A Whale of a Week, This Is SeaWorld, Mega’s pod down to 33 and a vision for whales in tourism...
A vision for whales and dolphins in tourism
Lone Orca Kshamenk Is Confined to This Tiny Tank
Kshamenk is the lone orca confined to a woefully small tank at Mundo Marino in Argentina. He was abducted from his family and ocean home and is forced to perform circus tricks for rowdy crowds. SeaWorld reportedly sent staff to Argentina to “train” the orca how to have his semen collected, and then used that semen to forcibly impregnate at least two orcas at its U.S. parks before it ended its sordid breeding program. Learn more here: https://www.seaworldofhurt.com/featur...
How Captivity Causes Brain Damage in Dolphins and Whales
Brain damage doesn’t only happen when someone gets a bump on the head. Research is increasingly showing that the effects of captivity are so detrimental to animals that it’s harming their brains in much the same way — especially in larger mammals such as dolphins and whales.
Dr. Lori Marino, president of the Whale Sanctuary Project, writes about the ways that captivity can cause physical changes to brain structures, which can alter health and behavior. The cerebral cortex, associated with functions such as cognition, memory, and planning, can become thinner in captivity. Tiny blood vessels called capillaries, which deliver blood to the brain, can shrink, as can neurons. Some of these changes can be the result of enclosures that don’t permit enough exercise, since working out can increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and increase cognitive abilities. But enclosures that cause boredom through a lack of stimulation can also have similar effects.
Marino goes on to explain how the chronic removal of choice — which is the defining feature of captivity, no matter how large the enclosure — can lead to learned helplessness, which in turn affects the areas of the brain responsible for processing emotions and memory. Stereotypic behaviors, such as the endless gnawing of bars and grates that can damage or break teeth as seen in some orcas, are the result of an imbalance between neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, many people still support captivity, paying money to swim with dolphins or watch them jump through hoops. The problem is not only a lack of information on what captivity can do to the brain — it also stems from a lack of empathy.
Many people do not attempt to imagine what it would be like to spend their entire lifetimes within one small area, with no ability to make any meaningful choices about their own lives and surroundings.
We started this year with the loss of Mega, a 42-year-old Southern Resident orca that fathered nearly two dozen other orcas.
Resident orca that fathered nearly two dozen other orcas. Losing Mega was a devastating loss for his already struggling family of orcas. Sadly, we’re also ending 2020 on a somber note.
Only 33 Southern Resident orcas remain in Mega’s pod. 33.
Southern Resident orcas are careening toward extinction, starving as the Chinook salmon they depend on become even scarcer because of destructive, outdated dams and further loss of critical feeding and calving habitat. Lack of salmon, paired with increased toxins and vessel disturbance have created a deadly trifecta of threats pushing these critically endangered orcas closer and closer to extinction. Southern Resident orcas need our help NOW.
An adult Southern Resident orca like Mega typically needs to eat 12 to 20 Chinook salmon every day, and possibly as many as 30 depending on the size and quality of the fish. Orcas are swimming miles and miles outside of their natural habitat in search of food, expending energy they can’t afford to lose.
We know what needs to be done. Oceana is taking critical steps to help Southern Resident orcas and their food sources recover. We’ve been working tirelessly with stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest to help establish new regulations for ocean salmon fishing to leave enough salmon in the ocean for orcas, restore important salmon habitats, and expand the designation of critical feeding areas and other orca habitat areas where they live, feed and raise their young.
But that science-based progress wasn’t certain - It happened because Wavemakers like you came together to support our work every step of the way, and we need you now more than ever as we fight to restore salmon populations.
It’s that passion and dedication we’re counting on to make the difference for orcas and every animal that calls our oceans home. Our ongoing work to save Southern Resident orcas and protect our oceans
It’s only when we act together as a community that we can accomplish what we need to for our oceans.
It’s not too late for us to save Southern Resident orcas from the brink of extinction,
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The Sustainable Action Network (SAN), A Don Lichterman non-profit organization dedicated to building a global community raising awareness of corruption, injustice and the need for action across a full range of issues impacting people and animal/wildlife welfare around the world, such as conservation, climate change, campaign law, lobbying, government action and rescue work. SAN’s vision is to create safer world, free from political, environmental, and social oppression, where all the inhabitants of Earth can live in harmony within their own natural environments. Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.
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