Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:09 AM
malaise (142,687 posts)
Killer whales trapped in ice of Hudson Bay
Canadian Inuit people and authorities are attempting to help a pod of killer whales trapped in the sea ice of Hudson Bay.
The mayor of the remote Inuit community of Inukjuak, Quebec, is calling on the government to send an icebreaker to save the panicking mammals, who are taking turns breathing through a hole in the ice about the size of a pick-up truck in the frigid waters.
"They are trapped," mayor Peter Inukpuk told CBC radio on Wednesday. "It appears from time to time that they panic. Other times they are gone for a long time, probably looking for another open space, which they are not able to find at the moment."
He said a hunter first spotted the whales on Tuesday. There were 11 whales, including several small ones, which could mean they are all from the same family.
Climate change is fugging up all of nature
6 replies, 911 views
Killer whales trapped in ice of Hudson Bay (Original post)
Response to Baclava (Reply #1)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:21 AM
HereSince1628 (35,561 posts)
2. It's not necessarily about 'smarts', I'm not sure of the population genetic impacts of intervention
I recognize the empathy and sensitivity represented by people wanting to help these whales as a good thing.
I am not really sure of the population numbers of killer whales in that region and the relative importance of that number of whales to the species demographic and genetic structures.
In a world now dominated by human impacts, I'm not at all sure that 'doing things like it was before humans' is a correct approach.
Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #2)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:41 AM
Baclava (5,822 posts)
3. here's more ...
Geoff Carroll, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who helped release two California gray whales in a similar situation that made international headlines in 1988, said his experience in the effort known as “Operation Breakthrough” also showed the power of other methods.
“Our experience up here was that it seemed like the local knowledge and the low-tech approaches to working with the whales were the ones that worked best,” Carroll said. “It seemed like there were lots of high-tech efforts made to get those whales out and they kind of failed one after the other. What really worked was when we got local guys with chainsaws cutting one hole after another and we could kind of walk the whales out that way.”
Wade, the fisheries biologist, said he watched videos of the killer whales and thought some were engaging in normal behavior while other appeared agitated. He said it looks like the pod includes two adult males, several juveniles and female adults or younger adult males.
“There are cases where whales have been able to keep holes open just by the continually coming up every minute or so,” he said. “It seemed like they could probably keep that open although it’s not something killer whales do a lot of.”
Wade also questioned how they got caught in the area.
“Why these whales hung around so long is a mystery,” he said. But he added: “Even the types of whales that live in the ice a lot or much closer to the ice more frequently than killer whales -- they make mistakes as well.”
Response to malaise (Original post)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:01 PM
FarCenter (17,316 posts)
4. The Inuit probably want the killer whales gone
They don't hunt or eat them. They are regard them as aggressive and dangerous.
Killer whales eat seals, beluga, bowhead and other marine mammals and are competitors of the Inuit for these food resources.
Response to malaise (Original post)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:16 PM
Sunlei (14,179 posts)
5. very interesting to watch especially the social structure of the pod
Much like family groups of other animals the young bachelor males are pushed out and get more agitated waiting for their turn.