Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seal's slaughtered in Canada

The Harp Seal is a Northern marine mammal that spends most of its life at sea. Adult harp seals weigh up to 400 pounds. Their dark gray, leathery hide has a distinctive harp-shaped mark. Babies have white, fluffy fur that camouflages them on snow and is prized by hunters. Harp seals feed on a wide range of fish and crustaceans. They live 30 to 35 years, with a mortality rate in the first year of 20 to 30 percent. Harp seals have 3 natural enemies, Polar Bears, Sharks and Killer Whales. But their biggest threat, above all others is Man, who kills hundreds of thousands of Harp seals every year.

There are many countries that hunt seals, but the largest slaughter of seals happen in Canada. Canada has been hunting seals for thousands of years. They collect their pelts, meat, and blubber for clothing, food and oil. It is illegal in Canada to kill newborn harp seals, those that have white coats, but after about 12 to 14 days old, when they start moulting this fur, they are fair game. Of course, this law is not always followed, and many newborn pups are killed. Often a mother seal will be killed, but its newborn pup left to die, or a pup killed and its mother left to morn its lifeless body.

Video from the American Humane Society in 2005.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regulates the seal hunt in Canada. It sets the yearly quota for the number of seals killed. In the late 1960's the harp seal population declined to just 2 million seals, due to the amount of seals killed annually. It was then that a quota system was introduced. Today the DFO claims that the harp seal population is roughly 5 million seals, and the quotas are set extremely high. Over the the last several years the harp seal quotas have soared from 270,000 seals in 2007 to 400,000 seals this year(2011).
The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Harp seal quota set at 400,000 off east coast, prompting anti-hunt outrage

HALIFAX - The quota for the harp seal hunt off Canada's east coast this spring has been set at 400,000 animals by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The total allowable catch for hooded seals will be 8,200, some of it rolled over from last year.
"We said we'd stay with what the scientists recommended," said Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association. "They were recommending between 300,000 and 500,000 so we took the middle of the road."
Pinhorn said the association expects an improvement in markets this year with sales as high as 120,000 pelts, roughly double last year's figure of 68,000.
The industry is hoping that the Asian market, especially China, will increase its purchase of seal products, but Pinhorn said that might not happen for another year or two.
Fishermen in the Magdalen Islands are looking to collect seal heart valves for medical research and meat for the restaurant trade as part of the developmental quota allocation of 20,000 seals Read More...

   This is a cruel and barbaric practice. Those animals that are killed suffer greatly, and sadly, those left behind suffer too. These animals are highly social, and they mourn the loss of their community, the lose of their pups, and the loss of their mothers. Many pups that are not killed in the hunt end up dying, due to their mothers being killed. They are left to starve to death.

 Over the years many groups have protested and/or taken action against the seal hunts. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been fighting the Seal hunt since 1976. In 2005, 11 Sea Shepherd volunteers where attacked by the Captain and crew of a sealing vessel and then arrested for just filming the seal hunt, without permission from the Canadian government. The crew that attacked the SS members were not punished, what so ever. You can read about SSCS history of their seal campaigns here.

For more information on the Seal Hunts and to find out what you can do to help visit the following links.

Sea Shepherd~ Seal page

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


 This blog is normally about the oceans, their inhabitants, and the issues surrounding them. But that does not mean that we do not support other causes. In fact, there are many other non-ocean issues that we are involved with and spread awareness about. Being animal activist, we want to protect and help all animals in need. One of the most common abused, mistreated, and neglected animals is that of "Man's best friend", the dog.

  There are so many stories out there about dogs who have suffered greatly, due to humans. One story that has made headlines recently, is that of a 1 year old pitbull, now named Patrick. One day in Newark, NJ and maintenance man was sorting through the trash bags in the apartment building he was working at. While moving the bags around, one of the bags moved. The man quickly opened the bag, and found a dog, skin and bones and barely alive. The man quickly called Associated Humane Societies  who rushed Patrick to Garden State Veternary Specialists.

Patrick when he arrived at GSVS

  Once Patrick arrived at GSVS, the amazing Doctors and staff quickly went to work to save this poor dog. Patrick only weighed 20lbs when he arrived at the hospital. He needed a blood transfusion, fluids, and many other medical treatments, right away.  During a ultrasound, it was discovered that Patrick has a foreign object in his stomach. Patrick is much to weak to have surgery to remove this object, but they are closely watching the object, and at this time it does not seem to be affecting his eating or going to the bathroom. They are hoping to do surgery sometime this week to remove the item. They think this item is a sock or piece of clothing, that Patrick ate to fill the void of being hungry.

  They doctors and staff think that, although there is a long road ahead, Patrick will survive and make a complete recovery. This is all thanks to the quick acting Maintenance man, the rescue team, the doctors and staff at GSVS, all the people who sent in donations and support for Patrick, and more then anything Patrick himself. Patrick has shown an amazing will to live. He never gave up and has proven that he is doing his part. Not only does he have a strong will to live, he has an amazing ability to love. I can only imagine the hell Patrick endured under his owners care. I can not imagine him receiving the love and affection one needs. Yet, after all the suffering this beautiful soul endured, he has shown nothing but love and affection to the staff at the hospital.

 After offering an award for information that lead to the person who did this to sweet Patrick, someone stepped forward and a young lady was charged. I will be honest, this case has really touched me, and the feeling that I have towards this lady is very harsh (im only human). But I refuse to say my feelings. I will only say, that her punishment does NOT fit the crime. She is facing a $1000 fine, 6 months in jail, and community service....does not seem to be enough since she starved a life, and then put this being in a trash bag and sent him down the garbage shoot. ALIVE!!! 

 Since news of Patrick's ordeal thousands of Patrick supporters from around the world have made their voices made. Donations for Patrick's care, cards, pictures drawn by children all flooded into the hospitals. A FB page was made for him. Then GSVS created their own page to give updates and post pictures and videos. A group was started to create Patrick's Law, an animal cruelty law. Patrick's Pals was then created, to post about other dogs that are fighting for their lives and looking for homes. Its just been an amazing story.

 There are millions of Patrick's out there. The untold stories of so many. I encourage everyone to help there local animal rescue groups. There are so many out there. You can donate money, or call and ask if they need anything. Many times shelters are in need of old blankets, towels, bowls, a host of things. Look into becoming a foster home if you have the space and time. And more then anything, if you are looking for a new family member, PLEASE contact your local shelters or rescue groups. If you are set on a pure breed dog, there are tons of breed specific rescues that can find the right dog for your family. Please rescue...don't buy! Also, please spay and neuter your animals. Millions of animals are killed every year because they do not have homes. Please do not add to this. I am not saying all breeders are bad. I know some amazing breeders. But, that does not change the facts.

 If you want to learn more about Patrick, and follow his progress visit the following FB pages.

The Patrick Miracle
Patrick's Law
Patrick's Pals

All pictures of Patrick are from GSVS FB page.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Writers Block...

I have had a bad case of writers block for some time now. Its not a lack of things to say, i'm just having a hard time getting what I want to say out.  Over the past month or so, a lot has been going on both in our lives and around the world. I just have not been able to focus on any one topic.
 So today I just want to repost a few of my fav. past post. If you have yet to read any of them, check them out!

The Dolphins of Taiji

 Taiji is a town off the coast of southern Japan. The little fishing town is home to about 3,500 people and is known as the birth place of whaling in Japan. For generations the men of Taiji have hunted whales and dolphins, both in the waters of Japan and in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. The village is very proud of their heritage. To these men, fewer then 30, they are simply carrying on a tradition that has been passed down for hundreds of years. To the people of Taiji dolphins and whales are just fish. They see nothing wrong with killing, consuming and selling them. To them what they are doing is no different then other countries killing and consuming Cows, Pigs, or Chickens. Japans population is massive and the country is not suitable for farming like other countries. They feel turning to the ocean is their only choice. Many Japanese residents believe that the outside world is harshly judging them without understanding their culture, their over all needs, and simply their way of life. Read More..
Moby Solangi Part ll Katrina and the dolphins
   Marine Life Oceanarium, owned by Moby Solangi, was located right on the coast of Gulfport Mississippi. Opened in 1956, Marine Life had seen its share of hurricanes. But the fact was, the facility was old and in need of major renovation. Solangi felt that since his facility had survived Camile, it would do fine with Katrina. The day before the storm, Moby had 6 of his 14 dolphins moved 6 miles inland to 2 different hotel swimming pools. He sent 8 of 26 Sea Lions to ride the storm out at a trainers home, and moved his exotic birds to Florida by Truck. He and his staff left behind 8 dolphins, a harbor seal, and many sea lions behind to ride out the storm at Marine Life, alone. On the morning of Aug. 29 2005, Gulfport was battered by Katrina, A nearly 30 foot storm Surge, 55 foot sea waves, and 120mph winds. Beachfront neighborhoods were leveled and flooding went 6 to 12 miles inland up and down the entire Mississippi coast. 90% of the buildings along the Gulfport/Biloxi coastline was wiped out, including Marine Life.  Read More...

The Dolphin Smile...

If you ask someone who goes to dolphin facilities "What makes you think they are happy?" Most will answer something about the dolphins and their smile. So I just wanted to take a few seconds (because that is all it will take) to clear this myth up.Read More...
The Georgia Aquarium
Not long ago, our good friend and fellow activist Holise, wrote a blog post about the Georgia Aquarium. After speaking to Holise on this aquarium and their plans to open a new dolphin exhibit I decided that I needed to look into the history of this aquarium and the animals that call it "home". We would like to thank Holise for bringing this aquarium into the spotlight to us, and many others. Please take a moment to read Holise's post Dolphins in Georgia. Holise has an amazing blog and I encourage everyone to follow it.
   The Georgia Aquarium opened its doors to visitors on November 23 2005. The worlds largest aquarium, The Georgia Aquarium has over 60 exhibits and more then eight million gallons of water. The Aquariums more then 400 employees and 2,000 volunteers have welcomed over elven million visitors since its opening.

Imaq and Kavna

   If you travel to the Vancouver Aquarium, you will see all kinds of marine life on display, everything from jellyfish to Beluga whales. The Aquarium is the home of many beluga whales, but there are two that have become very special. Imaq (EE-mack), the only male at the aquarium and Kavna, the oldest female. However, if you visit the Vancouver Aquarium, you will likely not find Imaq and Kavna on display. Why not, you ask? The reason is because Imaq and Kavna have been placed in a research holding tank, that is off display, and away from public viewing. Why, you ask? From what the aquarium staff says, Imaq likes the ladies, so he must stay separate from them, unless its time to breed. The fear is, if one of the females is pregnant, Imaq may endanger her. Of course this also means that if there is a new baby at the facility, Imaq must be kept away, for the same reason. And given the aquarium is a breeding facility (a very unsuccessful on at that), Imaq is not allowed to be in the main tank, most of the time. But what about Kavna? Why is she being held in the tiny research tank, and not with the other females? Well, the Vancouver Aquarium is accredited by Association of Zoo's and Aquariums (among others) and the rule is that these animals must not be housed alone. So, Kavna was picked to be Imaq's tank mate by the staff of the facility. The tank that these two live in is extremely small. Some say the size doesn't seem to phase Kavna, but Imaq shows signs of stress in the small 10 foot deep pool. Read More...

The life and death of slaves

One warm sunny day in May, a sweet baby boy entered this world. This was not an ordinary boy, and his life was going to be anything but normal. Not only was this little one born into slavery, but his mother was very young, only 8 years old, and had been abused by her mother. The slave masters saw nothing wrong with the young mothers age, and figured other female slaves would help raise the baby boy. When the boy was about 8 months old, it was clear his young mother wanted nothing to do with her child. She was over being a mother and made it known when she attacked the child. The slave owners took the baby from his mother, and put him in the care of some of the older slaves. A few months later the owners decided the baby was to much of an issue for them, and sent the 10 month old baby boy to another slave owner to be cared for.  Read More...
Corky~ The forgotten

  In the late 90's, while living in California, I went to SeaWorld San Diego a few times. I was obsessed with Orcas and thought that seeing them up close would be amazing. I remember walking into Shamu stadium for the first time. I remember getting butterflies in my stomach, knowing I was about to see these animals that I loved so much. I remember when the gates opened, and seeing the shadows swimming under the water. I remember when this amazing creature jumped from the water, and I was able to see its true size and beauty. Chills ran up and down my spine, and tears filled my eyes. In my mind, my dream had come true and I was in heaven. Read More...

 I hope to have new blog post up soon. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quake hits Japan

On March 11 2011, a Major 8.9 earthquake struck of the coast of northeast Japan. The earthquake was followed by a deadly tsunami that has devastated the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi. Many aftershocks are still shaking the country, and the threat of  tsunami's are not over for Japan. The death toll is feared to be in the thousands. Rescue crews are having a hard time getting to the worst hit areas. A refinery fire broke out sending flames and black smoke high into the air. And fear of a nuclear plant leaking radiation, due to cooling problems has became a large concern.

  I would like to take this time to say that our family is praying for everyone in Japan. Just as we do not want animals to die, we do not want people to die either. We may be against what some people in Japan do, but we would never wish or want what Japan is experiencing to happen to anyone. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones.

I would also like to take this time to say our prayers go out to 6 American/Canadian activist who were on the ground in Iwate reporting the slaughter of Dall's in northern Japan. These activist are from Sea Shepherd, Save Japan Dolphins, and Taiji Action Group. No one has been able to contact them since right after the quake. From the last video we know that at least 3 of  them were up on large cliff over looking the water. Although we are sure they are ok, its hard to not be worried. But we are sure that they are just fine and are helping out anyone and everyone they can.

 Again, our hearts go out to all those effected by this tragic event. I know that we have a few regular followers in Japan, and would like to know you are all ok.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Corky~ The forgotten


      In the late 90's, while living in California, I went to SeaWorld San Diego a few times. I was obsessed with Orcas and thought that seeing them up close would be amazing. I remember walking into Shamu stadium for the first time. I remember getting butterflies in my stomach, knowing I was about to see these animals that I loved so much. I remember when the gates opened, and seeing the shadows swimming under the water. I remember when this amazing creature jumped from the water, and I was able to see its true size and beauty. Chills ran up and down my spine, and tears filled my eyes. In my mind, my dream had come true and I was in heaven. 


  While in Ca. I went to Seaworld 3 times, and each time I felt the same. That is until what happened after the show, on my last visit. After the show, I had the opportunity to go down and "meet" one of the whales. The whale, by chance was "Corky" the older, gentle female. As I stood in line, I remember having the feeling as if I was about to meet some famous movie star, I was so excited. As I got up closer and could see this beautiful animal, my heart was racing, I could not believe that I, the girl from Dallas, Texas, was about to get up close and personal with an orca whale. But then something happened. Something that I never saw coming. Something that changed me forever. As I got up to Corky, I looked into her eye, and (as crazy as it may sound to some) it was like I could see through her soul. All the sudden this whale that seemed so happy moments before as she swim and jumped through the air, seemed so sad. I looked at all the people around us, touching her and laughing and kids screaming. I looked back at her and saw this poor whale laying out of the water just sitting there. I remember hearing the trainer talking to people but her voice seemed so far away. I heard a voice run through my head that was screaming THIS IS NOT RIGHT! Tears filled my eyes, and streamed down my face. I remember walking past her, and I put my hand on her back and said to myself "I am so sorry, I never thought about YOU!" I left that day and never went back. My heart was broken and I was ashamed of myself. I had never thought about the whales themselves. I claimed to love them so much, but knew nothing about them. I had no idea where these animals came from and I never even cared enough to find out. I just assumed that the were happy, they looked happy..right!?!
   I wanted to know more about this whale that changed my life forever. When I got home I looked all over the internet, and what I found broke my heart. I am sure that many other people have stories such as mine. I am sure a lot of people who go to SeaWorld are just like I was, they just have not stoped and thought of the animals themselves. SeaWorld paints a pretty picture of captivity, about how the whales and dolphins live longer healthier lives. I now know this is untrue. I have made it my life's mission to now be their voice. Those living and those who have passed, they all have a story. They are all important, and they all deserve to be known.

The Story of Corky II

 On December 11 1969, the A5- pod of British Columbia were caught in nets in the Pender Harbour. The next morning 6 orcas were taken into captivity, and the rest of the pod was released. Corky's age at the time of capture is guessed to between 3 and 5, depending on who you ask, or where you read.  The  unnamed orca was separated from her pod and sent to live at MarineLand in Ca. She was placed in a small pool with her cousin Orky, who had been captured a year earlier. In Dec 1970, a year after her capture Corky I died, and it was at that point Corky II was named.

Corky and Kiva(who lived 47 days)

 While at MarineLand Corky II (who I will now just call Corky) became the first orca to become pregnant and give birth in captivity. On Feb 28, 1977, Corky gave birth to her first calf, a male, who died 18 days after his birth. Corky and Orky breed 6 more times, but every calf died, the longest living 47 days. It is unsure why none of Corky and Orky's calves survived. Some will say it was because she didn't know how to be a good mother, due to being taken at such a young age, and not having an older female to help her(i do not believe this at all). Others will say it was because the living conditions at MarineLand were bad. Either way, Corky lost 7 babies in a 10 year period, which says alot in itself, about breeding in captivity.

Video of Corky and Orky at Marineland. You can see the tank they lived in well.

  In 1987 Corky and her cousin, and pool mate, Orky were sold to SeaWorld San Diego, and the pair were moved.  The two were introduced to bigger pools and new orcas. Orky was put into Seaworlds breeding program. He was mated with both Kandu V and Kenau shortly after his arrival. Kandu V gave birth to Orkid on Sept 23, 1988, just three days later Orky died of pneumonia. On Nov 26 1988, Orky's other daughter, Kayla, was born to Kenau.
  Corky had lost her cousin that she loved dearly, but had other battles going on. Corky was very sweet and gentle. She was very trusted and dependable for her trainers. She quickly became the "Star" of SeaWorld,  playing the role of "Shamu". Although her trainers loved to work with her, she was not without enemies.  Kandu V was the dominate female at SeaWorld and did not like Corky around. Kandu and Corky performed together regularly, and there were multiple incidents reported were Kandu became aggressive with Corky. Each time, Corky became submissive, and just tried to get away. Many of these events ended in one or both whales being injured. With the birth of Orkid, and her becoming "Baby Shamu", Kandu and Corky preformed together even more.

Video from 1988 showing Kandu V, Orkid, and Corky (as shamu) preforming together.

Kandu V blowing blood
On August 21 1989, during an afternoon show, Kandu became very upset with Corky and again went in to attack her. In one of her attempts to strike Corky, the bigger and older whale moved, and Kandu V ran into the pool wall. She then proceeded to swim to the back  tank where trainers and park guest witnessed her blow out large amounts of blood. Guest were removed from the stadium, and trainers watched helplessly for 45 mins, as Kandu V bleed to death, due to an artery in her jaw being severed during the attack.  Orkid at this time was 11 months old, and was by her mothers side as she died.

In this video, (which is in German) It talks first about Tilikum and the death of his first trainer in Canada, but then, at about 1 min in, it shows video footage of Kandu swimming to the back pool, with Orkid by her side, and Kandu blowing blood.
***Translation of Video: (Thank you Katrin)
 For the 20 year old Keltie Bryne, however, all help came to late, in 1991 she slipped on the edge of the tank in SeaWorld of the Pacific and accidentally falls into the pool. The three killer whales, 2 females and a male pull the biology student underwater. Unlike at SeaWorld, the trainers here never enter the water with the whales, whether they just wanted to play with her and accidentally drowned her or whether they consciously attacked the young woman was never ascertained. Even when it is certain that Byrne cannot be saved, the animals do not give up the body of the student. The aquarium ceases the display of killer whales one year later and sells the animals to SeaWorld. There is also aggression amongst the the animals that sometimes ends in fatalities, mostly it is dominance related violence to establish the pecking order in the group. In 1989 at SeaWorld San Diego, a full audience witnesses a clash between Corky and Kandu, the orca for who's release Paul Spong has been campaigning for years. The bloody fight that costs Kandu's life lasts 45 minutes. (I think he means the fight for her life, rather than the fight between the two animals but it's phrased poorly).***

Corky and Young Orkid

In an odd twist of fate, after Kandu's death, it was Corky who cared for Orkid. The two became very close, and still are to this day.

Corky and  Young Splash

In 1992 Corky's mothering skills were called on again, when a 2 year old male named Splash was sent to SeaWorld. Splash had been born in Ontario, but suffered from seizures and was sent to SeaWorld for care. Corky now suddenly found herself the mother of two, Orkid and Splash. In 2000, when 11 month old Sumar came to San Diego, after being separated from his mother, due to her abuse, Corky quickly took him in as well. The four whales quickly bonded and were very close.   With all 3 (Orkid, Splash, and Sumar) of these young calves, Corky did a wonderful mothering job. She cared for them as if they were her own, and they all had very tight bonds. Corky also helped with the calves born at SeaWorld. She is very good with the babies, and seemed to be a natural mother, despite all of her own calves dying.  

Corky and baby Sumar

  Splash's illness was managed with medication, for the most part. But on a number of occasions, he would have seizures. It is reported that when these seizures happened Corky, Orkid, and Sumar was always there to try in help. One report claims that Orkid pushed Splash to the surface and helped trainers get him to the medical pool. In April of 2005 Splash became ill. He was put on antibiotics but died of "Acute Perforating Gastric Ulceration W/ Associated Peritonitis " according to SeaWorlds Marine Mammal Inventory Report. Is was reported that both Orkid and Sumar, were at the gates of the medical pool when Splash died. Five years later Sumar died on Sept 7, 2010 of twisted intestinal tract (intestinal volvulus). In his final moments his best pal, and adopted sister, Orkid, was by his side. This happened because Orkid and Corky were in the pool next to the medical pool. Orkid became extremely upset, and trainers had to move her into the medical pool, with Sumar to calm her down. She stayed by Sumar's side till he was lifted out of the pool. During this time Corky swam around in her signature upside down style. (see video below) It was reported that Corky mourned the loss of her adopted boys, and took it hard. I include these stories to show the bond that these whales had with each other. To me, these bonds are a direct result of the mothering they received by Corky. It is clear that she taught them all true love.


Corky with very worn teeth
 Today, Corky has been in Captivity for 41 years(42 in Dec), the longest of any whale in captivity. She is roughly 44 to 46 years of age. She still performs at Seaworld and is considered the most trusted of all orcas in captivity. She is the "trainer orca" that all new trainers work with at Seaworld, and has never reportedly shown aggression. She is and has always been the "low man on the totum pole" when it comes to the Orca picking order. This must be because her submissive and laid back attitude.  She gets along with her fellow orcas besides Ulises, who seems to pick on her often. Orkid is fast to stand up for Corky when this happens, and is often with her. Corky's teeth are completely worn down and she has cataracts in one eye, but this does not stop her from her full performance schedule. Corky is ease to pick out from the other orcas at Seaworld. She is very large at 19.7 feet long and 8,255lbs. She has a very tall and straight dorsal fine, she has dart-like patches over her eyes, and more times then not, she found swimming up side down. If she is near a pool with a viewing window, you can bet she is there showing off and watching the people on the other side.

 In the wild, Corky's  mom Stripe (A23) died in 2000 and her brother Oskisollo died a year later. The rest of her pod still lives of the coast of BC.  The video below shows Corky's family. Its her mom Stripe, brother's Okisollo and Fife, Sister Ripple, and niece Midsummer (the video calls Midsummer a boy, but everything else I find says he is a she). The video was taken in about 1998 (due to Midsummers age). In the video it touches on the struggles the family has faced. How Stripe stays close to her family, and how pod has faced many tragic events over the years. From captures to boating accidents to not having enough food to eat. Yet through it all, they stayed together. Through it all they have their love for each other, that keeps them going.
An amazing Video of Corky's Mother and siblings.

It is clear to me that Corky carries her family with her, to this day. I see so much of her mothers gentleness, love, and ability to carry on, in her. I do not know if in the short time Corky was with her mother, she learned to love the way she does, or if its just an amazing trait that was passed down in her genes. Her ability to just keep going, through all she has faced in the past 41 years, is amazing.  I was blessed to met this amazing soul. I will be forever grateful to Corky for opening my eyes and giving me the passion and fire I have inside of me. I will carry the lesson she has taught me, passing it on to my own child, and those I meet. I will fight for her, and all other animals, right to freedom and life. I will be the voice they do not have. And I will never let her story fade, I will never allow her to become the forgotten...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Death by Media...

  In 1975 the outlook on sharks forever changed thanks to Steven Spielberg's hit movie "Jaws". Jaws was a film about a  Great White Shark that was out to kill every human who entered the water. The movie trailer alone tells the story..
 "There is a creature alive today, who has survived millions of years of evolution, without change, without passion, and without logic. It lives to kill. A mindless eating machine. It will attack and devourer anything. It is as if God created the devil, and gave him Jaws!"

After the film was released, people were scared to go into the water. Men begun going out in boats to kill any and every shark they could find. Who would have thought a "sci-fi" movie would create such a panic and lead to the killing of billions of sharks. But that's exactly what happened. Many people feel that the only good shark, is a dead shark.

  Despite what people believe sharks are not mindless killing machines. More people die annually from dog bites, then shark attacks. In fact, you are more likely to die from a bee sting then being attacked by a shark. In 2010 there were two fatal shark attacks in the US. One was in Florida and one in California. Two deaths out of all the people who went into the water. Two deaths when there are billions of sharks in US waters. Yet media puts so much hype into shark attacks that humans fear them more then any other creature in the world. Want some food for thought? Giving the amount of sharks in the water and the amount of people around them, in 2010 there was a higher percentage of humans killed by an orca in captivity then those killed by sharks in the ocean.

  Over 75 million sharks are killed every year. Most of these sharks are killed for their fins, to make shark fin soup. These sharks are normally caught, their fins cut off, and then the live shark is thrown back into the water to die. The fins are then taken back to port, dried, then shipped all over the world. But not all sharks are killed for this reason. Many die in nets that are set up to "protect humans" in swimming areas while others are caught as bycatch. It is believed that over 90% of all large sharks have been wiped out on the east coast of the US, and over 50 species of shark are listed as being a high risk of extinction.
   Why should we care? Sharks are apex predators and are the top of the food chain, they keep the marine life balanced. Without them the food chain would become out of control. Disease would likely spread due to the abundant fish population. The food chain would become strained, and eventually all levels would be effected. The Oceans will die, and so will we. Please read my post Why the Oceans for more info on why saving our Oceans are so important.

Did you know...
  •  sharks have lived on the planet for over 400 million years
  •  a bowl of shark fin soup can run over $100 a bowl
  •  a basking sharks pectoral fin can sell for $250,000
  •  certain energy drinks, lotions, and lipsticks contain shark products
  •  rock salmon and white fish is actually shark meat
  •  some leather is made from shark

 It is time we stop hating sharks and start protecting them. They have existed 100 times longer then man, yet it is man who will decide their fate.  Please educate yourself and others of the sharks battle to survive.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bad News for Lolita....

  I received word this morning that something was wrong at Maimi Seaquarium. At the time the details were very sketchy. Lolita had not been preforming all week, and her show has been cancelled through the weekend. Upon calling MSQ, all they would say is to call back Monday. The wonderful people who love and fight for Lolita had already sprung into action. People making their way to MSQ to see what they could find. Organizing last minute protest to demand answers, contacting media, calling non-stop to get answers, and many other actions.
 I, along with many others, have been stressed wondering what is going on. MSQ answers to themselves, and are none to hide the truth when they can. Although you want to keep positive, the thoughts of what could have happened haunts you. Everything from tank issues, her attacking a trainer, to her being very ill or even dead was running through my mind.

 After all the hard work of so many, MSQ opened up to CBC Miami and this was released....


Toothache Closes Killer Whale Lolita Show

March 4, 2011 12:29 PM

KEY BISCAYNE (CBS4) — South Florida marine super star Lolita the Killer Whale is feeling a bit under the weather.
 The star attraction at the Miami Seaquarium is “being treated for a tooth infection, a recurrence of a dental issue she had in 1994,” according to a statement from the popular marine theme park. “The whale stadium at Miami Seaquarium is temporarily closed. Although she is not performing shows, she is eating normally and being treated with antibiotics,” said the statement.
Lolita, the oldest killer whale in captivity, was born around 1966. She has spent most of her life at the Seaquarium since her capture in 1970. The 7,000 pound whale has lived in the 20-foot deep tank for 40 years, performing twice a day for South Florida tourists.
For years, activists have been trying to convince the Seaquarium to retire Lolita and release her back into the waters of the Pacific Northwest where she was originally captured, but her handlers and theme park owners say her life would be endangered if she were freed after so many years in captivity.

Lolita has pretty healthy teeth.
I am happy to now know what is going on with Lolita, but this news is not good. I know that some will think, its just a toothache, what the big deal? But this is a VERY big deal. In captivity Tooth infections kill, both Orcas and Dolphins.
   In captivity Orcas and dolphins alike are known to chew. They chew on cement ledges, metal gates, and anything else they can get their teeth on. It has been seen many times Orcas biting separation gates. This leads to broken and damaged teeth, which leads to infections. In the Article Keto and Tilikum express stress of orca captivity, the two ex-trainers John Jett and Jeffery Ventre tell the story of Orca teeth problems. They explain how big of an issue it is, and how Seaworld drills holes in the whales teeth to help clean them.  Untreated or bad tooth infections can lead to many health problems. Blood infections, heart and organ problems and failure, and pneumonia are just a few of these issues.

You can see Lolita has some broken and missing teeth. 

 The very fact that so many Orca's have teeth problems in captivity is proof that they are not receiving the care that the parks claim. The fact that after so many years of holding orcas in captivity, yet still not finding away to prevent these problems shows that lack of knowledge they have of Orca care. When will they admit that they don't have all the answers and Orcas are dying needlessly due to their lack of care?

Corky II is the same age as Lolita, her
teeth are worn all the way down.  
 In the mean time Lolita is fighting an infection. I pray that she recovers and MSQ will see the light. It is time to retire Lolita. A retirement plan had been drafted and is just waiting to be put into action. Lolita would be well cared for by those who love her and want the VERY best for her. The Orca Network and many others are prepaired to give her the very best care as long as she needs, but in a bay pen in her home waters, where she would never have to worry about doing shows or tricks for her food. Her mother and the rest of her pod are waiting for her. Its time to send her home to Wa state. Its time to let her be as free as possible and get her out of that tiny 20 foot deep pool, that she has been kept in for now over 40 years.

MSQ and the Hertz family.. It is not to late for Lolita, but her time is running out. Please do not let her die in that tank. Please do not punish her for your human greed and ego. She has made you enough money, lots of money. You have stolen 40 years of her life. Will you not be happy till she is dead? Will you bleed her for all you can? Are you really that greedy and heartless? Please, do the right thing.