Now is the time. The Government of Ontario recently announced plans to essentially end orca captivity in Ontario forever. There was no mention of what was to happen to Kiska, the last captive orca remaining in Canada. Kiska resides at Marineland Canada, in a small, bland tank. She has suffered the loss of all 5 of her calves, as well as her tankmates, and now she lives entirely alone. The Government must address Kiska’s social isolation, and allow her to be moved to a facility that can better care for her. If Kiska absolutely cannot be moved (due to health for example) then Marineland must provide her with a companion (a dolphin) and upgrade her environment to suit her needs, as well as develop an in-depth enrichment program.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO SIGN AND SHARE NOW. Even people who are pro-captivity. THIS is the best way to help Kiska, and you know it. Do not continue to sit by and be complicit in her suffering.
9:45 am - When visiting Hawaii, take a ride on the Mo’o (which means lizard) run by Island View Hawaii. They do a number of tours including wave, whale and dolphin watching as well as out-of-cage shark diving.
Awesome! Whale watching is a much more humane alternative to seeing cetaceans in captivity, and also gives you a real experience of nature and how cetaceans live in the wild. It’s exciting and educational!
While whale watching is an amazing experience, it must be done so responsibly to prevent harm to our oceans and to not cause any significant disturbance to wildlife. There are many responsible whale watching companies out there, but there are also many who only have profit in mind, without regarding our earth and the wildlife they are pursuing.
Irresponsible whale watching methods can disrupt wildlife, causing cetaceans to alter and shorten their resting periods, impact their reproductive success, and even cause the population to alter their territory and move away from the region completely. All of these problems can not only harm cetaceans, but the entire ecosystem there, so it’s best to avoid these companies and give the more reputable ones your money instead!
When researching a whale watching tour, ask yourself these questions. If you can’t find the answers to these questions on their websites/brochures, contact them and ask. If any of these questions do not have a good answer, avoid the company!
Does the tour focus on keeping the trip educational, and does it promote marine conservation as much as possible?
Are laws and watching regulations always followed by the company, no exceptions? Does the boating equipment leave the smallest “footprint” possible on the oceans?
Is time limited when specimens are found? If an animal or animal group is displaying signs of discomfort, what is the policy on reducing their stress?
Is there a naturalist or other expert on board that can answer questions with factual and scientific information?
Does the company keep tabs on the long term behavior patterns of the local cetacean populations, ensuring no dramatic changes are occurring?
Alongside these necessary questions, you may also want to research into some other beneficial qualities of the company. While these aren’t necessary to being as ecologically sound of a company as possible, they are good at helping you determine if the company is good to support i you are unsure. So basically, these are some optional questions!
Does the company work alongside a scientific organization or other research group to help study and benefit the area?
Does the company actively try to get the local community involved in conservation and caring about our oceans?
Does the company use sustainable materials if they serve refreshments? (recycled paper, no plastic, etc)
Does the company have a refund or “free trip later” policy if no cetaceans are seen?
As long as a company can provide all of these guidelines, they should be deemed as a sustainable and reputable company to support.
If you are planning a whale watching trip in a certain area and cannot find a company that is reputable to support, or you want to reduce your footprint even more so than before, you may want to try these other whale watching alternatives to get educated and to experience wildlife!
Kayaking/canoeing- Pros: No noise pollution, chemical pollution, oil consumption, smaller groups, get to see cetaceans even closer than on a boat. Cons: More physical activity if you are easily fatigued, more difficult to track the whereabouts of the animals.
Land based watching- Pros: No disturbance to the animal, no physical activity, great for camping or having a picnic, 0 pollution impact. Cons: The chances of not seeing wildlife is greater, you have to be “in the right place at the right time”
Documentaries/Natural Museums- Pros: You get a very enriching educational experience, lots of information is provided, extremely accessible, get to see multitudes of species of wildlife, no pollution. Cons: You aren’t seeing the animals in real life, only figurines and images
Happy Whale Watching! Go forth in empowerment, where you spend your money can change the world for the better!
These aren’t blackfish, but I thought I’d share my pictures from my whale watching trip today off San Diego. :) We saw about 200 common dolphins! Can anyone tell if they’re long-beaked or short-beaked?
Met some Pacific White Sided Dolphins on my whale watching trip. I took some underwater video footage along with pics of their stampede, and I will edit and upload them soon. But for now, enjoy these hard to capture photos of some of the most acrobatic (and entertaining to watch) cetaceans on earth!
Pacific White-sided dolphins are known to us as “winter” dolphins, since we typically see them in the months of October-May. They are the only Southern California dolphin species known to be semi-migratory, traveling north to colder waters in the summer months.
Biologists often refers to them as “lags” which is short for their scientific name, lagenorhynchus obliquidens.
(Note: “lags” can also refer to other cetaceans in under the genus of Lagenorhynchus, which contains 6 other species closely related to the Pacific White Sided Dolphin).
The Pacific white-sided dolphin has three, monochromatic colors. The chin, throat and belly are white.The beak and parts of the back and dorsal fin are a dark gray. Light gray patches are seen on the sides and a further light gray stripe runs from above the eye to below the dorsal fin (sometimes called “suspenders”), where it thickens along the tail stock:
They are considered to be an “average-sized” oceanic dolphin, with usual adult lengths being 7-8′. Females weigh over 300 lbs and males over 400 lbs with; lags are also considered to be dimorphic with adult males being larger in size to females and having a more dramatically curved and robust dorsal fin:
Pacific White-sided Dolphin are very friendly and playful. They readily approach boats to bow ride, take high leaps out of the water and sometimes are seen with other dolphins and whales; we’ve even witnessed them “playing” with Gray Whales by sliding across the whale’s belly while it’s upside down! We typically see them in pods between 10-100 individuals.
Their range spans over the North Pacific; in cool, temperate waters off the Pacific coasts of North America and Asia. They feed on squid as well as a variety of fish, including hake, herring, cod, anchovies and salmon.
We are excited to see lags in the coming colder months!
Photos/Footage by Steve Plantz, Mark Tyson and Dale Frink