon attempt, and takes a further three harpoon shots before finally killing the badly injured fleeing whale. Finally they drowned the mammal beneath the harpooon deck of the ship to kill it.  Southern Ocean.  07.01.2006

Moves to overturn whaling ban rejected

Last week, the 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC, the body that regulates...

Nearly 500 whales die in New Zealand

The number of pilot whales that have died following a mass stranding in New Zealand...

200 pilot whales killed in latest Faroese slaughter

More than 200 pilot whales have been slaughtered in Sandagerði (Torshavn) in the Faroe Islands....

Dolphins' octopus shake makes prey more palatable

Researchers in Australia have revealed new findings that show how Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have learnt to eat large octopuses, an extremely rewarding but potentially lethal prey.

Dolphins do not chew their food, they simply swallow it whole or in large chunks. An octopus is a formidable challenge as it can latch its tentacles, which can be over three metres long in some species, on to the dolphin. One adult dolphin died from suffocation after trying to eat a whole octopus which it could not successfully swallow.

The dolphins get round this sticky problem by biting the head off the octopus and then either tossing the body through the air several times before eating the remains, or simply shaking the body vigorously on the surface. The tentacles have a reflex response which means they still pose a threat for a while even after being removed from the body.

The fact that the dolphins are prepared to take such risks indicates the octopus is probably an important prey for the dolphins, perhaps targeted when other easier food sources are less abundant.

Sprogis, K. R., Raudino, H. C., Hocking, D. and Bejder, L. (2017), Complex prey handling of octopus by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Mar Mam Sci. doi:10.1111/mms.12405