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The West African Black Rhino is now officially extinct.


The human race just plain sucks right now.
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I posted this on Whale_Sanctuary earlier, but it's just too awesome not to share here too. Some dolphins in South Australia have been teaching each other to tail walk - the 'trick' often seen in marine parks where dolphins are made to swim backwards vertically using their tail - except these wild dolphins appear to be doing it just for fun.

"Tail walking is very rare in the wild and in thousands of hours of observation only one other dolphin has ever been observed tail walking in the Port River, and then only once. The Port Adelaide dolphins are now tail walking many times each day.

The spread of tail walking in this way might seem, on the surface (excuse the pun) like a bit of fun, but there is a serious and fascinating cultural aspect linked to these strange goings-on.

“Culture in the wider sense of the term, defined as ‘learned behaviour characteristic of a community’, is now frequently on show in the Port River”, says Dr Bossley. “This cultural behaviour is of great significance for conservation.
"

Check out the article here to learn more, it's a fascinating read.

Here's Wave the dolphin in action:


Of course I immediately thought of that Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode with the dolphins, heh!
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While I am watching one of the most magnificent documentaries about the Ocean "Deep Blue" - a part of the BBC's The Blue Planet on 7HD, SBSone is currently airing an episode of Iron Chef in which they are preparing shark fin soup.

I never thought I would find myself choosing mainstream network programming over SBS or the ABC, but damn if that is not the most irresponsible thing to air. Shark fin soup has to be one of the most morally abhorrent dishes I am aware of - up there with foie gras. Shark finning - a major environmental and legal issue in the Galapagos where the majority of these sharks are harvested *illegally* is one of the cruellest and most wasteful practices wherein the shark is caught and the dorsal and caudal fins are severed while the shark is still very much alive before it is tossed back into the water, no longer able to swim where it will slowly drown.

I am not one for censoring television in any way, but I am extremely disappointed in Iron Chef and SBS for choosing to air it.
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I was cleaning out my bookmarks today and came across this video I bookmarked to watch, probably forever ago, so I actually watched it today and while I am going to post it on [livejournal.com profile] whale_sanctuary I would very much like to share it here too. It's about a photographer - Bryant Austin who wants to photograph whales without fish eye or wide angle lenses in order to create life sized pieces of art to show in whaling countries in order to promote conservation and education. One image is made up of 300 photographs! It's quite a stunning and beautiful short. :)

Short Film: In the Eye of the Whale from MMCTA on Vimeo.

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This is something I would have posted over at [livejournal.com profile] whale_sanctuary but seeing as we only have one American member, I thought sharing it here might be a bid more productive.

As some of you know, the Obama administration, along with the IWC (international whaling commission) are proposing a return to commercial whaling - this issue will be voted upon by the IWC nations in July. The proposal includes guidelines that limit the commercial whaling activities of nations like Japan, Norway and Iceland, but offer nothing past a 10 year plan to steadily decrease the amount killed - meaning that these nations (who are currently breaking IWC laws against commercial whaling and trade in whale products) and any others wishing to resume whaling can legally do so in a decade with no kill limits.

The NRDC have put together a quick and easy system by which you can send an email to President Obama asking him to reject the proposal to resume commercial whaling. Nations on either side of the issue (Australia and Japan) have already rejected the proposal and if you wouldn't mind sending off a quick email urging the American government to honour Obama's promise to end commercial whaling when he was elected I would be most greatful.

Please send a message to Obama here.

Ok, that's my break up, off to the second half of my final assessment. eep!
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Dingo killed after lunging at child

Stop letting kids run around Fraser Island when you know there are endangered wild dingoes. I am so sick of hearing every time one is killed for getting 'too close' to people. There are 120 pure blood dingoes left on Fraser Island.

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Please sign...


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I just got home from watching The Cove, am totally heartbroken right now. I thought I would bawl in the cinema, but my anger got the better of me instead and I just seethed. I don't normally seethe. It was everything I thought it would be and more. The 'covert ops' stuff they did in Taiji was amazing. Night vision cameras captures their escapades as they scaled the cliffs and landscape around the cove, setting up hidden cameras to capture just one day of the 7 month long slaughter of Japan's dolphins. I am in awe and have a great deal of respect for people like these, Ric O'Barry and co, who have the courage to lay not only their futures, but their lives down for the environment and animal conservation - but also for the future generations of our own species too.

The most upsetting and powerful part of this film for me was not the fisherman ripping dolphins apart, hacking into their flesh as the dolphin's cries echoed in surround sound, it was watching a little Japanese boy eating the mercury laced dolphin meat from his lunch box. Completely unaware of the poison his own people were feeding him. The other, was the Japanese fisheries spokesman they interviewed, then showed him firsthand footage of the dolphin slaughter. After all his lies, his face told the truth. This is not right.

I did want to smile however, as Ric O'Barry walked into one International Whaling Commission meeting, blank expression upon his face, a small LCD television strapped to his chest, with the footage taken from Taiji - a sea of red, the high pitched cries of dying animals, writhing about in the water as their families were hacked to death Jason Voorhees style. But while all cameras in the room turned towards O'Barry, sharing his pain with the world, the IWC once again sat by, and did nothing.

This film is part spy movie, part call for humanity. The dolphin slaughter in Taiji is one of the great ignored issues, I have certainly seen this for myself the past few years, but I hope beyond hope that this film is able to get the message out there that it is up to *us* to speak out against this.

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[livejournal.com profile] lilferret pointed me towards this post on RDA's website calling for help in spreading the word about the Polar Bear SOS campaign to give them all the protections afforded an endangered species and tighten some of those pesky loopholes.

So go save some polar bears, bitches!

Psst, pass it on...

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Just a few updates as to the Japanese whaling in our Australian whale sanctuary/Australian Antarctic territory:

Dec 19th - The Japanese whaling ship The Yushin Maru #2 found by Sea Shepherd's ship Steve Irwin inside the Australian economic exclusion zone in contempt of The Humane Society's Australian federal court order prohibiting whaling in Australian waters.

Jan 4th - The Japanese government calls on the Australian government to ban the Steve Irwin from docking in an Australian port for refueling. Environment minister Peter Garrett takes the request into consideration, despite there being no illegal act committed by SSCS or the Steve Irwin. Greens senator Bob Brown convinces acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard to back down and allow Sea Shepherd entrance, securing a dock in Hobart.

Jan 5th - Hajime Shirasaki of the Kyoshin Maru #2 goes missing in the middle of the night. Japanese media report this as a suicide. Capt. Paul Watson offers assistance and ceases to engage the whaling fleet to help find the body. The Japanese refuse. *footage* (right click and save).

Jan 15th - After damaging it's propeller in ice packs on Dec 20th, the Yushin Maru #2 travells to Indonesia for repairs. (Australian and New Zealand ports are closed to Japanese whaling ships.) Protests are held by Jakarta Animal Aid and support given from Senator Bob Brown of the Australian Greens party, Peter Tagliaferri, the mayor of Fremantle, Ian Cambell, ex environment minister, The Earth Island Institute, The Indonesian Forestry Department, HSI and SSCS, which result in the harpoon ship being ordered out of the Port of Surabaya in East Java.

It is also one year to the day since the Humane Society International won an Australian federal court ruling against the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku Ltd that prohibits them from killing whales in Australian waters.

Jan 17th - The Steve Irwin will arrive in Hobart at midday for refueling.

Sorry there are no pretty pictures of slaughtered whales, Greenpeace didn't show up to take them.
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