#WhaleWednesday – #RIPKasatka

#WhaleWednesday this week will be dedicated to Kasatka

Six weeks after being rumored to be near death, orca matriarch Kasatka has died.

SeaWorld San Diego announced today that Kasatka was euthanized on the evening of Tuesday August 15, after a long bout with bacterial respiratory infection, or lung disease.

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Kasatka’s passing comes just three weeks after the death of 3 month old orca calf Kyara at SeaWorld Antonio (Kasatka’s granddaughter and San Diego born Takara’s daughter).

Kasatka was captured off the coast of Iceland on October 26, 1978, at the age of less than 2 years (she was estimated to be born around 1976). She was captured alongside her pod mate Katina, also approximately 2 years old, and then sold to SeaWorld that same month. For 4 years, Kasatka and Katina lived together, but the two were separated in 1984 when Katina was shipped to SeaWorld Orlando, where she remains imprisoned for the remainder of her life.

Kasatka, since then has been held captive and imprisoned at various SeaWorld parks for the last 39 years. Her crime? She was born an orca (killer whale)! A marine mammal species so intelligent, beautiful and intriguing to people that the owners of SeaWorld knew they could put her on display and people would pay to watch her swim circles in a tank.

Kasatka’s body, while in the end was ravaged by illness, had been abused for her entire time in captivity. She had been forced to perform multiple times daily for 39 years by food deprivation (meaning SeaWorld would reduce the number of calories a whale gets over a period of time so the animal becomes increasingly food motivated – orcas are more likely to cooperate with a trainer when they are hungry).

Kasatka was also forced to bear children that were then removed from her side and relocated to other SeaWorld owned prisons. Given what is known about the bonds between mother and calves (in the wild males remain with their mother for their entire lives) this is an even greater violation that food deprivation and is simply extreme emotional abuse.

Kasatka was one of SeaWorld’s most successful breeders and has given SeaWorld 4 orcas: Takara in 1991, Nakai in 2001, Kalia in 2004 and Makani in 2013. She also had six grandchildren ( Kohaana, Trua, Sakari, Kamea, Amya and Kyara) and two great grandchildren (Adan and Victoria)

Kasatka was one of only 4 remaining wild captured orcas still in SeaWorld parks, with her passing there will now only be 3 – Ulyssess and Corky in San Diego and Katina in Orlando.

At least in death, Kasatka’s lifetime of suffering has finally come to an end – as heartbreaking as her death is, the truth of the matter is that it is Kasatka’s life that was the real tragedy. At least now Kasatka can finally swim free!

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Will the recent death of 3 month old calf Kyara and now the death of Kasatka just 3 weeks later, finally wake people up enough to address these issues of cetaceans in captivity?

In all honestly likely not, but I sure hope so!

There are so many people that think the only way to view orcas (dolphins, belugas, whales, etc) is at Sea World (or similar marine parks) and that this is an educational experience for children.  This is by no means an educational experience, it’s an excuse people use as to why we still hold these intelligent social beings in captivity.

Choose to view wildlife in the wild and do not support SeaWorld or any other similar marine park. Change begins with each and every one of us – teach your children kindness to animals and that is wrong to keep animals in captivity.

“There is as much educational benefit in studying dolphins in captivity as there would be in studying humans beings by only observing prisoners in solitary confinement” Jacques Cousteau

While it is too late for Kasatka, it is not too late for SeaWorld to start building sea sanctuaries for the other orcas imprisoned in their parks, including Kasatka’s children and grandchildren.

Check out the The Whale Sanctuary Project to learn more about the mission to establish a model seaside sanctuary where cetaceans (whales and dolphins) can live in an environment that maximizes well-being and autonomy and is as close to possible to their natural habitat.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatama Gandhi

 

 

 

 

2017/2018 Taiji Drive Hunt Quota

Only 3 weeks until 2017/2018 Taiji Drive Hunt & Slaughter resumes again. 

2017/2018 Drive Hunt Quota by species:

2017/2018 quota for the drive fishery in Taiji has been released.  This quota allows for a take of 1,940 animals from nine species and has added two species to the list – rough-toothed dolphins & melon-headed whales.

In addition to drive hunt, rough tooths and melon headed have been added to the hand harpoon quota in two prefectures – Wakayama and Okinawa. In Wakayama, 30 melon-headed whales can be taken, while in Okinawa, 13 rough-tooths and 60 melon-headed are allowed via this method. 

Including both hand-harpoon and drive hunting, a total of 33 rough-tooths and 190 melon-headed whales have been added to the overall small cetacean quota in Japan.

source: http://ika-net.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2017/08/post-f1fb.html

No Fish No Blackfish – RIP J28 Polaris

RIP J28 Polaris

Her loss is made even more tragic by the additional loss of her most recent calf J54. At less than a year old and still nursing, his survival is unlikely without his mother to feed him. He was last seen on October 23 and is now presumed deceased. This brings the year’s losses up to 4 (L95, J14, J28 and J54) and the population back down to 80.

More then ever, we need to look toward more fish as the primary solution in saving the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale Population.

It is fairly simple … No Fish No Blackfish

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What can you DO to help:

Get Involved – volunteer for a shoreline cleanup in your area – tell organization why support or why you do not – write to your local government representative (send letters and emails)

Sign petitions:

Eat Sustainable

Become a Member of the Center for Whale Research – follow them on Facebook & Twitter

Adopt a Whale – check out The Whale Museum for more information

Follow Dam Sense on Facebook and check out their website damsense.org

Tweet to help save the SRKW’s

Read the following articles to learn more:

 

Dolphin Base #tweet4taiji

As a Cove Guardian, it was not only my responsibility to report on and document the daily drive hunt and slaughter, but to also monitor the daily activity at Dolphin Base. For me, Dolphin Base is one of the saddest places to see, like the Taiji Harbor pens that hold captive dolphins, it is basically a floating sea prison.

The next three photos give you an idea of what Dolphin Base looks like from left to right. When I say floating sea prison I really mean it. There are a total of 9 pens floating behind the Dolphin Resort Hotel in Taiji that hold captive dolphins and whales, which also happens to be down the road from the Whale Museum which also holds many captive dolphins and whales.

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Far left pens, the one in front held captive bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales. The pen in the back with the black tarp once held beluga whales obtained in a trade with Russia for bottlenose dolphins.

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The middle sea pen, is the largest of all the pens at Dolphin, and is also an entertainment pen. During my time in Taiji there was 5 bottlenose dolphins in this pen.

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On the right there are 6 captive pens, which held bottlenose dolphins and pacific white sided dolphins.

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An idea of what the dolphins go through when the ocean is rough and windy.

I had previously seen photos of dolphin base prior to my visit to Taiji, but once again nothing really prepares you for the experience of seeing this with your own eyes. The first time I walked up to Dolphin Base, my heart broke seeing the conditions these dolphins are forced to live in day and day out. You realize just how small these captive pens are, how many dolphins are crammed into them and you continue see the dolphins listlessly float at the surface or continuously swim in the same direction and breach in the exact same spot over and over again. To me this cries out boredom, depression and frustration. Not being able to leave, not being able to fend for yourself and being completely dependent upon the trainers who were also responsible for the rest of your family members being slaughtered. These dolphins to some people may be considered the “lucky” ones, since they were chosen by the killers and trainers for the captive entertainment industry and avoided slaughter. But honestly what is better death or life of imprisonment? I leave with this question and some photos which I took of the course of my time as a Cove Guardian at Dolphin Base of the poor innocent souls destined to live out their lives performing tricks for dead fish.

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False Killer whale – notice how you can the ribs of this whale from malnourishment

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Bottlenose dolphins – on the dolphin breaching you can again see the rib cage of this dolphin

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Bottlenose dolphin being ignored while trainers prepare dead fish that this dolphin will have to perform tricks correctly for in order to eat.

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Pacific white sided dolphin performing being conditioned or trained for your entertainment, but for them simply to just get some dead fish

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Spy Hoping to see what is going on in the other captive pens. The bottlenose dolphins behind this pacific white sided dolphin were being fed/trained at this point.

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Bottlenose dolphin sent by a trainer to the opposite side of this pen to hold this position until told otherwise by a trainer. Heartbreaking.

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Pacific White Sided Dolphin continuously breached in this corner of the pen, along with the 3-4 others in this sea prison

After reading this post and seeing these photos I hope that all of you will think twice before visiting Sea World, Marineland Canada or any other similar Dolphinarium or swim with dolphin program. Chances are that if you do go, these may be the dolphins you will see or ones that were also taken from their life of freedom in the ocean after having witnessed their family slaughtered. These dolphins are then broken in, conditioned or trained to perform tricks for food. Please do not support captivity! Dolphins are dying in Taiji to entertain you and many brave people are fighting to put an end to these atrocities. If you support the captive dolphin industry they you are also supporting the dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Instead please be a voice for the voiceless!

For the dolphins and whales of Taiji held captive and those that were slaughtered needlessly.

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Checking in on the dolphins at Dolphin Base

Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt & Slaughter #tweet4taiji

Only 8 days remain until the fisherman of Taiji begin another season of the annual Dolphin Drive Hunt & Slaughter

The slaughter of dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs in Taiji, Japan each year. Starting on September 1 and usually continues through March of the next year. Fisherman herd whole families of small cetaceans into a shallow bay and mercilessly stab and drown them to death.

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The dolphin drive hunts in Taiji do not just end in the killing of dolphins, Taiji is “ground zero” for the international trade in live dolphins. There is a direct link between the captive dolphin entertainment industry and the bloody waters of the Cove in Taiji. Supporting a live dolphin show or participating in a confined swim with dolphin program is supporting the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji and in return directly relates to killing of thousands of dolphins each year for human consumption.  It is the dolphin entertainment industry that drive the hunt and the killing of dolphins follows in its wake. For the dolphins pulled from their families and sold into captivity, life is beyond horrible.

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Once the dolphins are driven into the Cove area, they are then herded into a southern finger off the Cove. Oftern main mammal trainers from the nearby Dolphin Base and the Taiji Whale Museum wil move among the captured dolphins and select the young dolphins and those deemed “beautiful” (that is without any scarring) for the captive entertainment industry. Those not selected are pushed further into the Cove and hunters push a metal rod into the dolphin’s spinal cords. Once the rod is removed, a wooden plud is then hammered into the pole. The insertion of the rod causes paralysis, however the dolphins are stil alive and very much aware of what is happening to them and to their family members. A rope is then tied around their tails adn they are hauled out tothe waiting gutting barge by small skiffs. Most of them slowly drown and die during this towing activity.

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What can you do to help:

Dolphin exploitation continues to this day because the public remains unaware of dolphin suffering. Now that you are aware, please do not fund the suffering of dolphins and cetaceans by purchasing a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with dolphin program

Spread the word by following  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Operation Infinite Patience on social media and spread the word to your friends and family

Follow the Cove Guardians on Facebook & Twitter for daily activity in Taiji at the Cove:

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Page (official) & @CoveGuardians

Educate others on the link between the Taiji dolphin slaughter and the captive dolphin entertainment industry. Discourage your family and friends from visiting dolphinariums, such as Sea World, Marineland Canada, etc., or participating in swim with dolphin programs.

Marineland’s Last Remaining Orca #OPSID

Killer whales are highly social; some pods are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. Killer Whales are notable for these complex societies. Only elephants and higher primates, such as humans, live in comparably complex social structures. It is because of these complex social bonds and society that one should wonder why we attempt keep Killer Whales in captivity.

Captivity is about separation and exclusion. It is about the destruction of families and communities. For wild caught animals, many watch their parents and family killed in front of them at a young age so that they won’t be able to put up a fight to defend them from capture. For the animals bred in captivity at Marineland, those parents routinely watch as their offspring suffer and die in infancy.

There are no heart warming stories at Marineland, Niagara Falls, Canada. There are endless sad stories, but none may be more pressing and sad than that of Kiska. Marineland’s last remaining Orca, Kiska was wild caught from Iceland in the 1980’s. At Marineland, Kiska is the longest serving resident and she has seen dozens of Orcas come and go – and estimated 14 other Orcas die. Of those 14, 5 of them have been her own children. The oldest surviving just 6 years. (Source)

Since the removal of Ikaika back to SeaWorld she has spent her days alone. Ex-trainers have spoken publicly about their concern for her and Marineland itself have gone on public legal record establishing their concern for the health of their lone Orca held in solitary. (Source)

Kiska’s story is the story of captivity. She has survived, but at what cost? Her life has been painfully sad, she is alone and completely dependent upon humans – humans who are only interested in her as an “asset.”

There is no human need to hold other animals in captivity. There is no human need to gawk at or to turn other animals into mere commodities and spectacles. Marineland Animal Defense fights to remove Kiska and all of the other animals at Marineland and to ensure there are no more captives!

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Kiska alone in her tank.

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