Marine mammals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:


Humane Society International, a division of the Humane
Society of the U.S., on October 18 sued the Japanese whaling firm
Kyodo Sepaku Kaisha for allegedly illegally killing 428 whales since
2000 in the name of scientific research within the Australian Whale
Sanctuary. The sanctuary was created, on paper, by the Environment
Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act of 2000, and adjoins the
Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary declared in 1994 by the International
Whaling Commission. Japan does not recognize either sanctuary. The
suit against Kyodo Sepaku Kaisha is reportedly preliminary to seeking
an injunction asking the Australian government to enforce the
sanctuary bounds.
The suit was filed on the same day that Mali, landlocked in
the Sahara desert, joined the IWC, apparently with Japanese
support. Japan has acknowledged using development aid to persuade
small nations to join the IWC and support the Japanese position.
The HSI lawsuit was also filed one week after a trawling crew
doing research for the Tasmanian Aquaculture & Fisheries Institute
accidentally netted and drowned 14 dolphins, raising suspicion,
because of the ease with which the accident happened, that the
Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Department of the
Environment may be overlooking much greater numbers of dolphins
killed accidentally by commercial fishers.

Sonar vs. whales

The 25-nation European Parliament on October 28 asked members
to suspend use of high-intensity sonar during naval exercises pending
further research about the role of sonar signals in causing whale and
dolphin strandings. Mass strandings have followed sonar use off
Greece, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and the Canary Islands
since 2000. Sonar is now suspected as a factor behind many other
strandings during the past 50 years. The European Parliament acted
eight days after a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court verdict that
attorney and marine mammal advocate Lanny Sinkin, of Hilo, Hawaii,
had no standing to sue seeking to stop U.S. Navy sonar use.

Captivity updates

The West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on
October 21 received the sea lions Pablo, 8, Clara, 10, and
Kelpie, 10, from the Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling,
Scotland. The sea lions occupy the tank built in 1985 to hold four
bottlenose dolphins. After three dolphins died, in 2000, 2001,
and 2003, the mall sent the survivor to Theatre of the Sea in
Islamorada, Florida. Mall developer Don Ghermezian told Julia
Necheff of Canadian Press that he hopes to add lion cubs, bear cubs,
zebras, and elephants to the mall attractions in 2005.

World Society for the Protection of Animals Australia & New
Zealand campaign manager Heather Potter on October 25 told news media
that new investigations have confirmed that 44 of 170 dolphins who
were captured by speculators during political unrest in the Solomon
Islands in mid-2003 are still in shallow sea pens off Gavutu island.
The dolphins are reportedly held by Marine Exports Ltd. and Solomon
Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre Ltd. Swim-with-dolphins
facilities have recently paid up to $30,000 apiece for trained
dolphins, Potter said. Twenty-eight of the Gavutu dolphins were
flown to the Parque Nizuc swim-with facility in Cancun, Mexico, in
July 2003. Mexico forbade further imports from Gavutu after several
of the dolphins died. Fifteen survivors were reportedly relocated to
a new swim-with facility on Cozumel island on July 9, 2004.

Four teenaged boys, three 13-year-olds and one 14-year-old,
were arrested on November 9 for allegedly breaking into the Aquarium
of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, twice in two days.
Caught during the second break-in, on the first raid the suspects
killed a cow-nose ray and a three-foot brown nurse shark named
Michelle, the most popular resident of the Shark Lagoon petting pool
since it opened in 2002. A bamboo shark was severely injured and was
not expected to live. Other bamboo sharks were tossed into a tank
with much larger sharks–who might have eaten the small sharks, but
were asleep.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.