White Orcas!

I’m always astounded by images of unusual animals. That’s why last year I talked about the albino dolphin found by the Taiji roundup. That story was somewhat sad in that the family of the unusual specimen was destroyed by the pointless atrocity that is the Taiji Cove roundup.

2016-09-02_2The animal displayed above is called Iceberg. Iceberg was originally spotted in 2010. He’s part of a family that has remained together off the coast of Russia. The modern sighting has verified him and his family as part of the fish eating type of Orca, but his status as either true albino or leuistic has not yet been established. Russian waters are home to more than one white Orca, but this suggests that the population may be breeding closely and thus resulting in this concentration of recessively colored animals. Currently in Russia 5 white individuals have been confirmed, and there is evidence that suggests that the actual numbers might be as high as 8.

I look forward to the ongoing research on this unique population, and hope that the White Orcas of Russia continue to swim free!

Effects of Captivity on the Orca Mind

The Documentary Blackfish (available on Netflix at the time I’m writing this) posits alot of things, and is based off the book I reviewed yesterday called Death at Seaworld. There’s a lot going on, and I’m not sure I completely understand all of the complexities of all of the details of the situation, but I’m not sure I’m a captivity supporter for these animals…

Review: Death at SeaWorld

Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in CaptivityDeath at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the end, I took a long time to read this book. But it’s heavy, and kind of depressing. But it is a topic that was well worth reading more about and making my way through the book. I felt like it was well researched and covered the subject of Orcas at Seaworld well. I have yet to read a counterpoint work, so at this time I can’t speak to if the book is biased in an unfair way or not. The anti-capitivity point of view of the book is prevalent, but I have to do some further reading before I’ll know what was fair and what wasn’t. (a single book from a specific point of view shouldn’t make up a person’s entire view on a subject).

I do know one thing from this book: Tilikum is emotionally damaged. He needs help, and the captive situation for him at Seaworld isn’t healthy. There is little reason to continue keeping him in captivity (he brings nothing to the breeding program any longer, after all) and the time has come to examine a retirement situation for him. Seaworld should prove that conversation and animal wellbeing are on the agenda beside creating entertaining shows.

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Kitsu’s Afternoon “News”: Grab Bag

Another grab bag to help clear my inboxes.

  • CAN BIRTH CONTROL AFFECT MEMORY? 19 September 2011: Hormones effect memory and studies are showing that oral contraceptives can make retention of details more difficult over time.
  • 18-FOOT ANACONDA CAPTURED ALIVE 19 September 2011: Originally captured in 2009, explorers Niall McCann and Robert Pickles found an 18 foot long Anaconda who had never encountered people before and brought it back from their explorations with them. They have only just decided to release information about the record breaking reptile.
  • THE BIZARRE JAWS OF THE ANGEL FISH 20 September 2011: A discussion of the unusual jaw structure of reed dwelling angelfish and how that effects the niches they fill in the ecosystem.
  • SEA SQUID ARE SAME-SEX SWINGERS 21 September 2011: Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers have found that male wild squid exhibit same-sex mating behaviors, and in what might be an indiscriminate sex strategy, are just as likely to mate with other males as they are with females.
  • WATERCRAFT SWIMS LIKE A KILLER WHALE 21 September 2011: Innerspace Productions has produced a semi-submersible boat modeled on an Orca that can breach, flip, and preform other behaviors made familiar by Shamu. The same company has shark and dolphins inspired models.