Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Pygmy Sperm Whale Stranding In Galveston—Every News Story Gives You The Opportunity To Learn More And To Take Action

A Pygmy Sperm Whale washed up on the beach in Galveston early on Wednesday.

Above you see a Houston Chronicle picture of the incident.

From The Galveston County Daily News-

“A vacationer from Dallas and his 11-year-old daughter discovered a pygmy sperm whale thrashing about in the surf Wednesday morning on the West End. The Marine Mammal Stranding Network came to Shores Drive and FM 3005 shortly after 9 a.m. and placed a stretcher under the whale and lifted it into a rescue truck. The animal was breathing and its eyes were open. It was taken to a holding tank at the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.”

Here is the link to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

Unfortunately, the whale has since been euthanized.

Here are facts about the Pygmy Sperm Whale from The American Cetacean Society.

Here is a Houston Chronicle story about different types of whales that live in the Gulf of Mexico.

An unusual number of dolphin calves have been found dead in the Gulf of Mexico in recent months.

The article I link to above does not assert that these dolphin deaths have been caused by the BP oil disaster.  It does say though that this is possible and tests are being done to determine the facts.

More concrete is the fact that large parts of the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico are covered with oil.

From The Huffington Post–

“Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist’s video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn’t degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn’t.”

Here is the web page for Dr. Samantha Joye. Dr. Joye led the study about the oil at the bottom of the gulf.

Here is the Gulf Spill Restoration website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

My friend Bob Cavnar has written about the oil at the bottom of the Gulf at The Daily Hurricane.

The impact of the BP spill may not be as bad as some first feared. But it appears to be bad enough.

The government, academic researchers, the press, and groups such as Greenpeace should keep monitoring conditions in the Gulf.

(Below–A picture of the oil-covered bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. It seems that sea worms of some kind do well in oil. Here is a previous post I’ve written here about sea worms.)

Every news story offers the chance to learn more than we know at the moment. It is up to each of us to learn about the world. When we learn more, then we are more likely to take action to improve the world.

A great book on marine mammals is the National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals of the World(Books remain the strongest source on many issues and subjects. Please consider getting off the computer and reading a book.)

From the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of Texas are facts about the 29 types of marine mammals that live in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are some basic facts about the Gulf of Mexico. This site I link to here, Gulfbase.org, has far more than just basics if you would like to know more.

A useful book on the coast in and around Galveston is The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John Anderson. This book, published by Texas A & M,  has scientific value while also being accessible.

I cannot stress this fact enough—It is up to the individual to learn about the world and to take action to improve the world.

You may well decide to take that action in concrt with others. But at core—You must decide yourself to be involved.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Captive Dolphin Is Named Liberty—If You Go To These Shows, Please At Least Learn Something About Dolphins And The Ocean

In this picture provided by Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Liberty, ...

The dolphin you see above is named “Liberty.”

It should be named “Prisoner” because it is in dolphin jail.

This dolphin prisoner lives at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Park in Vallejo, California.

The dolphin is called Liberty because it was born on the Fourth of July.

Liberty, as seen in an Associated Press picture, was forced to do tricks on the Fourth of July for people visiting the park.    

Even though it lives its life in a tank, the dolphin is called Liberty as if it were free and swimming around in the ocean.

These shows would bug me less if I had any sense that they made people care about the creatures they see, or care about the health of the oceans.

I think people come and gawk at the dolphins and the Shamus and move on to some other thought as soon as they leave the park.

I know these shows are not going away, but if take your kids, or go on your own, please take some time to learn about what you are seeing.

Here are a number of questions about oceans answered by the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  There is a lot of information to be found at this site.

Here is a Christian Science Monitor blog post about overfishing and that has a number of links to other sources on the topic. The fish you are eating may be on the verge of going away for good.

Here is the EPA web home with programs meant to protect the nation’s salt water resources.

The Empty Ocean by Richard Ellis is a very good book about overfishing that I have read.

Below is a picture of a Bottlenose Dolphin in the ocean I’m going to name “Captive.” 

Here are facts about Bottlenose Dolphins.

Here are many facts about different types of whales and dolphins from NOAA.

The National Audubon Society Guide To Marine Mammals Of The World is a top rate book.

File:Bottlenose Dolphin KSC04pd0178.jpg

July 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Killer Whales Spotted In Gulf Of Mexico—Marine Mammal Reference Ideas

Killer Whales have been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico.

Below is a picture of killer whales seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Behind them you seen an oil rig which is pretty good evidence that you are looking at the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is information about the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is a link to YouTube video footage of killer whales in Texas waters.

Below is from the Houston Chronicle story on the killer whales

“Scientists say orcas have been in the Gulf for years but are rarely seen because they live far from shore and beyond the typical range of commercial fishermen. Still, a recent sighting of killer whales 95 miles off the Alabama coast has captivated those who work and play in the warm waters of the Gulf. “It was like being at Sea World because they’d come right up to the boat,” said Eddie Hall, captain of the Shady Lady, the charter boat that spotted as many as 200 orcas feeding on tuna. Hall recorded the close encounter on video, and the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that they were, indeed, killer whales. Tony Amos, a researcher with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, said confirmed sightings of orcas in the Gulf date back to at least 1985.”

The guy in the Chronicle story said that it was just like Sea World. Yes–It was just like Sea World except that the whales were free and not in a kind of sea jail in the form of a (sort of ) big tank.

A killer whale is not a whale. It is a kind of dolphin. It is a very big killer dolphin. Its presence in the Gulf is not so much a surprise when you consider that it is the most widespread of any whale or dolphin. Here is some discussion of the differences between whales and dolphins.

Killer Whales can grow up to 30 feet long and live up to 90 years. Female killer whales can hang on for 80 to 90 years while males make it between 50 and 60.

A great book on marine mammals is the National Audubon Society’s Guide To Marine Mammals of the World(Books remain the stronger source on very many issues and questions than what you are able to find on the internet. Please consider getting off the computer and reading a book.)

Here is a bit of what the Audubon Guide says about killer whales—

“The world population of killer whales seems to consist of specialized subpopulation, each adapted to live off the resources available within its home range. In this sense killer whales are much like wolves.”

A book I don’t own but that maybe someday I will is The Marine Mammals of the Gulf of Mexico.

There are many types of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. Please click here for a list of such creatures.

The American Cetacean Society is a good on-line reference for marine mammals. You can find killer whale information at the ACS.

Here is the link to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Books, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dolphin Teaches Other Dolphins How To “Tail-Walk” on Water

Tail-walking dolphin
The BBC reports that a dolphin in Australia is teaching other dolphins how to “tail-walk” on water.
 
Above is a picture of one one of the tail walking dolphins. This behavior may have been learned from a brief time the dolphin doing the teaching spent in a marine park.
 
I’d sure like to see that in Galveston Bay some day.
 
Do you think the dolphin teaching the other dolphins is a show-off. Or do you think it is some sort of power grab in the dolphin hierarchy?
 
It could though be an act of kindess or just good fun.
 
 
Don’t you wish sometimes that people could pick up stuff so easily? The real trick though would be if dolphins could teach people this stunt.
From the BBC story–

A wild dolphin is apparently teaching other members of her group to walk on their tails, a behaviour usually seen only after training in captivity. The tail-walking group lives along the south Australian coast near Adelaide.  One of them spent a short time after illness in a dolphinarium 20 years ago and may have picked up the trick there.

Scientists studying the group say tail-walk tuition has not been seen before, and suggest the habit may emerge as a form of “culture” among this group.  “We can’t for the life of us work out why they do it,” said Mike Bossley from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), one of the scientists who have been monitoring the group on the Port River estuary. “We’re doing systematic observations now to determine if there’s something that may trigger it, but so far we haven’t found anything,” he told BBC News.

In the 1980s, Billie, one of the females in the group, spent a few weeks in a local dolphinarium recovering from malnutrition and sickness, a consequence of having been trapped in a marina lock. She received no training there, but may have seen others tail-walking.

Now, other females in the group have picked up the habit. It is seen rarely in the wild, and the obvious inference is that they have learned it from Billie.  “This indicates that they do learn from each other, which is not a surprise really, but it does also seem that they exhibit elements of what in humans we would call ‘cultural’ behaviour,” said Dr Bossley.

“These are things that groups develop and are passed between individuals and that come to define those groups, such as language or dancing; and it would seem that among the Port River dolphins we may have an incipient tail-walking culture.” The “cultural” transmission of ideas and skills has been documented in apes, while dolphins off the coast of Western Australia are known to teach their young to use sponges as an aid when gathering food.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , | Leave a comment