Posted on August 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds reject argument by ultra- conservative property rights group
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A tiny population of threatened killer whales in Puget Sound will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The National Marine Fisheries Service this week rejected a petition from the Pacific Legal Foundation, which had challenged the population’s status.
The fringe property rights advocacy group claimed, based in invalid science, that the Puget Sound “southern resident” killer whales are not a distinct population. In response, the federal government conducted a year-long review of the status and eligibility of the orcas for Endangered Species Act protection and confirmed that the whale’s endangered listing remains warranted. (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, conservation, endangered species act, national marine fisheries service, oceans, Orcas, Puget Sound | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 27, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The National Marine Fisheries Service will consider a petition to de-list Puget Sound orcas. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Right-wing property rights group files nuisance petition
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — An anti-environmental property rights groups has successfully petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to reconsider its Endangered Species Act listing for Puget Sound’s resident orcas, more formally known as southern resident killer whales.
Puget Sound orcas have had endangered status since 2005, when federal biologists listed them due to threats from pollution, habitat destruction and over-collection by the marine aquarium industry. Puget Sound orcas are one of a few populations to feed extensively on salmon; they have a unique dialect; and previous studies have shown they are genetically unique. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, marine conservation, national marine fisheries service, oceans, Orcas, Pacific Legal Foundation, Puget Sound, southern resident killer whales | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 7, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New study suggests shipping traffic a smaller factor
A pod of orcas in the Pacific. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Recovering Chinook salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest is probably the key to killer whale conservation efforts, according to new research based on measurements of hormone levels in the marine mammals.
The southern resident killer whales, living in coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest, have been struggling and some researchers think it’s primarily because of increase ship traffic in the region.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they are also threatened by pollution and other human activities in many parts of their range.
But new research suggests the marine mammals are struggling mainly because of inadequate prey.The study was led led by Katherine Ayres, who completed the work while at University of Washington in Seattle. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: Chinook salmon, Katherine Ayres, killer whales, Orcas, Pacific Northwest, southern resident killer whales | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 30, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
What do orcas really eat? PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Scientists supplement research with traditional indigenous knowledge
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — As Arctic sea ice melts at unrelenting pace, marine biologists are trying to understand how ecosystems in the North Pole region may change. As with any ecosystem, apex predators are critical. In the Arctic Ocean, killer whales fill that role, eating nearly everything, from schools of small fish to large whales.
The increase in hunting territories available to killer whales in the Arctic due to climate change and melting sea ice could seriously affect the marine ecosystem balance. Some new research, recently published in BioMed Central’s re-launched open access journal Aquatic Biosystems, has combined scientific observations with Canadian Inuit traditional knowledge to start answering some of those questions by determing killer whale behaviour and diet in the Arctic. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, Summit County news | Tagged: climate, Environment, global warming, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, Killer whale, Orcas | 5 Comments »
Posted on January 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Groups say federal agencies should use updated biological information to permit large-scale training exercises in the Pacific
Orcas in the Pacific. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Conservation groups say federal wildlife officials have failed to use the best available information on locations of marine mammals to protect the animals from the impacts of naval sonar training.
Last week, a coalition of conservation and American Indian groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.
The lawsuit calls on the agency to mitigate anticipated harm to marine mammals and biologically critical areas within the training range that stretches from Northern California to the Canadian border. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Environment, marine mammal conservation, national marine fisheries service, Navy sonar training, Orcas, United States Navy | 4 Comments »
Posted on October 30, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Transient killer whales near Unimak Island, eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
NOAA researchers document unusual long-distance killer whale migration
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Killer whales from Antarctic waters may be making long-distance treks to warmer water as a type of marine mammal spa treatment, shedding skin that’s covered with diatoms and algae.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers tagged a dozen killer whales in Antarctic waters and tracked five that showed consistent movement to subtropical waters.
Some of the orcas made the 5,000-mile round trip to southern Brazil in just 42 days, returning to Antarctica immediately. The researchers, who published their findings in the science journal Biology Letters, This was the first long distance migration ever reported for killer whales. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, Summit County news, wildlife | Tagged: Antarctica, Killer whale, migration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Orcas | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 24, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Marine biologists are recommending that this transient mammal-eating killer whale lliving in the North Pacific be classified as a distinct species. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Researchers say genetic markers show important differences for conservation goals
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Marine biologists have long thought the world’s killer whale populations might be made up of more than one species, but they haven’t been able to do enough genetic mapping to be sure — until now.
In a report published last week in Genome Research, scientists with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported finding strong evidence of multiple species. The researchers say their conclusions are important because it will help resource managers establish conservation priorities and to better understand the ecological role of one of the oceans’ top predators. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | Tagged: genetic research, genetics, killer whales, marine biology, NOAA, Orcas, Summit County Colorado | 1 Comment »