The release today of the documentary Blackfish has SeaWorld, the setting of the documentary, in an unusually aggressive yet defensive public relations battle with the makers of the film. The film centers on the orca that perform in captivity at SeaWorld, and explores the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau by the actions of the orca Tilikum. In January, the documentary series Frontline explored the world of captive cetaceans, particualrly at SeaWorld in their film, A Whale of a Business. [more inside]
"A pod of orcas, or killer whales, cooperate to wash a Weddell seal off an ice floe. This sequence, filmed for Frozen Planet, marks the first complete filming of killer whale "wave washing" behavior." [more inside]
Fisherman versus killer whale [SLYT, some NSFW language]
Operation Orca - Springer, Luna and the Struggle to Save West Coast Killer Whales (1) They Shoot Orcas, Don't They? (2) Era of the Orca Cowboys (3) How Not to Ship a Whale [more inside]
Fourteen killer whales were spotted about 90 miles off the coast of Texas on January 18 (Video/stills included). This is one for the record books: There are "only 9 reliable records of collected sightings before 1990. Another 14 have been collected since then," said University of Texas Marine expert Tony Amos. Larger stills from the video are available here.
Very high level of PCBs in whale raises alarms. "The orca found dead on the Olympic Peninsula earlier this year carried a level of contaminants that was among the highest -- if not the highest -- ever measured in killer whales, laboratory tests show". If that is the case with free ranging whales then I shudder to think what similar measurements on city dwelling humans will reveal. Does anyone know of similar contaminant research on humans? (via Baloney.com)