Orca

Orcas and humpbacks brawl

Whale watchers were making their way toward the U.S.-Canadian border in the Strait of Juan de Fuca when the captain spotted the group of whales. At first, whale watchers observed what they thought was a pod of roughly 15 Bigg’s orcas swimming and "being unusually active at the surface." Before long, it became apparent that two humpback whales were in their midst.

Orcas hunt Great White Sharks

For several years, scientists have suspected that orcas have been killing and eating parts of great white sharks. Now, they have video evidence to prove it.

New drone and helicopter footage show a pod of orcas ruthlessly pursuing a great white shark in Mossel Bay, South Africa for more than an hour before going in for the kill. The video culminates with one of the killer whales gobbling up a large chunk of the shark's liver.

A diver in British Columbia has been handed down the largest ever fine for getting too close to orcas.
A diver in British Columbia has been handed down the largest ever fine for getting too close to orcas.

Diver Fined CAD 9,000 For Swimming Too Close to Orcas

A scuba diver in British Columbia, Canada, has been fined a record 12,000 Canadian dollars ($9,250) for approaching a pod of orcas too closely.

In British Columbia, vessels must keep at least 200 meters away from orcas and in southern B.C. coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet, vessels must keep 400 meters away. Vessels must be at least 100 meters away from all other cetaceans.

Common dolphin (NOAA NMFS/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)
Common dolphin (NOAA NMFS/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

Share your views on Scotland's first cetacean conservation strategy

Focusing on nine of the most commonly found dolphin, whale and porpoise species in UK waters, the strategy has been developed by the Scottish Government, in collaboration with the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Its objective is to ensure the effective management to achieve and maintain the current favourable status of the nine species. It highlights certain pressures where further research or extra management measures may help to improve the conservation of marine mammals.

Mmo iwdg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Long-finned pilot whale cow with her calf, off the coast of Ireland. Photo by Mmo iwdg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Buoy in Celtic Sea tracks oceanic noise

Equipped with an autonomous hydrophone, the buoy's function is to conduct for the first time real-time acoustic monitoring of the water's cetaceans to assess how oceanic noise pollution affects them. 

Deployed as part of the Smart Whale Sounds project, it will also track the distribution and behaviour of whale species in real-time and be used to train machine learning models to identify different species' calls. 

Swimming with dolphins
Swimming with and learning from dolphins

Learning the swimming secrets of dolphins and whales

This scenario may one day become reality. And to be efficient, such robots would need to be maneuverable and stealthy, and be able to closely mimic the movements of the marine creatures.

Scientists like Keith W. Moored are working on the next generation of underwater robots by studying the movements of dolphins and whales. "We're studying how these animals are designed and what's beneficial about that design in terms of their swimming performance, or the fluid mechanics of how they swim."

Whales, dolphins and porpoises should be enjoyed in the wild, not in captivity.

More companies cut ties with attractions housing captive cetaceans

Whether or not you have watched (or agree with) the movies Free Willy or Blackfish, the predicament of captive cetaceans is one that can spark off a heated debate from both sides of the fence.

Nonetheless, such movies and increased awareness have led to public calls for attractions and venues that keep wild animals captive to release them.

Marine-animal attractions like SeaWorld are particularly under fire due to their animal shows featuring captive cetaceans trained to perform for public entertainment.

The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a cetacean, and the third largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae)
The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is a cetacean, and the third largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae)

False Killer Whales to recieve protection

False killer whales in the “Hawaiʻi Insular Stock” (animals found within 76 nautical miles of the main Hawaiian Islands) are being killed in Hawaiʻi-based longlines at nearly twice the sustainable rate, contributing to a 9 per cent decline in the population each year since 1989.

Currently, the Hawaii stock is estimated at 270 whales and the Northern Gulf of Mexico stock at 1040 whales.

Do whales like jazz?

Interspecies was started in 1978, to grant artists the same access to wilderness and wild animals that is usually reserved for field biologists. Their goal and belief is that science is not the only approach to understanding nature. During the 1980s, Interspecies sponsored over 100 musicians to attempt communication with orcas off western Canada.